Denver Head Coach John Fox Fondly Recalls Time Spent with Giants

Patricia TrainaFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 26, 2014

JERSEY CITY, NJ - JANUARY 26:  Head coach John Fox of the Denver Broncos addresses the media on January 26, 2014 in Jersey City, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Getting to a Super Bowl is special enough for any head coach.

For Denver Broncos head coach John Fox, getting to a Super Bowl that will be played in the same region where his coaching career really took flight several years ago makes it even more special.

Fox, who started his NFL coaching career as a defensive backs coach, a position he held with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1989 and then with San Diego for two seasons, became a first-time NFL defensive coordinator for the Oakland Raiders in 1994.

However, his tenure with the Raiders was rumored to be bumpy, so bumpy in fact that he suddenly walked away from the organization in 1995.

'Like a lot of things in this league, things don't work out,'' Fox told Mike Freeman, then of the New York Times in 2001.  

''Coaches get fired, coaches leave, people move on. That doesn't mean there is anything wrong with the organization or the coaches. We all change addresses very often.''

When pressed for more information regarding his split, which was rumored to be linked to meddling from Al Davis, the late Raiders owner, Fox told Freeman, ''Yeah, it was one of those things in coaching where things just don't work out philosophically.''

After spending the 1996 season as a personnel consultant for the St. Louis Rams, Fox was back in charge of a NFL defense, this time with the New York Giants, with whom he was with during the 1997-2001 seasons under then-head coach Jim Fassel.

John Fox was the Giants' defensive coordinator from 1997 to 2001.
John Fox was the Giants' defensive coordinator from 1997 to 2001.KATHY WILLENS/Associated Press

"You know, I have some fond memories,” Fox said during Denver’s Super Bowl XLVIII arrival press conference on Sunday evening.

“That championship game back in 2000 (a 41-0 shutout of the Minnesota Vikings)…I guess it might have been 2001 by then, I don't remember how they do that, but it was in a completely different stadium.”

While with the Giants, Fox began to draw interest from the NFL as a potential head-coaching candidate. He was eventually was hired by the Carolina Panthers in 2002.

That next season, he led the Panthers to their first-ever Super Bowl, a game in which they lost to the new England Patriots, 32-29.

Fox, who was fired by Carolina after the 2010 season, landed again on his feet with Denver the following season.

Three years later, he’s become the sixth head coach in NFL history to take two different teams to the Super Bowl, joining Dan Reeves (Denver, Atlanta), Bill Parcells (Giants, Patriots), Mike Holmgren (Green Bay, Seattle), Dick Vermeil (Philadelphia, St. Louis), and Don Shula (Baltimore, Miami).

A Super Bowl win is a tremendous accomplishment no matter where the game is played. But if Fox can pull off that feat in the Giants home stadium, it would be all the more special for him given his ties to the Giants organization.

“It's a great organization, tremendous families running the organization,” he said of the Giants. “Their head coach (Tom Coughlin) is probably one of the guys I look up to the most in this league. So I've got great memories about the organization.

“I've got nothing but great memories here. It would mean a lot to win it anywhere, but it would be special here."


Patricia Traina is the senior editor for Inside Football, and a credentialed Super Bowl XLVIII writer. All quotes and information obtained firsthand, unless otherwise noted. Follow me on Twitter, @Patricia_Traina.