After back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 1972, the Denver Broncos have fired head coach Vance Joseph on Black Monday.
Defeat to the Los Angeles Chargers in week 17 sent the Broncos to their 21st loss in two seasons, but it was the loss of a 46-year record that contributed to Joseph’s downfall.
First back-to-back losing seasons in 46 years….contributed to costing Vance Joseph his job. https://t.co/qscPuEcLQk— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 31, 2018
Following Gary Kubiak’s retirement as head coach in 2016, Joseph led the Broncos to an 11-21 record.
With a 6-10 record in 2018, the Broncos won one more game than in 2017 with a new quarterback and a raft of veteran starters on injured reserve, but the Broncos pulled the plug on Joseph’s four-year contract after just two disappointing
“I spoke with Vance this morning and thanked him for all of his hard work as our head coach,” Elway said in a statement.
“Although we decided to make this change, I believe Vance is a good football coach who has a bright future in this league.
“Vance made a lot of strides and deserves credit for how hard and competitively the team played this season. There’s always going to be a high standard here — the bottom line is we need to win more football games.
“We’re excited about the foundation that’s being built and look forward to putting in the work to get the Broncos back on the winning track.”
While hamstrung by a lack of franchise quarterback and a roster decimated by injury, Joseph came under relentless criticism for his poor game management.
After a three-game win streak brought the Broncos back to 6-6 with a chance to make the playoffs, Joseph was unable to keep the momentum going as the team lost four straight, including defeats to the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders, two teams that own top five picks in the 2019 NFL Draft.
After Sunday’s defeat to the Chargers, Joseph pleaded his case, which mostly fell on deaf ears among supporters, to remain as head coach and return for the third year of his contract.
“I want to thank John Elway, Joe Ellis and the organization for the opportunity to serve as the head coach of the Denver Broncos,” Joseph said.
“It’s disappointing not being able to finish what we started, but I’m incredibly proud of the players and coaches for how they fought and worked every week.
“I also appreciate the support staffs who put in countless hours behind the scenes helping our team.
“This is a special place with great fans. Holly and I, along with our entire family, truly enjoyed being part of this community and wish the Broncos all the best.”
The Broncos will cast a wide net as they search for their fourth head coach in Elway’s tenure as general manager.
That search is expected to include interviews with Los Angeles Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor, New England Patriots defensive coordinator Brian Flores, former Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak, former Indianapolis Colts head coach and Boulder native Chuck Pagano, and former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy.