Just over two years ago, I wrote a blog demanding that the Carolina Panthers fire their then head coach John Fox for his ridiculously defeatest play calling.
In that case, Fox sent in the punting team on fourth and five from Pittsburgh's 32 yard line when his team's record stood at 2-12 and the Panthers had actually put together a decent opening drive (note, this was pre-Cam Newton, of course).
I trust the Denver Broncos aren't feeling too surprised that Fox was at it again on Saturday, making ridiculously defeatest decisions in their loss to Baltimore in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Fox lost Denver the ball game. Not Manning, with his ridiculous throw at the end of the first overtime period. Not the Bronco pass defence, that gave up all those big plays.
Coach John Fox cost the favoured Broncos the win.
First, after the Ravens struck for the game tying touchdown in the last minute, Denver and its all world quarterback, Peyton Manning, got the ball back on their own 19 yard line with 31 seconds to play. I honestly don't know how many (if any) timeouts they had left but they had a full 31 seconds, Peyton Manning and the thin Mile-High air on their side if they chose to take the game in their own hands and try to move into field goal position for the win.
But this is John Fox we're talking about. Even though Peyton and that Bronco offense have the talent to move the ball 50 or 60 yards with relative ease in 31 seconds, Fox called for Manning to take a knee rather than try to win the ball game.
Obscene decision. Ridiculous. Let Manning try to win the ball game for you. Give him the ball and say, "Peyton, do what you do so well."
But not old Fox the fatalist. Nope. Don't give one of the top offenses in the league the chance to go out and win it. Take a knee and settle for the uncertainty of overtime.
Do I have to mention that Fox, in the first overtime, actually sent in the punt unit when his offense faced fourth and one from its own 39? Sure, it's a gamble. Sure, you've just be stopped cold on third and one.
But you're the best team in football, you've got one of the best quarterbacks in league history. and you're at home. Go for it. Tell your team that you have faith in them, that you trust them, that you believe they are good enough to win the game outright.
Did you see San Fran? They were in the lead. They were deep in Green Bay territory and they were deep into the game. They faced a fourth and four or five and could easily have settled for the three points. But why kick the field goal, a perfectly acceptable way to extend your lead, when you can tell your team you believe in them and go out and salt the game away. Go for it! Win the game when you've got the chance.
That's the behaviour of a winner.
And, just as he was two years ago in Carolina, John Fox is a loser coach. He's a defeatest with no faith in his players, even when they're among the best in league history. Denver should have known that when they hired him but it probably doesn't make it any easier to swallow today, as the Broncos, number one seed in the AFC, head home with their tails between their legs, beaten by their own coach's lack of belief in them.