When an NFL coach wins four consecutive division titles, he’s usually looking to receive a raise, not a pink slip.
Such was the case in Denver after last season when John Elway sent coach John Fox packing because according to the boss, they “disagreed how to get to the next level.”
Well, now it sounds like there was more to the breakup, according to a report by USA Today.
Two people familiar with the situation spoke with USA Today on condition of anonymity. They gave details dating back to 2012 where the two diverged.
The first was a divisional playoff loss in double overtime to the Ravens in 2012.
But it was the moments that followed that most irked Elway. Fox instructed Manning to take a knee and force overtime, even though 31 seconds remained on the clock with Fox holding two timeouts. The Broncos went on to lose in double overtime. When Elway would use the term, kicking and screaming to describe how he wants his team to play two years later, it’s impossible not to believe he had the Ravens game, among others, in mind. That sequence was the beginning of the end, the former employee said.
Fox and Elway also had disagreements about player and coaching personnel, according to the report. Fox leaned toward veterans; Elway wanted to go young.
Then, there’s this interesting nugget about Adam Gase, the Bears offensive coordinator who seems to have tapped into Jay Cutler’s unlimited potential this season:
There were also disagreements about Fox’s staff. Two years ago, Elway favored Gase to be the new offensive coordinator, while Fox wanted to interview Ken Whisenhunt, who had recently been fired by the Arizona Cardinals.
The story also talked about how players questioned the way Fox prepared the Broncos before their 43-8 loss to the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Practices in New Jersey had a regular-season feel with too much physical work and not enough mental emphasis. The Broncos were never in that game, their record-setting offense scoring just one touchdown. That failure led to Super Bowl-or-bust expectations last year — not just for the team, but specifically for Fox.
Elway’s Broncos face the Bears and Fox on Sunday at Soldier Field.