The Broncos head to Carolina to play the Panthers this weekend, which means Broncos coach John Fox will return to the place he used to coach for the first time since being leaving the team after nine years on the sideline.
As you’d expect, Fox is facing questions about his thoughts on the return to Charlotte and, also as you’d probably expect, Fox is answering those questions by downplaying the idea that he’s finding any extra motivation by the circumstances. He said he had great relationships there and that he’s “indebted” to the team for giving him a head coaching job, but insisted the significance of the game had nothing to do with his personal history.
“It’s the most important game, because it’s the next one. You don’t get but 16 of these opportunities. Right now we’re 5-3, and the only guarantee we have is 5-11,” Fox said, via Jeff Legwold of the Denver Post. “So, you know, it will be just like any week from the standpoint of it’s the Denver Broncos against the Carolina Panthers at their place. That’s the only real thing I know. How we prepare will determine that outcome.”
Things didn’t end well in Carolina for Fox in 2010, but things very rarely end well for head coaches in the NFL. Things have worked out pretty well for Fox and the departure of Marty Hurney means Fox’s main adversary in the final season is no longer on the scene, so the motivation of a sixth win should be plenty.
An added twist is that the result of Sunday’s game will help determine the future of Fox’s replacement with the Panthers. Ron Rivera has been put on notice that his tenure with the team could be a lot shorter than Fox’s stay in Carolina.