You are an NFL head coach.
You win eight games your first season, somehow claiming an AFC West championship, and upset the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Wild Card round. With Tim Tebow as your quarterback.
You win 13, 13 and 12 games your next three seasons, again winning the AFC West each time. At 46-18, your .719 regular season winning percentage is the greatest in franchise history.
You are John Fox, and you are now in search of another job.
Fox and the Denver Broncos “mutually parted ways” on Monday night, bringing to an end Fox’s four-year tenure that rivals only Jim Harbaugh’s in San Francisco late last month.
John Fox will be only 2nd HC in NFL history not to return to his team after three straight 12-win seasons; the other, Tony Dungy, retired.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 13, 2015
“I had a productive visit with John Elway this afternoon in which we were both very honest about our time together and how to best move forward,” Fox said in a statement. “After this discussion, John and I mutually agreed that the timing was right for this decision.”
Schefter reported that Fox’s style didn’t mesh with management, and that the parting of ways was truly mutual. But don’t kid yourself. Had Fox experienced more success in the playoffs following Peyton Manning’s arrival – with one-and-done home losses to Baltimore in 2013 and Indianapolis on Sunday, and last season’s embarrassing Super Bowl loss to Seattle – he’d still be in Denver.
“While we have made significant progress under Coach Fox, there is still work to be done,” executive vice president John Elway said in a statement. “I believe this change at the head coaching position will be in the best interest of our long-term goal, which from day one has been to win World Championships.”
The next step shouldn’t take long for either party. Schefter reported that the Broncos are interested in Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, though the latter previously expressed a desire to stay in Baltimore, and Chris Mortensen reported that Fox will interview for the Chicago Bears’ vacancy.
With the move, Denver joins the Bears, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders and Atlanta Falcons among NFL teams looking for head coaches. The Buffalo Bills hired Rex Ryan on Monday.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.