ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- **On the surface, it seems unusual: the Broncos parting ways with the head coach who guided them to a 49-22 record and four consecutive division titles.
But the situation was more complicated than that, and after John Fox and Executive Vice President/General Manager John Elway met Monday, the two came to a resolution that ended Fox's head-coaching tenure after an eventful, and mostly successful, four-year stint.
"During our open and candid conversation, it became clear that it was best for both the Denver Broncos and Coach Fox to move on and make this change," Elway said in a statement issued Monday afternoon.
And with that statement, the Broncos entered the market for a new head coach.
"I had a productive visit with John Elway this afternoon in which we were both very honest about our time together and how to best move forward," Fox said in a statement. "After this discussion, John and I mutually agreed that the timing was right for this decision."
All this isn't to say that Fox's stewardship of the Broncos was a failure. Far from it, actually. He orchestrated a turnaround from the franchise's worst season in four decades, a 4-12 campaign in which the club not only lost games, but respect after the videotaping scandal in London.
By the time the 8-8 season of 2011 concluded, the wounds were healed, and the Broncos were back to respectability, having won a playoff game with a quarterback who completed less than 50 percent of his passes for the season and a roster still hollowed out and depth-shy because of some mostly fallow draft classes prior to Elway's arrival.
The successful free-agent courtship of Peyton Manning the following offseason led to the second-best three-year stretch in team history, a 38-10 run behind only the 39-9 sprint through the 1996-98 seasons.
But a 3-4 record in the postseason -- including 2-3 in Manning's three seasons at quarterback -- left each of those campaigns at a frustrating end.
The last two playoff losses, 43-8 to Seattle in last year's Super Bowl and 24-13 to the Colts on Sunday, were particularly decisive. In each case, an offense that was among the league's leaders in points -- first in 2013, second in 2014 -- bogged down and was unable to counter a defense that attacked underneath receivers with safeties and linebackers.
What is clear from Monday's events is that divisional-round losses are not good enough.
"While we have made significant progress under Coach Fox, there is still work to be done," Elway said in a statement. "I believe this change at the head coaching position will be in the best interest of our long-term goal, which from day one has been to win world championships."
And now it's up to someone else to make that happen.
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