Vince Tobin, Former Head Coach of the Arizona Cardinals Passes away at 79
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Arizona Cardinals: Vince Tobin and His Rise to Head Coach

Vince Tobin was a legend amongst the players and fans of the Arizona Cardinals. It was announced on Monday, July 3, 2023, that Tobin had passed away at the age of 79. He had an 18-year career in the NFL, previously working for the CFL, USFL and coaching after college resulting in a 40-year career in Football.

Below is the full statement from Michael Bidwill and the Arizona Cardinals on the passing of Vince Tobin.

Arizona Cardinals release a statement on the passing of  former coach Vince Tobin

Our deepest condolences go out to everyone who knew and loved Vince Tobin, and in particular his wife Kathy and their family. 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. His football legacy with us is highlighted by the thrilling 1998 season, return to the postseason, and upset playoff win at Dallas. He will also be remembered for his instrumental role in key decisions like drafting Jake Plummer and Pat Tillman. More than that, he was a consummate family man and always a class act who positively impacted everyone he encountered.

Who Was Vince Tobin?

Vince Tobin was born Vincent Michael Tobin on 29th September 1943, spending his early life on a farm near Burlington Junction, Missouri. While his father Ed, was the captain of the basketball team for Maryville High School, Vince and his brother Bill would go on to play football instead. They were both so good that they would go on to play for the University of Missouri with Vince playing as a defensive back for their team the Missouri Tigers.

His coaching career would begin in 1965 when he became a graduate assistant with the Missouri Tigers before becoming their defensive coordinator between 1971 and 1976. After leaving the Tigers, Tobin would head to the CFL in 1977 as the defensive coordinator for the BC Lions leaving in 1982.

Around 1983 Tobin would move to the USFL, the United States Football League, yet again as a defensive coordinator but this time for the Philadelphia Stars, they would go on to become the Baltimore Stars for the 1985 season. Tobin would help the Stars win the 1984 and 1985 seasons. Here he would meet Sam Mills who went on to play for the Carolina Panthers and the Saint Orleans Saints. The USFL would fold the following year.

From the USFL to the NFL


After the USFL folded in 1986, Vince Tobin, alongside many of his colleagues at Stars, would join the coaching team for the New Orleans Saints. Four days later he would resign from his position taking up an opportunity at the Chicago Bears, filling the spot that had previously been occupied by Buddy Ryan.

The Bears had won Super Bowl XX and Tobin saw this as a great opportunity to work with a strong team. He would help their defensive unit become one of the best in the league, yet the Bears wouldn’t find the success or dominance they had under Buddy Ryan. During his tenure the Bears would only win two playoff games, the first in 1988 in the Fog Bowl where they faced off with their previous DC, and now Head Coach of the Philidelphia Eagles, Buddy Ryan. The second was in 1991 against the New Orleans Saints.

Vince would get to work alongside his brother, Bill Tobin when he was the general manager of the Chicago Bears (1987 – 1992) and the Indianapolis Colts (1994 – 1996). In 1992, head coach Mike Ditka would be fired from the Chicago Bears, resulting in his whole coaching staff, including Tobin being released from their contracts. After a short break his brother Bill, now the acting general manager, would hire him as the defensive coordinator of the Indianapolis Colts in 1994.

Becoming the Head Coach of the Arizona Cardinals

Credit; ESPN / Ronald Martinez /Allsport

After spending years as a defensive coordinator Vince Tobin would take up the head coach position with the Arizona Cardinals in 1996, yet again succeeding Buddy Ryan. During his four years with the franchise, the Cardinals would only have one winning season, 1998, resulting in the team making the playoffs for the first time in 50 years. The last time was in 1947, when they won the NFL championship, for those who don’t want to do maths. The 1998 season saw them end with a 9-7 record before heading to the playoffs, where they would defeat the 3rd-seeded Dallas Cowboys in a shock win. Unfortunately, they would fall to the 1st seeded Minnesota Vikings the following week.

A thing to note with how the coaching staff of the Cardinals goes, is if you start the season off bad, expect the head coach to be out of there. For all my personal love for the team, they do have a tendency to not stick with their staff and change things up too frequently, which might be part of their lack of playoff appearances. Before and after Vince Tobin’s tenure with the Cardinals. Because of this Tobin would be fired from his position in 2000 after only 7 games being played and a 2-5 record. His record in Arizona was 28–43, with a 1–1 postseason record.

After his time with the Arizona Cardinals, he would join the Detroit Lions as their defensive coordinator but was fired after one season after the team posted a 2-14 record. His last position in the NFL was as a special assistant with the Green Bay Packers in 2004. Tobin was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2008 along with his brother Bill. A truly memorable moment for both men who truly embodied the game of Football.

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Bam is a self discribed spooky bitch who loves punk music, deathmatches & Edgar Allen Poe. She is a lover of books, words & old movies. She has been described by few as an Inebriate Facilitation Specialist but loyal & fiercely independent by most.

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