More than 26 years ago, Pitt quarterback Dan Marino was blazing the draft-day free-fall path that later would be occupied by men like Aaron Rodgers and Brady Quinn.
But the slide stopped at No. 27, after five other quarterbacks had been picked.
And it stopped at No. 27 because Marino’s college coach, Foge Fazio, got Dolphins coach Don Shula on the phone and convinced Shula to take Marino.
Fazio died today at 71 after a bout with cancer.
He had a more tangible connection to the NFL, working for several teams as an assistant coach. Most notably, he served as defensive coordinator for the 1998 Minnesota Vikings, which went 15-1 in the regular season before losing to the Falcons in the NFC championship. He also worked as defensive coordinator in Cleveland, and he finished his career as a consultant for Vikings coach Mike Tice during the 2005 season.
Fazio, a West Virginia native, was well-liked in league circles. Our condolences go out to his family, friends, players, and colleagues.