Man most responsible for Marino landing in Miami passes on

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.

24 responses to “Man most responsible for Marino landing in Miami passes on

  1. That was a great draft for QB’s with Elway and Kelly going before Marino.
    Of course so did Tony Eason, Ken O’Brien and and Todd Blackledge.
    Somebody got Sam Bowied.

  2. Foge Fazio was a great defensive coordinator. He made the most of John Randle plus not very much else for the Vikings.

  3. 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.
    Curious if this was added to bring out the usual Viking fan boys and their arch rivals. Could simply say he served as D-coord for Vikings.
    I never like the sad tones of articles that talk about older people passing away or passing on. He was 71 and was fighting cancer, knew it was coming and got to do what he needed to do.

  4. wow, talk about a slap in the face to vikings fans here florio. first you compare rodgers to marino. (I agree that both will never win a superbowl) then you have to twist the knife thats been stuck in since anderson missed his first (and lets not forget, second) kick of that season. A guy who needed a QB drafted marino when others passed over him for other, lesser choices. that guy kept working in the NFL and contributed in various capacities for a good chunk of time. see, it is possible to write about a guy without slapping a fanbase across the face.

  5. I’m surprised Florio didn’t use this opportunity to rip the shit out of Marino. The reason he fell so far in the draft was because of a reputation for laziness and drug use. I’m from PA, and old enough to remember the rumors clearly.

  6. “a West Virginia native”
    geez, guy’s not even in the ground yet and you have to bring out his most embarrassing secrets…

  7. In Art Rooney Jr’s great book on the Steelers……he tells the story that his dad (Art Sr.) regretted almost to his dying day that the Steelers did not take Marino. Art Sr. loved Dan, a Pittsburgh guy who was also a great baseball pitcher. But the Steelers wrongly thought Terry Bradshaw had years left and they needed defense. Instead, they drafted Gabe Rivera, who after a very good rookie season, was paralyzed in an offseason car accident. We’ll miss Foge. His earthy manner was truly Pittsburgh and he was on the air this fall as Pitt’s radio analyst.

  8. @smackmyvickup
    I think you may have a different notion of what “old” is. I’m willing to bet most 71 year olds would like to live another decade or more. Just because it’d old to you (which must mean you are on the young side) does not mean they are old to them as well as others.
    Plus any life thats taken from Cancer is tragic, no matter the age for it means a life ended sooner then it should have.

  9. Foge coached the only decent defense the Browns have had since they came back in 1999. This may come as a shock to some in Berea, but that was also the only time the Browns made the playoffs.
    RIP Foge.

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