Fox out after 4 AFC West titles, 4 playoff nosedives
AP Pro Football Writer
Coach John Fox and the Denver Broncos are parting ways following the team’s latest playoff meltdown.
Fox won the AFC West all four of his years in Denver, but each of those seasons ended in ugly fashion in the playoffs, culminating with Sunday’s 24-13 loss to Indianapolis.
Asked after the game about a pregame report that he could be available if the Broncos suffered a loss to the Colts, Fox didn’t shoot it down, saying, “I don’t make those decisions. I don’t control that. My intentions are to be a Denver Bronco and have been since I got here.”
Fox might already have something in the works with another team. Neither Fox nor John Elway would say what was discussed Monday when they met other than it was time to split up.
“It became clear that it was best for both the Denver Broncos and Coach Fox to move on and make this change,” Elway said in a statement.
So, Fox is out after going 49-22 in Denver, including the playoffs, following a 73-71 record in nine years with the Carolina Panthers.
The Broncos went 8-8 in Fox’s first year, when Tebowmania was in full pitch. The stakes were raised when Denver won the Peyton Manning sweepstakes and replaced Tim Tebow in 2012.
Denver went 38-10 in the regular season with Manning but the Broncos were upset twice at home in the divisional round and got upended by the Seahawks 43-8 in last year’s Super Bowl.
Elway thanked Fox for helping “establish a positive, winning culture for this team and (he) deserves a lot of credit for the Broncos’ turnaround,” but added “there is still work to be done” to win a Super Bowl. “Our organization is fully dedicated to reaching Pat Bowlen’s high standards for his team as we begin the process of finding the next head coach to lead the Denver Broncos.”
Fox characterized his meeting with Elway as productive and honest and the two “mutually agreed that the timing was right for this decision.”
“Although we came up short of our ultimate goal, I am proud of our team’s many accomplishments during these last four years. I truly appreciate all of the hard work put in by every player, coach and staff member within this organization,” Fox said in a statement. “It was an honor to coach the Denver Broncos, a first-class franchise with great fans and a winning tradition.”
“I am eager to continue my coaching career and look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead,” Fox added.
Fox became the only coach in NFL history to win a dozen consecutive divisional road games on his way to an unprecedented four straight AFC West titles in Denver.
But the goal when Manning came on board was Super Bowl trophies. Instead, Manning is 2-3 in the playoffs with the Broncos and all his three seasons have ended in ugly fashion after tying for the best record in the NFL during the regular season.
Manning was murky about his future Sunday night, saying he had to process this latest loss before deciding whether to play an 18th NFL season.
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