July 22, 2018
Tony Sparano once beat Bill Belichick with the single wing, but wasn't as old as that made him sound.
Vikings offensive line coach Tony Sparano dies at 56
Sparano was only 56 when he died unexpectedly Sunday. The Minnesota Vikings announced his death in a statement that did not provide a cause.
He had been the Vikings' offensive line coach since 2016.
The most memorable moment in Sparano's 19-year NFL coaching career came in 2008, when he was a rookie head coach with the Miami Dolphins, inheriting a team that had gone 1-15 the previous season. In Week 3 he surprised Belichick with a single wing-style formation that the Dolphins called the wildcat, and they won at New England 38-13.
The wildcat became a fad around the league, and the stunning upset propelled Sparano's team to 11 wins and the AFC East title. It's one of two playoff berths for the franchise since 2002.
That was Sparano's lone winning season, and he was fired in 2011 after going 29-32 in Miami. He was popular with his players, but a dismal home record, declining attendance and a falling-out with general manager Jeff Ireland accelerated his firing by owner Stephen Ross.
Sparano was the Oakland Raiders' interim head coach in 2014 after the team fired Dennis Allen, and he went 3-9. He also worked as an assistant for the Browns, Redskins, Jaguars, Cowboys and 49ers, and most recently for Vikings coach Mike Zimmer.
"I love Tony Sparano," Zimmer said in a statement. "He was a great teacher, a grinder of a worker and had a toughness and fighting spirit that showed in our linemen. He was a great husband, father and grandfather and a great friend to me. This is just sinking in for us, but Tony will be sorely missed by all."
Sparano's former players also paid tribute.
"Heart broken and lost for words! We lost a great man," tweeted Brian Hartline, who played receiver for Sparano in Miami.
"Damn I'm at a loss for words," tweeted Raiders Pro Bowl tackle Donald Penn. "Coach Sparano taught me so much not just about football about life also."
Sparano played at the University of New Haven where he was a four-year letterman. He was hired as New Haven's head coach in 1994 and held that position for five seasons.
In Miami, Sparano lost his first two games before turning to the wildcat. Six times they ran plays from the formation at New England, snapping the ball directly to running back Ronnie Brown, and four of those plays resulted in touchdowns.
"It was like playing hide and go seek, making them guess," Brown said at the time.
Sparano said the Dolphins began practicing the wildcat during training camp but waited until the Patriots game to spring it.
"This is not something that just came up and we scribbled on the board a couple of days ago," the coach said.
Defenses soon adjusted, and a sputtering offense in Sparano's final two seasons at Miami contributed to his firing. But the Dolphins haven't won at New England since the wildcat game.
"We were saddened to learn of Tony Sparano's tragic and unexpected passing," owner Ross said in a statement. "Tony made an indelible impact on our team's history. His toughness, grit and leadership were evident to everyone who had the chance to coach with or play for him."
Latest News
Top news around the world
Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
Julia Fox defends viral ‘Uncut Gems’ interview moment: ‘I was stoned’ | Page Six Celebrity News
February 17, 2022
4m-p0_-ePd8
Alexia Echevarria pushed ‘RHOM’ producers to show more of son Frankie’s recovery | Page Six
February 17, 2022
E-wTaN9NfkI
Pete Davidson rejoins Instagram amid Kanye West drama | Page Six Celebrity News
February 17, 2022
SsC3dmsI6t4
Aaron Rodgers And Shailene Woodley Reportedly Break Up | TMZ LIVE
February 17, 2022
FoErdRE8Qe4
Chet Hanks Done Talking About Famous Parents, Becoming Personal Trainer | TMZ
February 16, 2022
5_UrULOkQ6o
Woman Stabbed at Foot Locker During Nike Shoe Release
February 16, 2022
TfuXMs1JdVg
Steph's Freaky Side, "Summer House" & "Love During Lockup"
February 17, 2022
9W_raO0zlA8
Tay or Nay, Offset's Sushi Anxiety & Nick on Monogamy
February 17, 2022
PauYHpJRA6o
Kim Kardashian & North West TWINNING in Matching Pajamas | E! News
February 17, 2022
b-_Oib6R108
Adam McKay - Hollywood Walk of Fame Ceremony
February 17, 2022
tYtzsHoOZzo
Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg, and the Cast of 'Uncharted' Talk Most Challenging Stunts
February 15, 2022
d3ksX-SKi8c
Ryan Reynolds and Walker Scobell on ‘The Adam Project’, ‘Deadpool’, and Possible ‘Star Wars’ Role
February 16, 2022
5TxJsbJr9Dk
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
04
May
CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Playoffs
Seattle Sounders - Pumas
04
May
USA: Major League Soccer
FC Cincinnati - Toronto FC
03
May
ENGLAND: Championship
Bournemouth - Nottingham Forest
02
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - Brentford
02
May
ENGLAND: Championship
Fulham - Luton
02
May
SPAIN: La Liga
Getafe - Real Betis
02
May
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Bayer Leverkusen - Eintracht Frankfurt
02
May
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Monchengladbach - RB Leipzig
02
May
ITALY: Serie A
Atalanta - Salernitana
01
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur - Leicester City
01
May
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Mallorca
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
Roma - Bologna
01
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Ham United - Arsenal
01
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
Everton - Chelsea
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
Udinese - Inter Milan
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Fiorentina
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
Juventus - Venezia
01
May
SPAIN: La Liga
Rayo Vallecano - Real Sociedad
30
Apr
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Mainz - Bayern Munich
30
Apr
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Dortmund - Bochum
30
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Newcastle United - Liverpool
30
Apr
SPAIN: La Liga
Athletic Bilbao - Atletico Madrid
30
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Leeds - Manchester City
30
Apr
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Madrid - Espanyol
30
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Napoli - Sassuolo
28
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - Chelsea
27
Apr
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Semifinal
Liverpool - Villarreal
27
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Bologna - Inter Milan
26
Apr
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Semifinal
Manchester City - Real Madrid
25
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Sassuolo - Juventus
24
Apr
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Rayo Vallecano
24
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Lazio - AC Milan
24
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - Everton
24
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Chelsea - West Ham United
24
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Empoli - Napoli
23
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Brentford - Tottenham Hotspur
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
zWJ3MxW_HWA L1eLanNeZKg i1XRgbyUtOo -g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.