Former Cardinals coach Vince Tobin dies

Jul 3, 2023, 10:42 AM | Updated: Jul 5, 2023, 8:04 am

Vince Tobin, Arizona Cardinals...

This 04 October 1998 file photo shows Arizona Cardinals head coach Vince Tobin during a game against the Oakland Raiders in Tempe, Arizona. (MIKE FIALA/AFP via Getty Images)

(MIKE FIALA/AFP via Getty Images)

Vince Tobin, former coach of the Arizona Cardinals who ended the franchise’s 50-year playoff drought, died on Monday at age 79.

Tobin was brought to the Valley to helm the Cardinals in 1996 after Buddy Ryan’s bombastic tenure. Two years later, in 1998, he led the team to the playoffs and an upset victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

In a statement, the Arizona Cardinals praised Tobin, noting he was at the helm when the team drafted such franchise icons as Pat Tillman and Jake Plummer.

“Our deepest condolences go out to everyone who knew and loved Vince Tobin, and in particular his wife Kathy and their family,” Cardinals owner Michal Bidwill said. “As head coach of the Cardinals, his steady leadership was a constant and a big part of the success the team enjoyed during his tenure.”

Tobin was born in Burlington Junction, Missouri. He played as a defensive back for the University of Missouri from 1962 to 1964. After graduating, he became a graduate coaching assistant and eventually Missouri’s defensive coordinator from 1971 to 1976.

From 1977 to 1982 he was defensive coordinator for the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League before spending three years in the USFL as defensive coordinator for the Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars from 1983 to 1985.

His NFL coaching tenure began in 1986 when he took over the reins of the vaunted Chicago Bears defense constructed by Ryan. He stayed with the Bears until he, along with the rest of the staff of Coach Mike Ditka, were relieved of their duties.

In 1994, Tobin was hired by his brother, Bill Tobin, as the defensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts. He left the Colts to take the head coaching job with the Cardinals in 1996.

He would stay with the Cardinals until he was fired after seven games of the 2000 season.

His Cardinals career reached its zenith in the 1998 season, his only winning season, at 9-7. The highlight of the season was a 21-7 wild-card round victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

The Cardinals lost 41-21 to the Minnesota Vikings the next week, ending the team’s Cinderella run.

His overall record in Arizona was 28–43, with a 1–1 postseason record.

In 2001, he was defensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions. He finished his NFL career in 2004 as a special assistant for the Green Bay Packers.

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