Elway, Fox defend decision to take a knee


Broncos coach John Fox spent some time at his season-ending press conference defending quarterback Peyton Manning and he spent some time defending himself for his decision to take a knee at the end of the fourth quarter.

The Broncos had the ball on their 20-yard-line with 31 seconds to play and two timeouts after Jacoby Jones’ game-tying touchdown catch and Fox has caught flak for deciding against having Peyton Manning try to move the team into position to win the game. On Monday, Fox explained that Jones’ score influenced his decision not to be more aggressive before the game headed to overtime.

“That was pretty devastating,” Fox said, via the Denver Post. “There is a certain amount of shock value. It’s like a fighter being on the ropes — it didn’t seem like the time to go for a knockout punch. It didn’t seem to be the right time to go for the jugular. I’d do that again 10 times out of 10 if faced with that situation.”

Executive V.P. of football operations John Elway was also at the press conference and he seconded Fox’s read as the time not being right to go for broke.

Devastating as the moment was, it still feels like a strange time not to go for the jugular unless the Broncos saw a high chance that Manning was going to turn the ball over. It’s a decision that the Broncos will have plenty of time to mull over before their next game.

84 responses to “Elway, Fox defend decision to take a knee

  1. The fact that they are defending the decision to take a knee is even more embarrassing than actually taking a knee. Fox and Elway should be ashamed of themselves for not being able to figure out the statistical odds of how that only lowered their chances of winning the game.

  2. That doesn’t make any sense. Didn’t seem like the time?

    You don’t get to pick the time, chief. Clock’s winding down. Best time to go for the jugular also happens to be potentially your last time. Lucky you didn’t give up a touchdown that ended the game.

  3. John Fox would do the ultra conservative thing 10 out of 10 times.

    But only needing a field goal with 30 seconds, Peyton Manning, and timeouts…

    It seems absurd to not even try to get a few quick passes to setup a field goal. If you go three and out, then so be it.

    Playing not to lose often results in losses.

  4. No surprise here, this is the same Elway that let his coach in Indy lay down and give up on a perfect season, only to lose the SB any way. Karma is a B.

  5. I like that answer a lot better than what Dennis Green said when he took a knee in 1998: “We were confident we would win the coin toss in overtime.”

  6. I 100% agree with the decision to not “press” at the very end of the 4th qtr. In trying to gain huge yardage with little time while the game is tied makes no sense.
    However defending Mannings performance is not acceptable. He had too many turnovers.
    Just own it and keep moving.

  7. That move might be the single most bone-headed move I’ve ever seen an NFL coach make. There is no defending it. It’s flat-out a firable offense. And for Fox to say he’d do it again 10 out of 10 times…wow.

    Have fun with that, Denver fans!

  8. Not a Denver fan, or an Elway fan, but had they decided to go for the juglar, and Manning had thrown an interception (he’s capable of doing that you know) and the Ravens scored and won in regulation, the same folks screaming now would be screaming louder.

  9. Wasn’t getting Manning so the Broncos could run the 2-minute offense effectively? Maybe if Tebow was still there, take a knee, but Manning is no Tebow. Oh wait, remember the Bronco/Steeler game last year?

  10. My six year old’s instant reaction isn’t always the best guide, but when he screamed “they did what?!” when the Broncos took a knee it pretty much summed it up for me. “Isn’t Peyton their quarterback” was the next thing out of his mouth.

  11. Better to take a knee than to confirm a weakness. My guess is Fox didn’t want the Ravens to see that Manning lacked the arm strength to throw the deep ball right before heading into overtime. Not having the threat of being burned deep would’ve created quite a tactical disadvantage for the Broncos, so they let the clock expire instead of trying to win the game as time ran out.

    Smart, but a little sad to see Peyton fizzle like that.

  12. I think that sounds like exactly the opposite of what good coaches try to teach their team: “forget about the last play and go out and make something happen.”

  13. Also the 3rd and 7 and they run it up the middle. One timeout and game over right then and there. LOL what was that all about.

  14. I watched the game rooting for the Broncos (Vikes Fan)
    When they took the knee with 30 seconds, payton manning, and 2 timeouts…I said they deserve to lose this game.

    They only needed 50 yards or so to attempt a game winning FG.


  15. The Broncos just finished a game in true Carolina Panthers style.
    I live in NC and watched Fox’s conservative ways tighten up games that should have been blowouts for years.
    When Fox says he would do this 10 out of 10 times he is telling the truth.
    His conservative “is what it is” crap got old in a hurry here in Pantherland.

