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Tony Sparano once beat Bill Belichick with the single wing [url=http://www.cowboyscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-jourdan-lewis-jersey]Jourdan Lewis Jersey[/url] , but wasn't as old as that made him sound.
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 [url=http://www.ramscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-mark-barron-jersey]Mark Barron Jersey[/url] , 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 [url=http://www.jaguarscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-a.j.-bouye-jersey]A.J. Bouye Jersey[/url] , 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 [url=http://www.pantherscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-daryl-williams-jersey]Daryl Williams Jersey[/url] , 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 [url=http://www.bengalscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-boomer-esiason-jersey]Boomer Esiason Jersey[/url] , grit and leadership were evident to everyone who had the chance to coach with or play for him."
RB Chris Ivory explained what appealed to him about the Bills.
CB Torry McTyer has done well at Dolphins camp.
Will extra work pay off for Patriots WR Phillip Dorsett?
Jets WR Robby Anderson thinks he can take his game to a higher level.
LB Terrell Suggs and S Tony Jefferson got a day of rest as the rest of the Ravens practiced on Saturday.
A positive review of Bengals QB Andy Dalton‘s day of practice.
Browns rookie OL Austin Corbett responded to Joe Thomas‘ feeling that he’s best suited to guard.
The pads came on at Steelers camp on Saturday.
Texans WR Will Fuller is trying to become more durable.
Rookie G Quenton Nelson has been what the Colts were hoping for in his early camp work.
Jaguars WR Keelan Cole works against good cornerbacks in practice.
Titans TE Delanie Walker got a scare before signing his contract extension.
Peyton Manning stopped by Broncos practice.
The Chiefs were short on running backs at the end of Saturday’s practice.
Said Chargers QB Philip Rivers, “As we go into this year, everybody is excited. We’re all 0-0, but I do believe we have a chance to have a special team. We have to keep that boring one day at a time approach and keep getting better.”
The Raiders are having a competition for the backup quarterback job.
WR Cole Beasley stood out in the first padded practice of Cowboys camp.
RB Jonathan Stewart has value to the Giants beyond the field.
Eagles QB Carson Wentz looks like a good bet to be ready for the start of the season.
TE Jordan Reed and T Morgan Moses are starting to do more in Washington practices.
Bears RB Jordan Howard took note of Todd Gurley‘s extension.
Rookie RB Kerryon Johnson is trying to learn the Lions offense quickly.
CB Kevin King is working against Davante Adams at Packers practices.
The Vikings would like to see DE Everson Griffen‘s snaps go down.
Five things learned at Falcons camp on Saturday.
T Daryl Williams‘ knee injury was a big Saturday development for the Panthers.
Saints rookie DE Marcus Davenport is testing himself at practice.
A cut on the leg will cost Buccaneers CB Vernon Hargreaves a few days of practice.
Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson likes the new defensive system.
Rams WR/PR Pharoh Cooper is trying to put his playoff mistakes to rest.
RB Joe Williams opened eyes at 49ers practice.
Seahawks TE Tyrone Swoopes made the transition from quarterback after the end of his college career.
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