John Fox (American football)

John Fox

refer to caption

Fox in 2010
Chicago Bears
Position: Head coach
Personal information
Date of birth: (1955-02-08) February 8, 1955
Place of birth: Virginia Beach, Virginia
Career information
High school: Chula Vista (CA) Castle Park
College: San Diego State
Undrafted: 1978
Career history
As player:
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
As coach:
Career highlights and awards
Head coaching record
Regular season: 128–108 (.542)
Postseason: 8–7 (.533)
Career: 136–115 (.542)
Coaching stats at PFR

John Fox (born February 8, 1955) is an American football coach who is the head coach of the Chicago Bears of the National Football League (NFL). He has also coached the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos, with whom he won an NFC Championship and an AFC Championship, respectively, but lost both of his coaching appearances in the Super Bowl.

In the 2013 NFL season, quarterback Peyton Manning threw for 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns, both records, and the offense combined for 7,317 yards, also a record. At the conclusion of the 2011 season, the Broncos finished tied for 3rd in the NFL in sacks and 1st in rushing offense, again with Fox.[1]

Playing career

John Fox played football at Castle Park High School in Chula Vista, California under local celebrated coaches Gil Warren and Reldon "Bing" Dawson, and Southwestern College (California) also in Chula Vista from 1974-1975, before going to San Diego State, where he played defensive back with future NFL player & head coach Herman Edwards. Fox received a bachelor's degree in physical education and earned teaching credentials from San Diego State. He then proceeded to the NFL as a free agent and signed a two-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After that contract was over he retired from the NFL.

Early coaching career

In 1979 John Fox was a defensive backs coach at U.S. International University.[2] Sid Gillman, past head coach of the San Diego Chargers, was the athletic director at the time. In 1980, Fox was the defensive backs coach for the Boise State University Broncos when they won the NCAA Division I-AA Football Championship. In 1983, John Fox was a member of Mike Gottfried's University of Kansas staff, as the secondary coach. Fox followed Mike Gottfried to the University of Pittsburgh when Gottfried became Head Coach at Pitt in 1986. Fox was first the Defensive Backs coach and then was promoted to Defensive Coordinator by Gottfried. While at Pitt, Fox made some contacts with Pittsburgh Steeler coaches and when Gottfried was let go by Pitt, Fox got his first NFL coaching gig with the Steelers.


Fox began his first professional football coaching stint in the short-lived United States Football League with the Los Angeles Express in 1985.


He entered the NFL in 1989 as the secondary coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, later also holding this job with the San Diego Chargers. Fox was the defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Raiders and later that of the New York Giants during Super Bowl XXXV, which they lost.

Carolina Panthers

In 2002 Fox was signed as the third head coach of the Carolina Panthers, whose previous coach George Seifert had led the team to a disastrous 1-15 record in 2001. Fox's first regular season game was a 10–7 victory over the Baltimore Ravens which ended the Panthers' 15-game losing streak dating to the previous season. Fox and the Panthers posted a 7–9 record for the 2002 season (his first with the team), demonstrating a drastic improvement over the previous season.

In the 2003 season Fox led the Panthers to Super Bowl XXXVIII, losing 32–29 to the New England Patriots on a last-second field goal by Adam Vinatieri. Fox joined Vince Lombardi as the only other coach to inherit a team that had won only one game in the season prior, and then take that team to a NFL Championship game. Fox also took the Carolina Panthers to the NFC Championship game in the 2005 season, but they were defeated by the Seattle Seahawks.

The 2006 season was disappointing for Fox and the Panthers, as a team that had Super Bowl aspirations finished 8-8 and out of the playoffs.

The 2007 season saw the team finish with a record of 7–9, before finishing with a 12–4 record in the 2008 season, again heading to the playoffs in which they were routed by the Arizona Cardinals.

The 2009 season was disappointing to Fox and the Panthers much like 2006. The Panthers finished the season 8-8 and in third place in the NFC South division, missing the playoffs again.

The 2010 season saw the Panthers finish last in the league, at 2–14.

On December 31, 2010 Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson announced that he would not be renewing Fox's contract at the conclusion of the 2010 season.[3]

Denver Broncos

On January 13, 2011, Fox was selected to be the 14th head coach of the Denver Broncos. He was signed to a 4-year $14 million deal. He was chosen by the Broncos out of a list of five possible head coach candidates that included Broncos interim head coach and running backs coach Eric Studesville, Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, Houston Texans offensive coordinator Rick Dennison and New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell. Fox was chosen based on his previous head coaching experience plus his 20+ years as an NFL coach.[4]

Fox is one of only two coaches, and the only one as a head coach, still working on the NFL sidelines that was once a member of former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Chuck Noll's coaching staff, the other being current Minnesota Vikings wide receivers coach George Stewart.[5] Tom Moore, currently an offensive consultant for the Arizona Cardinals, is still active in the league but works from home.

