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Peyton Manning retirement rumors, John Fox rumors could change coaching search calculus

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The Denver Broncos appear to be at a bit of a cross-roads. What could their future mean for coaching searches around the league, including that of the San Francisco 49ers.

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The 2014 season is officially a wrap for the Denver Broncos, and the crazy talk has already begun. The Broncos lost in surprising fashion as the Indianapolis Colts beat them 24-13. The Broncos offense had nothing going for it, and with the loss, questions were raised about the futures of quarterback Peyton Manning and head coach John Fox.

Manning was asked about returning in 2015, and he said he could not answer that right then. On the one hand, this is not remotely surprising given that he just went through a tough loss that ended his season. On the other hand, a younger player might be more inclined to say, yes, I want to come back and finish the job. Manning of course, is not a young player anymore. He has reached the stage in his career where he is going to take some time to figure out his future each offseason until he finally does retire. I don't think he will retire this year, but it would not be the most shocking development of the year.

John Fox was quickly in the cross-hairs for many fans and analysts, and it actually started before the game. Before the game, Jay Glazer was talking about job openings and said, "there's a thought if (the Broncos) lose today, could John Fox become available?" It would seem crazy to fire a coach after a conference championship game, but NFL owners have proven to have a certain amount of impatience. Of course, when Jim Harbaugh parted ways with the 49ers, it remains to be seen exactly how much had to do with on-field performance. In Fox's case, any firing would come due to not being able to get the Broncos entirely over the hump.

Following the Broncos loss, offensive coordinator Adam Gase officially became available to conduct follow-up interviews and potentially accept a head coach position. However, in light of all these rumors, I do wonder what happens next for him in Denver. If Fox gets canned, Gase would likely quickly become the favorite to take over the job. On the other hand, if Fox is fired and Manning retires, does Gase really want to stick around? I have a hunch people would jump ship quickly if Manning decided to call it quits. No offense to Brock Osweiler, but it will get mighty interesting over there in such a situation.

My guess is nothing changes, and Fox and Manning are back in 2015. I'd imagine any resolution to the Fox situation would be in the next couple days. As for Manning, that might take a little longer.