All of the debate about the job status of Denver Nuggets head coach George Karl in the past week raises an interesting question about the head coach of the Denver Broncos. By almost any measurement, John Fox has done a great job in his first two seasons with the Broncos, but the pressure is squarely on him in 2013.
The Broncos are among the favorites to win the Super Bowl, and the organization has not backed off of those lofty expectations. In fact, Vice-President of Football Operations John Elway has only echoed those beliefs. It was Peyton Manning who pointed to Elway as the person who was setting the mood for 2013, and that mood was not meant to be a comfortable one.
Elway is well aware of the fact that the Broncos are set up to win right now, and the pressure to do so is high. It’s high on the players, and it’s high on Fox. As successful as Fox has been in his first two years, he has taken some heat for the playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Was he too careful at the end of regulation? Were the Broncos too conservative in the overtime period? Is Fox too conservative overall for a team with Manning?
I’m not here to answer those questions today other than to say that if the Broncos come up short in the playoffs again, Fox could be in trouble.
Elway has shown in his three years on the job that patience is not one of his strong suits, and that’s a good thing. He wants to win, and he wants to win now. In 2011 the Broncos won the AFC West and a playoff game, but it wasn’t even close to being good enough for Elway. He went after Manning and traded fan favorite Tim Tebow because he knew the Broncos could never win big the way they were playing.
With Manning, the Broncos went 13-3 and won another division title. However they came up short again in the playoffs, and Elway has made even more changes. He signed Wes Welker and other free agents in an effort to improve an al-ready good football team.
There’s no way around it; the Broncos are set up to win and Elway knows it. As much as he likes and respects Fox, Elway wants a Super Bowl title more than anything. If he feels like Fox is not the coach that can lead them to that point, then Elway would not hesitate to make a move.
What are the exact circumstances under which Fox would be in trouble? That’s difficult to say because you have to play out the season. Assuming the Broncos stay fairly healthy, anything short of at least an appearance in the AFC Championship Game would have to be considered a disappointment. The Broncos, to a man, have said that the only thing acceptable in 2013 is a World Championship.
Whenever expectations are that high, the pressure follows. And when those expectations are not met, consequences often follow. That pressure is on everyone this season, but no one more than Fox.
Follow me on Twitter @Jemorrone7