Three years and three consecutive AFC West titles later, Fox has the Broncos playing in the AFC Championship Game for the first time since 2005 – evidence that the results Fox has helped produce have fit with Denver quite nicely, as well.
“He's just a positive guy,” Elway said. “You never really see him down. You never see him in a bad mood. You never see him without any energy. He's got more energy than anybody I've ever see. That, to me, is the definition of John Fox—the energy level that he brings. He brings it to the practice field, and it's contagious. I think that's why he was a perfect fit for us.”
In a season full of high expectations and unexpected twists, Fox has helped guide the Broncos within one win of a berth in Super Bowl XLVIII – a credit, according to Elway, to the head coach’s ability to adapt in the face of injuries to key players and unforeseen circumstances.
“He's done a tremendous job of just keeping the focus small,” Elway said. “From the very beginning, it's week-to-week, when you have things happen. And the bottom line is, every team is going to have injuries. We've had it on defense. So we're no different than anybody else. I mean, you look at New England—you look at cut-ups of them from the first of the year until now, their defense is a lot different now than it was then. So I think he's done a good job of just everybody understanding that we're going to have injuries, we've just got to figure out how to adjust to them.”
Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase echoed Elway’s sentiments about the contagious nature of Fox’s passion and enthusiasm for the game. For Gase, that was perhaps most evident when Fox returned to the Broncos after missing Weeks 10-13 – during which Fox was recovering from undergoing emergency heart surgery.
“His energy has always been unbelievable,” Gase said. “You could tell how excited he was when he did get back and I think a lot of our guys fed off of that just knowing how much he missed being around this atmosphere.”
While Fox was away, Elway attributed both the poise of Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio as well as the overall character of the players on the team for ensuring that the Broncos didn’t miss a beat without their head coach.
“With John in the middle of it, being gone, where Jack stepped in and did a tremendous job,” Elway said. “But that came down from the leadership of this team, and they were able to keep an even keel and keep it business as usual until John came back.”
Ultimately, it’s been a unified effort on all ends that has helped lead the Broncos to the top of the AFC West once again – and one win from being atop the entire conference – despite the repeated adversity that the team has had to face.
“John, as well as the coordinators—and the coordinators are doing a good job of, again, putting guys in good positions to be successful and shifting,” Elway said. “Any time you lose (CB) Chris Harris (Jr.), you lose (LB)
And as the Broncos write yet another chapter of their season on Sunday, one thing will remain a certainty: their head coach will lead them into the game with no shortage of spirit and desire.
“His energy is always just unbelievable,” Gase said. “I wish I had a little more pep to my deal sometimes, but really, his energy level is outstanding.”