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Tony Sparano once beat Bill Belichick with the single wing Womens Philip Rivers Jersey , but wasn't as old as that made him sound.

Sparano was only 56 when he died unexpectedly Sunday. The Minnesota Vikings announced his death in a statement that did not provide a cause.

He had been the Vikings' offensive line coach since 2016.

The most memorable moment in Sparano's 19-year NFL coaching career came in 2008, when he was a rookie head coach with the Miami Dolphins, inheriting a team that had gone 1-15 the previous season. In Week 3 he surprised Belichick with a single wing-style formation that the Dolphins called the wildcat, and they won at New England 38-13.

The wildcat became a fad around the league, and the stunning upset propelled Sparano's team to 11 wins and the AFC East title. It's one of two playoff berths for the franchise since 2002.

That was Sparano's lone winning season, and he was fired in 2011 after going 29-32 in Miami. He was popular with his players, but a dismal home record, declining attendance and a falling-out with general manager Jeff Ireland accelerated his firing by owner Stephen Ross.

Sparano was the Oakland Raiders' interim head coach in 2014 after the team fired Dennis Allen, and he went 3-9. He also worked as an assistant for the Browns, Redskins, Jaguars, Cowboys and 49ers Youth Dustin Byfuglien Jersey , and most recently for Vikings coach Mike Zimmer.

"I love Tony Sparano," Zimmer said in a statement. "He was a great teacher, a grinder of a worker and had a toughness and fighting spirit that showed in our linemen. He was a great husband, father and grandfather and a great friend to me. This is just sinking in for us, but Tony will be sorely missed by all."

Sparano's former players also paid tribute.

"Heart broken and lost for words! We lost a great man," tweeted Brian Hartline, who played receiver for Sparano in Miami.

"Damn I'm at a loss for words," tweeted Raiders Pro Bowl tackle Donald Penn. "Coach Sparano taught me so much not just about football about life also."

Sparano played at the University of New Haven where he was a four-year letterman. He was hired as New Haven's head coach in 1994 and held that position for five seasons.

In Miami, Sparano lost his first two games before turning to the wildcat. Six times they ran plays from the formation at New England, snapping the ball directly to running back Ronnie Brown, and four of those plays resulted in touchdowns.

"It was like playing hide and go seek, making them guess Frederik Andersen Jersey ," Brown said at the time.

Sparano said the Dolphins began practicing the wildcat during training camp but waited until the Patriots game to spring it.

"This is not something that just came up and we scribbled on the board a couple of days ago," the coach said.

Defenses soon adjusted, and a sputtering offense in Sparano's final two seasons at Miami contributed to his firing. But the Dolphins haven't won at New England since the wildcat game.

"We were saddened to learn of Tony Sparano's tragic and unexpected passing," owner Ross said in a statement. "Tony made an indelible impact on our team's history. His toughness, grit and leadership were evident to everyone who had the chance to coach with or play for him."

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Malcolm Jenkins went back to raising his fist during the national anthem and Chris Long again put his arm around him as the teammates continue trying to raise awareness about racial inequality, social injustices and systematic oppression.

Landry Jones and Josh Dobbs each tossed touchdown passes and the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Philadelphia Eagles 31-14 Thursday night in the preseason opener.

But Jenkins’ decision to resume his demonstration after stopping last December drew most of the attention as the defending Super Bowl champions returned to the field.

“Everybody is waiting for what the league is going to do,” Jenkins said. “We won’t let it stop what we stand for. I was very encouraged last year with the direction and that obviously took a different turn.

“I think it’s important to utilize the platform as we can because for whatever reason, we have framed this demonstration in a negative light and often players have to defend why we feel the need to fight for everyday Americans and in actuality we’re doing the right thing.”

The league and the players’ union have yet to announce a policy for this season regarding demonstrations during the anthem after the league initially ordered everyone to stand on the sideline when “The Star-Spangled Banner” is played, or remain in the locker room.

Cornerback De’Vante Bausby also raised his fist during the anthem, and defensive end Michael Bennett walked out of the tunnel and walked toward the bench while it played. It appeared all the Steelers stood.

“Malcolm is always a guy who is doing the work in the community, backing up whatever he’s doing,” Long said.

The Eagles rested several starters Womens Mike Evans Jersey , including quarterbacks Carson Wentz and Nick Foles. Nate Sudfeld threw a pair of touchdown passes and two interceptions.

Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown sat for the Steelers and Le’Veon Bell still hasn’t signed his franchise tender.

Jones completed all four of his passes for 83 yards, including a 71-yard TD pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster in the first quarter. Smith-Schuster made a leaping catch over Rasul Douglas at the 33 and ran untouched to the end zone.

Fitzgerald Toussaint had a 3-yard TD run and a 2-point conversion to give Pittsburgh a 15-8 lead. Dobbs threw a 29-yard TD pass to Damoun Patterson late in the second quarter.

“We moved the ball successfully,” Dobbs said. “It felt good to be out there.”

Sudfeld threw a perfect strike for a 63-yard TD to Shelton Gibson and fired a 15-yard TD pass to rookie Dallas Goedert. He finished 10 of 14 for 140 yards.

“I just ran my route and when I looked back, Nate stepped up and scrambled to my side and was able to hit me,” Goedert said. “A great play by him.”

Wentz still hasn’t been cleared for contact after having surgery to repair two torn ligaments in his left knee last December. Foles, the Super Bowl MVP, has missed a few practices with muscle spasms in his neck and shoulder.

Mason Rudolph, a third-round pick competing with Jones and Dobbs for the backup job to Roethlisberger, was 7 of 12 for 101 yards.

“He did a solid job in all areas,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said.

ROOKIE REPORT

Steelers: Safety Terrell Edmunds, a first-round pick, had three tackles. Wide receiver James Washington Womens Ryan Kerrigan Jersey , second-rounder, caught two passes for 44 yards.

Eagles: Goedert, a second-round pick and the team’s first selection, had four catches for 66 yards and one TD. He’ll get plenty of opportunities as the second tight end.

INJURIES

Ryan Shazier joined the defense in Pittsburgh’s pregame huddle, just 11 months after spinal stabilization surgery. Shazier is out for the season.

WELCOME TO FOOTBALL

Eagles rookie Jordan Mailata, an Australian rugby player drafted in the seventh round, got beat for a strip sack on his first series in the NFL. Mailata began the second half at left tackle.

HONORING FORMER EAGLES

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie announced at halftime that two-time All-Pro defensive end Clyde Simmons and three-time Pro Bowl linebacker Seth Joyner will be inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame on Sept. 23.

NEXT UP

Steelers: Visit the Green Bay Packers next Thursday.

Eagles: Visit the New England Patriots next Thursday.

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