    Matty Ice did pretty well yesterday with 2 timeouts and only 30 seconds left on the clock in his home stadium.

  16. The thing is, since they had 2 timeouts left, they didn’t have to throw deep. 2 or 3 decent completions could have put them in field-goal range.

    To not even try? How does that make sense?
    If the playoffs are not the time to go for the jugular, then when?

  17. The only differences between Denver’s and Atlanta’s situations were that 1)Atlanta was losing, so they had to try to get a FG and 2) About 12 yards of field position.

    My question is: How much did Peyton protest/not protest the decision to take a knee?

  18. The Falcons are still playing because they got the ball in the last 30 seconds and were able to get in field goal range. The Broncos didn’t try and now they can sit at home next week.

  19. With only a 50/50 shot of winning the coin toss after the next period starts it makes not going for a field goal with 32 seconds and two time outs even worse. Playing conservative (scared) never wins

  20. Hindsight is 20/20 but there is a way to play conservative and still try to win. That is the same philosophy that finally ran Jim Mora out of New Orleans. Playing to win is usually better than trying not to lose. He essentially took the pressure off the Ravens and placed it squarely on Peyton’s shoulders. Fox was scared and at that point did not deserve to win the game.

  21. Unbelievable. You can bet Atlanta was “on the ropes” when the Seahawks scored the go ahead touchdown after being down 20. But, Matt Ryan told his team hey everyone go do your job and let’s get this thing, and they went and did it. That Denver didn’t have the faith to do this with Manning is unforgivable.

  22. I just love the total amnesia of some fans. Peyton Manning, regardless of how he played in this game, was the ONLY reason this team was even fighting for a chance at the AFC title. The ONLY reason. That being said, it was a completely bone-headed and idiotic decision not to put the ball in Peyton’s hands.

    I have to say when I was watching the game, I was astounded at how much the Broncos kept trying to run the ball with their second and third string guys. The announcer kept saying it was because the Ravens were sitting in a nickel defense. Really? Big effin deal. Nickel and dime them to death with short slants and dump-offs. I didn’t understand the obsession with the non-existant running game.

    I also would, without any hesitation, have put the ball back in Peyton Manning’s hands and said, you got 25 seconds to get us in field goal range. He’s the best QB to ever play the game. Why wouldn’t you give him a chance to win?

  23. They say Peyton and his family went to see Lewis after the game. I was hoping he went “Melo” Anthony on Lewis. After the game did you see Lewis slappin his helmet? You know Manning was like “I just had 3 neck surgerys!”

  24. What I find even more troubling is Fox saying he would do it 10 out of 10 times…………..and that’s with knowing he lost as a result of his decision. Yet he would do it 9 more times in a row?

    Then why did they go and get Peyton Manning?

  25. Chalk it up to oh, about the seventh thing Denver did to hand over the game to the undeserving, had-no-business-winning-this-one Ravens. I doubt New England will be handing out the same charity checks next Sunday.

  26. And the broncos will lose everytime. Isn’t that why they’ve traded tebow and brought in manning, a chance at a SB ring? If you’re not gonna let Peyton Manning work his magic to help the team win, put the rock osweiler in then, I rather see him kneel than manning. I don’t know, im sensing lack of faith in manning from the staff, they’re treating him like tebow with the runs on 3rdthe downs instead of fringe to get the firstdown. Yes manning made a hugh mistake on the int but if the coach played their cards right, he wouldn’t have been put in that situation and the broncos blew 3 chances to win the game without OT

  27. Elway biting his tongue.

    There is no way on god’s green earth you’re going to convince me that John Elway, the ultimate gambler as a player, supported seeing that kind of decision making.

    This is especially true after all the hoops he had to jump through just to land Manning.

  28. What is John, look at my suit ,Elway supposed to say ?
    Didn’t Manning take a knee in the first half as well ? Ravens D were tired, keep pressing,they will get tireder. You know,it’s cold and you are at 5000+ feet elevation,let’s give the Ravens a nice rest before O.T.Taking a knee at any time against a Ravens D is like cutting one of your arteries and hoping the sharks won’t attack. I’m shocked Manning didn’t go off on Fox & company and demand to keep going for it. At the very least you make the D run around and burn their lungs out a little and throw the ball away.

  29. Everyone saying they should have taken a shot, I was watching that game and it seem liked Manning can’t really go deep anymore. Lack of arm strength makes it hard to work the sidelines I know they had two timeouts but it’s not like Manning was chucking the ball deep down the field plus Prater had missed from 52 before, it’s easy to judge in hindsight. I don’t think it was wrong it call it was the smart call.

