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AFC West Roundup: Rival Chiefs Hire New Defensive Coordinator

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New York Giants interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo runs onto the field before an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Let's spin around the AFC West this week as the NFL season culminates Sunday with Super Bowl LIII between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams.

Kansas City Chiefs: Steve Spagnuolo was hired as the Chiefs' new defensive coordinator last Thursday. Kansas City finished the 2018 regular season with the league's 31st-ranked defense despite coming up an overtime period short of appearing in Super Bowl LIII.

Spagnuolo has seven seasons of NFL experience as a defensive coordinator and is perhaps best known for helping guide the New York Giants to a victory over the then-18-0 New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. The defensive-minded Spagnuolo also spent three seasons as the head coach of the Rams from 2009-11.

There is also familiarity between Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid and Spagnuolo. While in Philadelphia, Spagnuolo spent seven seasons on Reid's staff from 1999-2006 in three different roles: defensive assistant/quality control, linebackers coach and defensive backs coach.

Denver Broncos: The Hall-of-Fame wait for Broncos owner Pat Bowlen could come to an end this weekend in Atlanta. Bowlen, who was selected as a Contributor Finalist last August, needs 80 percent of Saturday's vote to become a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2019.

Under Bowlen's ownership, the Broncos have appeared in seven Super Bowls and have won three. According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Bowlen is the only owner in history to win 300 games in his first 30 seasons.

Other former Broncos who could have their name called on Saturday include cornerback Champ Bailey, safety John Lynch and safety Steve Atwater.

On the field, Denver hired Vic Fangio as its head coach on January 10. Fangio has over three decades of NFL experience and most recently ran the Chicago Bears' defense – a unit that ranked third overall in the NFL this past season.

Oakland Raiders: Head Coach Jon Gruden and Co. are fresh off the 2019 Reese's Senior Bowl, where the Raiders coaching staff led the North team to a 34-24 victory over a South team coached by the 49ers' staff. New General Manager Mike Mayock, who was hired away from the NFL Network on Dec. 31, 2018, was also in Mobile, Ala. for the Senior Bowl.

Speaking of the Bay Area, there are questions as to where the Raiders will be playing their home games in 2019 before moving to Las Vegas in 2020. At his press conference Wednesday in Atlanta, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that Raiders officials are currently working through those issues, but noted that time is of the essence when it comes to NFL business.

"I'm hopeful that they'll get a resolution soon," Goodell said. "As far as timing is our schedule. We need to make a schedule obviously for the 2019 season. And that – the sooner, the better."

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