Perhaps we should have seen this coming. After all, the Broncos were on the verge of hiring Vance Joseph as their head coach even before he came to Miami to become the Dolphins defensive coordinator.
The year was 2015, and according to Broncos insiders, Joseph, then a defensive backs coach with the Bengals, nailed the interview so well that he immediately rose to the top of Denver’s list of candidates.
The only person that wound up topping him was Gary Kubiak, who went on to become the 15th head coach in Broncos history. However, when Kubiak retired at the end of the 2016 season, Broncos GM John Elway knew exactly who to turn to.
All Elway had to do was wait until Joseph and the Dolphins were eliminated from the playoffs, which happened on Sunday. By Tuesday Joseph was meeting again with Elway and on Wednesday, Elway made it official that he had hired Joseph as the 16th head coach in team history.
OFFICIAL: We've hired Vance Joseph as head coach
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) January 11, 2017
“He has great leadership qualities and a strong vision of what it takes to win,” tweeted Elway, who signed Joseph to a four-year contract.
Described as a strong, clear communicator with his players, Joseph worked his way into contention for a head coaching position by helping the Dolphins improve from 6-10 a year ago to 10-6 this year.
Though plagued by injuries that led to inconsistency, Joseph’s defense was a big reason the Dolphins rebounded from a slow start in 2016 to reach the playoffs, where they were eliminated by the Steelers last weekend.
Formerly a defensive backs coach with the Bengals, Joseph first took over the Dolphins defense last year. He would become the sixth active black head coach in the NFL, joining Mike Tomlin (Steelers), Marvin Lewis (Bengals), Hue Jackson (Browns), Jim Caldwell (Lions) and Todd Bowles (Jets).