Jack Del Rio reflects on his month as Broncos head coach in Super Bowl run

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Wednesday January 29, 2014

The Denver Broncos have held one of the best records in the NFL all season and reached the Super Bowl as the No. 1 seed in the AFC, but a stretch in November could have derailed the run if not for Jack Del Rio.

Head coach John Fox underwent heart surgery on Nov. 4, and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio became the interim head coach. This came right after Del Rio interviewed for the USC head-coaching job.

The Broncos went 3-1 in four games under Del Rio. All four were against playoff teams, and three were on the road. Denver won in San Diego, defeated Kansas City twice and lost in overtime at New England. 

“It was an honor to be called on,” Del Rio told SiriusXM NFL Radio. “We have a lot of good people on this staff. They called on me to lead while John was away. It was a collective effort. We did a good job of holding down the fort. We had three tough road games. It was a really tough four-game stretch, and we battled though it.

When Coach came back, we were in first place and rolling. I was proud of that. For me, the fact I had close to nine years as a head coach previously certainly helped. The experience was something I was able to draw on. It was fairly smooth, in terms of handling the responsibilities and doing what we needed to do.”

Del Rio was asked how much physical work the team does at this point in the season. Players are banged up, and the Broncos defense will be going up against powerful Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch.

“We’ll be in pads today,” Del Rio said. ”We’ve been diligent in working on fundamentals, tackling, shedding, stuffing blocks, all those things are part of what we do week-in and week-out. That’s going to be important. Late in the year, fundamentals win for you. We’re playing with confidence and doing the right things, and part of that is working on the fundamentals, and tackling is No. 1.”

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to chris@coachingsearch.com.