Former Arizona Cardinals head coach Vince Tobin, who helped the franchise end a 50-plus year playoff victory drought, died Monday. He was 79.
A cause of death was not immediately known.
Tobin led the Cardinals to a playoff berth in 1998 and a 20-7 upset victory over the Dallas Cowboys in the wild-card round. It was the Cardinals’ first postseason victory since 1947, when the franchise, then based in Chicago, defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 28-21 to win the NFL championship.
The Cardinals lost to the Minnesota Vikings 41-21 in the divisional round in the 1998 playoffs.
Tobin was hired in 1996 to succeed Buddy Ryan as the team’s head coach and went 28-43 in parts of five seasons. He was fired after Week 8 of the 2000 campaign amid a 2-5 start.
“Our deepest condolences go out to everyone who knew and loved Vince Tobin, and in particular his wife Kathy and their family,” Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill said in a statement. “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.”
Plummer expressed his condolences on Twitter, writing that he will forever be grateful for “the confidence he installed in me.”
Coach Tobin gave me my 1st opp 2 lead a group of men&I’ll b 4ever grateful 4 the confidence he instilled n me then & blessed daily by those lessons as I pursue life,❤️purpose&happiness. RIP coach Tobin! I get knocked down, but I get up again, nothings ever going to keep me down. https://t.co/Kaj8i6KiwC
— Jake Plummer (@snakestakes) July 3, 2023
Tobin was the defensive coordinator with the Chicago Bears from 1986 to ’92. He took over under Mike Ditka when Ryan left to become the head coach of the Eagles.
He was also a defensive coordinator in the CFL and USFL and with the Indianapolis Colts (1994-95) and Detroit Lions (2001).
Tobin was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2008 along with his brother Bill. Vince Tobin was a two-year starter for the Tigers and later became an assistant coach from 1965 to ’76.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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