Bears name John Fox next head coach

John Fox
John Fox

By Brandon Reid
Senior Assistant Editor

John Fox has signed a four-year deal to become the Chicago Bears’ next head coach.

Fox, 59, has a career regular-season record of 119-89 in 13 seasons with the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos. He has a career postseason record of 8-7, including guiding the Panthers to the Super Bowl in 2003 and the Broncos to the Super Bowl in 2013.

In his 13 seasons as an NFL head coach, Fox has won fewer than seven games only once in his career — 2010, when the Panthers finished 2-14.

Fox began his head coaching career in 2002, taking over a Panthers team that finished 1-15 in 2001 and guiding them to a 7-9 record. The following season, 2003, the Panthers won their division and played in Super Bowl XXXVIII, losing 32-29 to the New England Patriots.

The Panthers made the playoffs two more times over the next seven seasons, including losing to the Seattle Seahawks 34-14 in the 2005 NFC championship game.

Following the Panthers’ 2-14 performance in 2010, Panthers owner Jerry Richardson announced he would not be renewing Fox’s contract.

Jan. 13, 2011, Fox was selected as the 14th head coach of the Denver Broncos. In his first season in Denver in 2011, Fox guided a Broncos team that had finished 4-12 in 2010 to an 8-8 record, a division title and a wild-card playoff win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Tim Tebow was under center for the Broncos that season.

Quarterback Peyton Manning signed with the Broncos March 20, 2012, and the Broncos then went 13-3 in 2012 and 2013, and 12-4 in 2014. Fox helped guide the Broncos to the Super Bowl in 2013, but the team lost 43-8 to the Seattle Seahawks.

Prior to being a head coach, Fox was defensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Raiders from 1994 to 1995 and the New York Giants from 1997 to 2001.

The hiring of Fox as head coach is the first major decision made by new General Manager Ryan Pace. Pace, 37, who previously worked in the New Orleans Saints’ front office for 14 years, was named general manager Jan. 8.

Pace and Fox replace former General Manager Phil Emery and former Head Coach Marc Trestman, who were both let go after the Bears finished 5-11 in 2014. Trestman was 13-19 in two seasons with the team.

The hiring of the defensive-minded Fox as head coach signals a possible shift in philosophy for the Bears, who hired the offensive-minded Trestman in 2012 to replace former Head Coach Lovie Smith.

In their first season under Trestman in 2013, the Bears scored the second-most points in the NFL with 445. However, they dropped to 23rd in 2014 with 319 points. The team also finished next to last in points allowed in both 2013 and 2014, with 478 and 442, respectively. The team also had a negative 5 turnover ratio in both 2013 and 2014, 22nd worst both seasons.

Pace and Fox will be charged with determining whether to keep Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. Cutler, 31, signed a seven-year, $126 million extension with the Bears Jan. 2, 2014. That contract made him the highest-paid offensive player in the NFL last season. However, Cutler’s poor play on the field in 2014 has led some to question whether he should remain the starter in 2015.

Cutler is 44-38 in six season as a starter in Chicago. Last season, he threw for 3,812 yards, a career-high 28 touchdowns and league-leading 18 interceptions.

Posted Jan. 16, 2015

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