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2003 Carolina Panthers Heroes: John Fox

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By the time the 12 months 2002 started, John Fox experienced founded a popularity as just one of the best assistant coaches in the Nationwide Soccer League. Fox experienced been employed as the defensive coordinator of the New York Giants in 1997, and assisted lead the staff to two division titles and a vacation to Tremendous Bowl XXXV less than head coach Jim Fassel. His achievements with Huge Blue acquired him his initially head coaching career with the Carolina Panthers – A career that was not for the faint of coronary heart.

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Immediately after several many years of upheval following a vacation to the NFC Championship Video game in 1996, the however-fledgling Carolina Panthers experienced cratered in 2001. They experienced won their period opener against the Minnesota Vikings, but proceeded to get rid of every solitary match later on to complete 1-15: The worst staff in the Nationwide Soccer League and the initially staff ever to get rid of 15-consecutive games in a solitary period. The Panthers, as they stood, ended up a major reclamation challenge: And Fox would lead a turnaround that experienced the franchise in their initially-ever Tremendous Bowl just two many years later.

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In 2002, Fox’s operate started in conjunction with staff typical supervisor Marty Hurney. Whilst the Panthers ended up next-guessed by the media following their determination to draft defensive conclude Julius Peppers with the No. 2-total decide on in the 2002 Draft rather of quarterback Joey Harrington, they would in the long run conclude up with many hits: Peppers would rapidly vindicate the Panthers’ determination to draft him, and won Defensive Rookie of the Yr honors for the 2002 period – the initially accolade in a long term Corridor of Fame career. In the next spherical, the Panthers would take working again DeShaun Foster. In the 3rd, they bought linebacker Will Witherspoon. Both of whom, merged with Peppers, would demonstrate invaluable to Fox’s staff.

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In his initially 12 months as head coach, Fox led the Panthers to a 7-9 record. A large component of that turnaround was Fox turning the Panthers’ defense from just one of the league’s worst (No. 28 in full defense in 2001) into just one of its finest (No. 5 in 2002). With that period to develop on, Fox and the Panthers would make several moves the subsequent offseason in the fascination of enhancing their offense: With the No. 8-total decide on in the Draft, the Panthers took offensive deal with Jordan Gross. And in free of charge agency, the Panthers scored two vital pickups: Quarterback Jake Delhomme from the New Orleans Saints, and working again Stephen Davis from the Washington Redskins.

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People players and additional would be pivotal to Fox’s achievements, as he would lead the Panthers to an 11-5 record and to Tremendous Bowl XXXVIII in 2003. But Fox was in no way just along for the trip: He was a coach that thought strongly in his staff, explained to them so, and assisted guideline the staff into turning into the never-say-die squad that they became as they continually battled and prevailed in close games.

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I have often preached ‘it’s players, not plays’,” Fox explained to Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer in January 2019.

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That solution would help the Panthers reach greatness in 2003, and Fox’s total tenure with the Panthers a really profitable just one. He would lead the Panthers on another deep playoff run to the NFC Championship Video game in 2005, and also led the staff to the No. 2-total seed in the playoffs in 2008. By the time his tenure as head coach of the Panthers came to an conclude following the 2010 period, he was the most profitable head coach in the history of the staff: He won a full of 73 games as head coach of the Panthers, which continues to be the most in franchise history (Fox’s record will probably be broken in 2019 by present-day head coach Ron Rivera, who currently has 71).

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Immediately after 9 seasons in Carolina, Fox would provide four period as head coach of the Denver Broncos and three as head coach of the Chicago Bears. With the Broncos, Fox built it all the way to Tremendous Bowl XLVIII – 10 many years soon after his Tremendous Bowl run with the Panthers.

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