Minnesota Vikings O-Line Coach Tony Sparano Has Died
On Sunday (July 22nd), the Minnesota Vikings announced that their offensive line coach, Tony Sparano, has unexpectedly passed away at the age of 56.
According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, Sparano complained of chest pains this past Thursday before going to the hospital. After receiving some tests, Sparano was released on Friday. His wife found him unconscious on Sunday morning as she attempted to wake him up to prepare for church, but she was unable to revive him.
Sparano was an assistant coach with the Vikings during the past two seasons. Overall, he worked for nine different teams over a span of 19 seasons, including a head coaching stint with the Miami Dolphins from 2008 through 2011 and as the interim head coach for the Oakland Raiders in 2014.
While in Miami, Sparano had a record of 32-41. He led them to a playoff appearance in his first season with the team, which also included an AFC East title at 11-5. It was the only time in the past 15 seasons that the New England Patriots haven't won that division. Sparano also became the only head coach in NFL history to take a team to the playoffs the year following a one-win season.
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer and General Manager Rick Spielman released statements following the death of Sparano:
Minnesota's players, as well as several others throughout the NFL showed an outcry of support for Tony Sparano and his family as it's certainly a tough time for them, as well as the entire Vikings organization and their fans. RIP Tony Sparano.