ENGLEWOOD, Colo. –On Tuesday, Head Coach John Fox and Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway sat down to talk to members of the media for their end-of-season press conference at Dove Valley.
Here are some of the highlights:
Though coming off the loss in Super Bowl XLVIII, Elway opened up the press conference with a message to the fans reminding them of the great season the team had and how proud he is of them.
"It was a great year," Elway said. "We came up short, but it wasn't due to lack of effort or lack of want-to. We didn't play very well two days ago. I know that's what everybody is disappointed about. We're disappointed about it, players are disappointed. But, it was a hell of a year. We went through a lot of different things, but I'm proud of the team."
Fox had a very similar message that he said he shared with the team.
"That I was proud of them," Fox said when asked what he told the team. "Obviously we're all disappointed. Disappointed for everybody in this building, No. 1, disappointed for the fans. But, it was a great season. We accomplished a lot. This team went through a lot. To walk out with your heads high. I know there is disappointment—it will take a while to go away for all of us, but at the end of the day, it was a successful season. Fifteen-and-four is not real shabby."
As good as the season was, the loss in the championship game is a tough way to end the season. Elway was asked how long it takes to get over a Super Bowl loss and he joked, "I'm not over them yet. I just add this one to it."
On how they will avoid this loss defining a seasonFox: "Well we talked to them today. They're competitors. They'll be back, that's what competitors do, that's what you do when you get knocked down because you're going to get knocked down. That's just the way it is. There is only one happy team at the end of every one of these things. We got close and we came up short. They get that, they're competitors—that's what competitors do."
On the salary cap situation and where they stand with free agencyElway: "Well, we will get back into that plan. That's what I was saying, we'll take the rest of this week and we'll get into it next week and start developing that plan and plan of attack as far as our guys first, and then where we might go in free agency. It's really part of that whole plan that eventually we are going to start constructing here in the near future."
On if Clady, Miller, Vickerson and the other injured players would have made a differenceFox: "We get those guys back [next year], but obviously there are no excuses. We were able to win two playoff games with the roster we had. We weren't able to close the deal in the final one. Every year—shoot, last year this time or actually earlier this, there was great disappointment. We lost a tough game against Baltimore. Well, it's everybody's dream—all 32 teams—to win the Super Bowl. The reality is one team. Whether it's the roster, whether it's the coaching staff, whether it's how you do things, you work to improve. We've made some steady improvement I know just since John [Elway] and I have been together and we expect the same thing this year. You are driven sometimes but that disappointment."
On having this game to fuel next season but waiting seven months to face another opponent Elway: "And I'll say one thing: I kind of get the sense that these questions are about 'How are we going to overcome this?' Well, the bottom line is, 'Sure. It's not even 48 hours away from the game.' But I will tell you this: right now the focus is on what happened instead of how we got there and what we did this year, what we went through as a team. But I say that the farther you get away from this, the less you concentrate on just that one game, the more you recognize the whole season and really what we did as a football team and really as an organization. And I'll tell you what, I'm very proud of that. There are some changes we've got to make and we'll make those. But the thing is, we can use that as a game that, 'OK, we now know what it's like to be there, now we're going to use that as the experience of we've been there but we've got to start with step one again and start with the offseason program.' And April 21st—everybody that knows it comes in here and the people that we bring in here when it gets to 85-90 guys on the roster, John [Fox] readdresses this team the first time and again it's to get back and be World Champions. The goal has not changed and it will not change. We will use this as an experience that we went through, be disappointed that we didn't play better, but the bottom line is this organization and what [Owner & CEO] Pat Bowlen wants from this organization—that has not changed and it will not change. The bottom line is we're going to work as hard as we worked this year, if not harder, and continue to do that with the mindset that we want to be World Champions and we're going to do everything we can to get there."