Suddenly, a record of 12-4 seems a lot like 4-12. A day after pissing John Elway off, the Denver Broncos are a team in transition.
Normally, this sort of territory is only reserved for the San Diego Chargers and Marty Schottenheimer, but angering The Duke comes with consequences.
Let me get this out of the way: losing John Fox is not a tragedy. It wouldn't have been a tragedy to keep him either. He's just another guy. As I showed in an article I penned almost four years ago, entitled, "A rabbit's foot and a hoodie," even randomness can produce a good coach for a period of four years. It can also make a good coach look really bad.
I don't think it's a real secret we at IAOFM never really grew to like Fox. He was a nice, decent guy, and if not for a Rahim Moore brain-fail, he'd probably have a Super Bowl. Yet he was an old-school coach, trusting his gut as much as his quarterback's completion percentage--often, his gut won out. On fourth down, his gut never got greedy, despite the percentages. Additionally, he rarely managed the clock well inside of four minutes; he treated timeouts like they were a girl with a case of Chlamydia.
Chlamydia can be treated. Unfortunately for the Broncos, Fox's reluctance to go for it on fourth down cannot.
New information is starting to trickle in. What's particularly disturbing is that the move to a Dan Reeves-based offense near the end of the season came at the insistence of Fox. And when Fox's BFF Jay Glazer reported that Fox could be coaching for his job (untrue, according to Mike Klis), it was obvious Fox was not a fan of Adam Gase and Peyton Manning doing their own thing.
He wanted out. That's John Fox looking out for John Fox on the morning of one of the most important games in Broncos history. Even if you buy the notion that Gase and Manning were insubordinates trying to push the gas pedal (and they probably were by the amount of deep balls we saw yesterday), it still doesn't justify the use of Glazer to do his bidding.
So Elway gave Fox his wish. He parlayed Tim Tebow (let's not forget that rollercoaster) and Peyton Manning into a healthy demand for his services.
Good for him, but it matters little to winning. That's because the real question in the NFL, and it will always be the most important question, is, who is going to play quarterback?
With Fox gone, it appears, for the Broncos at least, that will be Peyton Manning--assuming his leg heals.
In the NFL, quarterbacks always come before coaches. John Elway knew it when he battled Dan Reeves for a decade. And he knows it now. Manning's window is closing faster than a Jay Glazer/John Fox bro hug. Whoever the Broncos hire as head coach will have to defer to that.