DENVER — Less than a week after he and the Denver Broncos agreed to mutually part ways, former Broncos head coach John Fox was officially named the new head coach of the Chicago Bears on Friday.
The Bears made the announcement official shortly after 1:15 p.m. on Twitter, ending days of speculation that actually began before the Broncos’ final game of the 2015 season.
The original report suggesting Fox might soon become a hot head coaching commodity came from Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer in a pregame show before the Broncos’ playoff tilt with the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, a game the Broncos unceremoniously lost 24-13.
“There’s a thought if (the Broncos) lose today, could John Fox become available? If he is, he shoots to the top of lists,” Glazer said.
Well, the Broncos lost, Fox became available on Monday and indeed he did shoot past four other coaches previously interviewed by the Bears, including Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase, to the No. 1 spot on the team’s wish list.
The prophetic nature of the report from Glazer, a well-known friend of Fox’s, had a lot of people wondering if Fox may have had one foot out of the door before the Broncos were even bounced from this year’s playoffs.
There had been rumors that Fox’s relationship with Broncos general manager John Elway had been deteriorating for some time, and in his postseason press conference, Elway admitted that he and Fox “disagreed on how to get to the next level” — that next level being a Super Bowl championship.
The Broncos were defeated in their first playoff game in two out of Fox’s four seasons and suffered an embarrassing 43-8 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII.
But it wasn’t as if Fox’s tenure in Denver could be at all classified as a bust. In fact, Fox became just the second coach in NFL history to leave a team after three consecutive 12-win seasons. The other was Tony Dungy, who chose to retire from the Colts after his third consecutive 12-win season.
What’s more, Fox was the third-winningest coach in Broncos history behind only Mike Shanahan and Dan Reeves, and Fox’s with his .719 winning percentage during his four seasons in Denver is the best in franchise history.
The Broncos were reportedly in the process of bringing in Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak for an interview on Friday. Two other Broncos’ head coaching candidates, Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and former Buffalo Bills head coach Doug Marrone, had reportedly canceled interviews with the Broncos on Friday after the news broke about Kubiak officially becoming a candidate.
It’s not secret that Kubiak has a long history with the Broncos and Elway. In addition to helping the team win two Super Bowl titles as an offensive coordinator with Elway as his quarterback in 1997 and 1998, Kubiak was also a Broncos player, serving as Elway’s backup from 1983 to 1991.