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John Fox, Broncos 'mutually agreed to part ways'

John Fox won 38 regular season games during his final three seasons, but he was unable to win a Super Bowl with a Broncos roster engineered for title runs.

John Fox is leaving the the Denver Broncos after four seasons as head coach. Fox is coming off a 12-4 season during which the Broncos earned the AFC's No. 2 seed, but a loss to Indianapolis Colts in the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs was apparently the death knell for a coach many perceived was underachieving with a roster built to win a Super Bowl. The two sides "mutually agreed to part ways," according to Adam Schefter.

Fox took over as the Broncos' head coach in 2011 after the Carolina Panthers decided not to renew his contract. The Broncos improved to 8-8 in Fox's first season from 4-12 in 2010, all while starting Tim Tebow and Kyle Orton at quarterback. The team's fortunes took off when it signed Peyton Manning in 2012. Denver went 13-3 that season and earned the AFC's top seed. It would promptly lose its playoff opener to the Baltimore Ravens, however.

Fox's best season was 2013, when the Broncos made the Super Bowl behind an MVP season from Manning. The Broncos set the NFL scoring record that season, but couldn't find any offense in a Super Bowl that ended in an ugly 43-8 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

The Broncos made several big offseason moves before the 2014 season to get over the Super Bowl hump. Signings like DeMarcus Ware, Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward (and the availability of Von Miller) succeeded in improving what was a shaky defense. The offense took a step back, however, particularly down the season's stretch. Manning posted a passer rating better than 85.3 just once in his final six outings (including in the loss to Indianapolis).

Many will relate Fox's firing to Manning's slide. Manning will turn 39 in March, raising legitimate questions of how much longer he can play. The Broncos have to start looking ahead to the future, and to John Elway and company that apparently means finding a new head coach to handle the rebuild.

Update: It appears the Broncos will have an entirely new coaching staff next season as Vic Lombardi reports all the assistant coaches were also let go. Jeff Darlington of reports the entire staff has been told it should look elsewhere. Offensive coordinator Adam Gase is a popular head coaching candidate while defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio has also been mentioned as a possible candidate.