  30. to me too many people are blaming the broncos for losing and not crediting the ravens for winning…the ravens made the plays to win…bottom line… against the odds…they busted that butt, but all we hear is how the broncos blew it…blame fox, blame peyton, blame the safety for getting beat…give credit where credit is due…baltimore came into denver on a short week, gave up 2 special teams touch downs and still beat that butt…next

  31. After seeing Matt Ryan go down the field in 20 seconds to put the Falcons in a position to kick the winning field goal makes Fox’s decision all the more foolish. The donkies had Manning back there, not Tebow.

    This decision will rank up there in the all time dumb football decisions, not not even give the team a chance to win it.

  32. It may not seem like a bad decision, until you factor in you have arguably, one of the greatest QB’s ever, and the 2 timeouts is huge when making the decision also. This isnt a situation where there is a set answer, its unique to who your personnel is, & in this case you should always go for it, not to mention at home too….

  33. Football is a gambler’s game–no one gambled more than John Elway in his day. Sure, trying to move the ball from the 20 against Baltimore meant risking Ed Reed or another Raven picking it off and running it back for the defining score. But you weigh risks v. rewards. It’s not as though Manning is a gunslinging interception machine. His INT was an awkward, across-the-body pass. Moving forward, he’d have been playing the sidelines, trying to get enough yards for a FG attempt. Peyton is certainly smart enough to throw it away if he didn’t get the right read, knowing they’d go to overtime anyway.

    It just seemed foolish not to try.

  34. if he would have said he did it to prevent a turnover I’d get it. I’d disagree, but I’d get it.

    if he admitted the mistake afterward, I’d have respected it. we all make incorrect decisions from time to time.

    to say you’d make the same move even though it very well could have cost you the biggest game of the year is disgraceful. I’d be calling for his head if I was a broncos fan

  35. Herm Edwards has caught a lot of flak over the years, but it seems like Elway and Fox could use reminding that “You play to win the game!”

  36. I 100% agree with what FOX did. I think taking a kneeat the end of the first half and end of the game was the right thing to do.

    Signed ravens fans

  37. Indy/ Peyton fan here….

    1. Defense had a terrible game.

    2. Coach Fox: you needed one more first down to win the game in regulation and you got hugely conservative with the plays…that’s not how you got to the playoffs.

    3. Peyton…..2nd and 6 with 30 seconds left in OT and all you need is a FG to win. Why didn’t you throw it away? I love you but wanted to choke you….why did you panic when you haven’t panicked all season.

    4. Ugh!

  38. mrpowers88 says:Jan 14, 2013 5:52 PM

    My question is: How much did Peyton protest/not protest the decision to take a knee?
    Peyton makes the decisions. Always has, always will.

  39. So run a draw!

    There is a difference between taking a knee and taking a shot with a conservative play. Two time outs, there is always the chance that an draw can pop enough yards to justify Manning take a shot with the last time out. IT WASN’T LIKE BALTIMORE HAD ANY TIME OUTS LEFT TO USE ON DEFENSE!

    I remember New England winning a Super Bowl in a near identical situation–everyone expecting them to be taking a knee and going to overtime. The Rams had burned timeouts–one left–so BB ran a few conservative plays and the ball came out far enough to give rookie Tom Brady a shot. Next thing you know, Venatari was kicking the winner.

  40. Lets go a little further just after the two min warning, the Broncos get a first down game over. And what do i see, i think it was 3 consecutive run plays, they punted the ball to the Ravens and the rest they say is history lol. The used to be an ESPN.com columnist that wrote every Monday about coaches that play not to loose cant remember his column (if someone remembers those witty columns help me out)needless to say John Fox punted his victory away lol.

  41. Anything other than what they did would have been nuts. For Denver to make a few risky passes deep could have been intercepted and setup Ravens for the wining FG.

    If Denver couldn’t win straight up in OT they didn’t deserve to win. I think they felt that way too.

  42. So John Fox is telling us that if he had a do over he wouldn’t try to get close and kick a field goal?

    What a load of rubbish, and idiot could see that the decision he made there would come back to haunt the Broncos. Essentially you are throwing away an opportunity to win a playoff football game.

    Oh yeah, and apparently Peyton Manning played well enough to win. You know, like he always does in the playoffs…

  43. The definition of STUPIDITY is saying you would do the same thing over and over knowing you robbed your team of a chance to win the game by a show of no confidence.

