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John Elway on John Fox: ‘This is why we made the decision’

SAN JOSE, Calif. — John Elway wasn’t gloating, but business is business. Replacing John Fox with Gary Kubiak seems to have made the difference.

“This is why we made the decision,” the Broncos’ general manager said Monday at “Super Bowl Opening Night” at SAP Center. “This was the idea — to get better and get past the first round.

“We had a good regular season, but struggled in the first round. So the idea, the goal — what our owner wants — is to win a championship. That’s why the decision was made last year to go in a different direction. And Gary’s done a tremendous job.”

For the record, the Broncos actually got past the first round in two of Fox’s four seasons — beating the Steelers with Tim Tebow in the 2011 postseason and beating the Chargers and Patriots to reach the Super Bowl with Peyton Manning in the 2013 postseason. The blowout loss to the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII and last year’s home loss to the Colts changed the perception.

But Elway doesn’t think the Broncos’ performance this season should reflect poorly on Fox, who has been to the Super Bowl twice in his career, but lost both times.

“I think John did a great job when he as here — there’s no question,” Elway said. “He won four AFC West championships, so he did a tremendous job.

“It just got to the point where … it was kind of like we talked about [after the change was made], it was a mutual parting of the ways. He decided that he wanted to go in a different direction and we said, ‘That’s fine, we’ll go in this direction, too.’ I think it worked out for both sides.”

So Fox could have stayed with the Broncos if he wanted?

“We’re not going to get into that,” Elway said. “That’s what happened, so we agreed that that’s what was going to happen. So we’re not going to look at that.”

Elway said he still has a good relationship with Fox. And he noticed the impact Fox had on the Bears, even though the Bears were 6-10 after finishing 5-11 under Marc Trestman in 2014.

“Yeah, they did make some strides this year,” Elway said. “You never win as many games as you like, but I think you saw a lot of positive strides that they made — they played good defense and Jay Cutler probably had one of the best years he’s had in awhile. So they keep him going and continue to get some people around him, they’re going to be a good football team.”