NEW ORLEANS – Sitting calmly in the stands of the Superdome on Tuesday, Vic Fangio and Greg Roman discussed the upcoming Super Bowl XLVII that will take place on the field that was full of thousands of reporters, cameras and even one man dressed as a super hero for the media day frenzy.
For Fangio, the team’s defensive coordinator, and Roman, the team’s offensive coordinator, they’ve reached football’s pinnacle together after a working relationship that dates back nearly two decades.
In 1995, Fangio worked as the first defensive coordinator in Carolina Panthers franchise history. Roman was also on the staff as a defensive quality control coach, and their careers have been crossing ever since.
In fact, Fangio played a key role in shaping the current 49ers coaching staff. Back in 2009, when Jim Harbaugh was looking for an offensive coordinator for Stanford, Fangio recommended Roman. The trio of coaches has been a force to be reckoned with ever since, guiding Stanford back to national prominence before helping send the 49ers to the Super Bowl.
Harbaugh has been very vocal in his support for both coordinators throughout his tenure as 49ers coach. This week was no different, as he labeled both Roman and Fangio as the NFL’s best in their respective positions.
For Roman, he’s especially proud to have made it to the Super Bowl with someone he’s worked in concert with for so long.
“I’m thrilled for Vic and I think he’s one of the best coaches in the National Football League,” Roman said. “I’m just thrilled that he has this opportunity, aside from the fact that we’ve got a job to do here.”
Fangio and Roman teamed up in Carolina for four seasons before reuniting with the Baltimore Ravens for the 2006-07 seasons. At every stop along the way, the coaches have picked each other’s brains and helped each other grow.
“He’s always not afraid to come in and ask me, ‘Hey, what can we do to attack this?” Fangio said of Roman. “What gives this some trouble? Where’s the conflicts, etc.’ That’s a regular conversation between him and I.”
It all goes back to one of Harbaugh’s favorite sayings he adopted from his college coach at Michigan, Bo Schembechler: The Team. The Team. The Team.
Just as the players work together to better themselves and the team, the coaching staff works together in pursuit of the Lombardi Trophy. For, Fangio, there’s never been a problem with egos getting in the way of the greater good.
“If it is, then they’re cheating themselves and their team,” Fangio said. “He knows he has a resource there in me. We’ve been together a long time and we’ve had these types of conversations forever.”
One of the biggest reasons behind the 49ers’ success in the Harbaugh era has been his stellar coaching staff.
Joining Fangio and Roman as Harbaugh’s top assistants is associate head coach and special teams coordinator Brad Seely. Between Fangio, Roman and Seely, there is more than 60 years of NFL coaching experience.
“We’re fortunate,” Seely said. “Really good bunch of coaches who do a really good job.”