In April 2012, Fox received a three-year contract extension worth between $5 million and $6 million per year, replacing his contract that expired at the end of the 2014 NFL season.[6]

In week two of the 2012 season, Fox was fined $30,000 for chiding the replacement officials.[7] The Broncos would go on to win their last 11 games after a 2–3 start. In week 17 of the 2012 season, Fox won his 100th career game as an NFL head coach, including the playoffs, beating the Kansas City Chiefs 38–3. However, the Broncos were upset in the divisional playoffs to the Baltimore Ravens, in overtime.

Due to a cardiac related issue, starting with week 10 of 2013, Fox was replaced by Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, as Fox underwent an aortic valve replacement.[8] Fox, while playing golf in North Carolina near his offseason home in Charlotte during the Broncos bye week, reported feeling dizzy and was taken to the hospital for examination where doctors told him not to put off valve replacement surgery any longer; he had done so earlier in the year to continue coaching this season.[9] On November 4, Fox temporarily relinquished his head coaching duties, and Del Rio was named interim head coach for the remainder of the 2013 season regular season. Fox then underwent successful aortic valve replacement surgery.[10]

He coached the Broncos to Super Bowl XLVIII in the 2013 season, where they played the NFC champion Seattle Seahawks. He is one of only two head coaches to win both an NFC and an AFC championship game along with Dan Reeves, and one of six coaches to reach the Super Bowl with multiple teams.[11] On February 2, 2014, the Broncos lost to the Seahawks 43-8.

Fox coached the Broncos to another strong season in 2014; the Broncos finished the regular season 12–4. They earned the AFC's number 2 seed and a first-round playoff bye. Hosting the Indianapolis Colts at home in the Divisional Round, the Broncos were upset 24–13 and were eliminated from the playoffs.

On January 12, 2015, the day after Denver lost in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, Fox and the Broncos mutually agreed to part ways. Fox left the Broncos with the highest regular season win percentage in team history. However, general manager John Elway felt the Broncos hadn't shown enough fight at critical times in the playoffs.[12]

Fox is only the second head coach in the history of the NFL to win four straight division titles since joining a new team.

Chicago Bears

On January 16, 2015, Fox accepted a four-year deal to become head coach of the Chicago Bears.[13] Fox led the Bears to a 6–10 record in his first season, only the second time in his career where he had double-digit losses.

Personal life

Fox was born in Virginia Beach, Virginia and raised in San Diego, California after moving there at age 15. His step-father, Ron, was a US Navy SEAL. Fox and his wife, Robin, have three sons (Matthew, Mark, and Cody) and a daughter (Halle). Known to his friends as "Foxy", he is an active community leader in the Carolinas. He and his wife co-chair the annual Angels & Stars Gala, which benefits St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.[14]

Head coaching record

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
WonLostTiesWin %Finish Won Lost Win % Result
CAR2002 790.4384th in NFC South - - - -
CAR2003 1150.6881st in NFC South31.750Lost to New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVIII.
CAR2004 790.4383rd in NFC South - - - -
CAR2005 1150.6882nd in NFC South21.667Lost to Seattle Seahawks in NFC Championship Game.
CAR2006 880.5002nd in NFC South - - - -
CAR2007 790.4382nd in NFC South - - - -
CAR2008 1240.7501st in NFC South01.000 Lost to Arizona Cardinals in NFC Divisional Game.
CAR2009 880.5003rd in NFC South - - - -
CAR2010 2140.1254th in NFC South - - - -
CAR Total73710.50753.625
DEN2011 880.5001st in AFC West11.500Lost to New England Patriots in AFC Divisional Game.
DEN2012 1330.8121st in AFC West01.000Lost to Baltimore Ravens in AFC Divisional Game.
DEN2013 1330.8131st in AFC West21.667Lost to Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII.
DEN2014 1240.7501st in AFC West01.000Lost to Indianapolis Colts in AFC Divisional Game.
DEN Total46180.71934.428
CHI2015 6100.3754th in NFC North----
CHI2016 390.250TBD
CHI Total9190.321000
Total[15]1281080.54287.533 -

Coaching tree

NFL head coaches under whom Fox has served:

Assistant coaches under Fox who became NFL head coaches:


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