John Fox’s name has been mentioned a lot this week in the Bay Area, not always kindly.
The Chicago Bears’ coach was the last coach to lead both the Panthers and Broncos to the Super Bowl, with both trips resulting in losses.
But a pair of players with considerable clout with each franchise defended Fox this week in the days leading to Super Bowl 50.
“John Fox was a big reason why I came to Denver. We had a great three years together,” Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning said. “We had a special team on that Super Bowl team that got beat by a better (Seattle) team.
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“I just don’t do the comparisons. I was grateful to play for him. I have enjoyed playing for coach (Gary) Kubiak. He has led us into this position. I am grateful and felt fortunate to have played and learned from both of them.”
Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis is one of five remaining players from the 2010 team that finished 2-14 in Fox’s last season in Charlotte. Davis said was well liked throughout his nine-year tenure with the Panthers, which included a Super Bowl loss to New England on Feb. 1, 2004.
The Panthers did not renew Fox’s contract after the 2010 season.
“We loved him as a coach. I know that to a man as players, I don’t think there was one guy on that team or that I know that ever played for him that disliked coach Fox,” Davis said.
“I’ve said this before: Coaches don’t get fired because they can’t coach. They get fired because you don’t perform well as players. And we owned that. We didn’t play well enough for him to keep his job.”