  44. The truth is the cold weather affected Manning’s arm. His arm was shot by the 4th quarter. They had no choice. He was clearly in pain. If you noticed the last interception you could see it.

  45. Broncos had several chances with the ball in OT after taking a knee and couldn’t do squat, so not sure why everyone thinks they would’ve been able to get 50 yards in 30 seconds that particular time. Manning’s offense scored 21 points and gave up 7 in 5 quarters with 3 turnovers. Jamie Moyer thought he couldn’t get much on his throws. Get used to it each January for the next 2-3 years, Denver.

  46. Of course he would do the same thing 10 times out of 10. Hes well known as the most conservative coach in the league. They needed literally 40 yards to get into field goal range. 30 seconds with 2 timeouts. They could have gotten like 6 or 7 plays off.

  47. Dudes, I’m a Broncos fan with a broken heart, but let’s get real. Were you watching Peyton in the second half? What did you think of his throwing ability? Peyton’s bread and butter through is whole career has been throwing to the seam. He called not a single seam route in the second half. Why do you think? His arm gave out on him in this game, pure and simple. Who knows why? Weather? Age? Four neck operations? If Peyton could have thrown the ball, he would have thrown ball.

  48. What Fox did was play the odds. 90% of head coaches know the odds and most will never vary. It reminded me of when OC Bruce Arians took over as the Colts HC while Coach Pagano was out sick. On numerous times he passed when he should have run and run when he should passed. And by going against convential odds his “gunslinger” attitude pulled out win after win. I don’t give a crap if it’s the right way to go or not but he sure makes games interesting. San Diego you need to hire this gunslinger. He may not win every game but the damn fans won’t boo him for boring play calling.

  49. Peyton didn’t throw a ball further than 20 yds all game. That was a mess at the end of the game . John Fox is way to conservative that’s why they lost. Call Tebow back he needs a job next season.

  50. It takes a big man to support somebody who you really want to fire today. Elway has to be asking himself if Fox is the right guy for the last couple of good years left in Manning.

  51. @ddogdaddy …

    Don’t be so sure about fans not booing Arians for becoming predictable. In Pittsburgh, we could tell you what play he was going to run five series before he ran it. That said, though, he can be creative when he’s has the mind to be. I think he’d make a great head coach for the Chargers.

  52. Hey Bronco fans…..stop crying about bad decisions, bad safety play and bad refs…..you got punched in the mouth by a better team and got your arses beat! You were not prepared to play that offense this time around….period! Just ask Champ! And your all world front 7 got dominated but a bigger, meaner much tougher offensive line! Now…..when do the Rockies report to spring training????????

  53. Hey Fox, did you already forget what Tom Brady did to you in the Super Bowl? He didn’t take a knee. He went for the jugular and won. It is what it is.

  54. Superbowl XXXVI: John Madden suggests Tom Brady should take a knee and play for overtime. F*** that! That’s why TB12 and BB rule.

  55. They’re defending Peyton; I believe his arm was pretty much in tatters and he could only dump off the ball, so not enough time left to get a score.

  56. Fox and Elway can’t go back and change what happened so naturally they are going to now say it was the right thing to do and then hope the issue fades away. Elway would’ve never taken a knee when he played. Manning is not a “take a knee” guy….no more than Brady or Brees. I can see the debate if they needed to go 80yds for a TD but only need 40-50 yds for a legit FG attempt. The only explanation that would support not going for it is an explanation that neither Fox or Elway would admit to at this time and that is that Manning was having issues with his arm whether it be arm strength or with the cold temp.

  57. They did the same thing at the end of the 2nd quarter..even the fans were booing them..ahhh that’s why I love the pats and bellichick..brains and guts will usually win

  58. I’m sorry, why are we asking Elway about coaching decisions. Are any other front office people being asked about game day decisions?

  59. Who cares what they thought was the right thing to do, the game is over, now let’s concentrate on not committing the same mistakes again.
    Go Bronco’s

  60. What’s even dumber is that the Ravens should have never even gotten the ball back and had the opportunity to get the late touchdown. With a 1st Down on their own 46 yard line, Fox had them run the ball 3 straight times and then punted. All Denver needed was 1 first down to run out the clock and ice the game.

    Then, with time on the clock, Fox again showed why he was fired in Carolina. No guts, no glory. Atlanta is in the NFC Championship game because they played to win. John Fox set his team up for failure.

  61. Christian Ponder moved the Vikings from their own 20 into field goal range in Week 1 with 14 seconds left and no timeouts. Of course, that was Christian Ponder, not Peyton Manning.

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