In the midst of their annual NFL Owners Meetings in New Orleans, another yearly tradition was happening. This morning 31 out of the 32 NFL Head Coaches had breakfast with the media. The lone hold out was New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who claims to have overslept, but the other coaches dined and discussed the recent rule changes adopted by the league among other things.
Denver Broncos head coach John Fox described his feelings about his new home and position:
"Not so much to compare (Carolina vs, Denver), but I just think I’ve always admired Denver—No. 1 because of ownership. Mr. Bowlen, since he’s taken over the team it’s been one of the winningest organizations in the NFL. I think that is always critical when you’re in my position. I think the fan base—the passion of the fan base—is outstanding. I’ve been to places like Pittsburgh and New York. There is just a passion and a love for the team in Pittsburgh that you don’t see in any city. I think some of that same type of passion I’ve seen in Denver."
Fox has been around awhile and he has witnessed first hand the effects of Denver fans and the "Mile High Magic." On October 10, 2004, the Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers 20-17 and Fox was the Panthers head coach.
"I think it’s probably the best home-field advantage in the National Football League. Nowhere else has altitude. You can’t acclimatize at altitude in the timeframe that you have to do it in the NFL."
And just think, Denver fans are only a 6 compared to Chicago.
With the impasse in the labor situation, it has to be difficult for a new head coach to bond with his players, but Fox seems to shrug it off.
"I met a lot of guys when I first got here. I don’t really think it’s a problem at all."
Still, as a veteran coach there has to be some concern bringing a new program to unfamiliar faces.
"It’s just getting to know them. I can watch them on tape. I know these guys pretty well. There are only 32 of us (head coaches) in this league and we watch a lot of people on all teams. I think getting to know them, getting to know their buttons—which buttons to push—I think that’s the key whether it’s this year or any year."
Fox seems to have his priorities right. Denver fans can take comfort that games within the AFC West will not be overlooked. Two things take precedence for him as he peruses each season's schedule.
"Honestly, whether we open home or away, I look when the bye week is and I look for when we play our divisional teams. Really, those—in not any particular order—that is what I look at. They are all tough."
Fans can also rest assured that the Broncos are being diligent in scouting for next month's NFL Draft. Even the quarterback position is under scrutiny.
"Every Pro Day that I have been to, there has been a player there that is in the running for our (No. 2) pick. I think sometimes in the top of the draft, you wish you were not there—there are enough players there at the top of the draft this year. Now, who is going to be the best? That is the art. If I had those answers, I would not be here."
The Broncos new head coach appears to be comfortable with the other two legs of the stool; Executive Director of Football Operations John Elway and General Manager Brian Xanders.
"At the end of the day, when you are evaluating, more sets of eyes are better. I think something early on that was great is that there are no egos amongst us three. At the end of the day, we are going to get it right."