And, it turns out that the locker room after a double-overtime playoff loss is not a great place to talk to anybody about anything. Most specifically, it is not a great place to talk to anyone about the offensive coordinator's job prospects going forward.
McCoy, 40, touted as the kind of young, offensive-minded innovator Eagles chairman Jeffrey Lurie seems to have in mind, was not available to reporters. Tight end Jacob Tamme was nice enough to try to brush aside the shock and despair long enough to venture that, "Mike is deserving. He's done such a good job with different offenses [for quarterbacks Kyle Orton, Tim Tebow and Peyton Manning over the past two seasons]. He deserves a chance to lead a team. He understands the game and knows how to lead."
It's funny how this job candidate thing works with the playoff guys. If you want your team to hire one of them, you need for his current team to lose, to make him available. But losing brings up questions, and can make the candidate seem less attractive, as was the case for McCoy and the Broncos after a team they'd beaten, 34-17, 4 weeks earlier on the road came into Mile High Stadium and ended Denver's 11-game winning streak with a thud.
McCoy probably didn't tell Manning to throw the ball to Baltimore corner Corey Graham in OT, or to fumble it away (twice, actually, one fumble was negated by a Ravens penalty). But he presumably did have something to do with an extremely conservative Broncos approach after Denver took a 35-28 fourth-quarter lead. After shutting everything down and trying to bleed away the clock, the Broncos never really seemed to rev back up again in overtime.
How much of this was Manning - who owned up to a crucial third-down audible that didn't work, saying, "don't put that on Mike [McCoy]" - how much was head coach John Fox, and how much was McCoy? We don't know, just as we don't really know how much of a hand McCoy had in Denver's successes this season.
We do know that the Broncos' point total was inflated by two Trindon Holliday return touchdowns, and that Manning, touted heavily for NFL MVP this season, spent much of the afternoon and evening dinking and dunking for small chunks of yardage, that longer throws just vanished from the Denver arsenal after halftime. We know that No. 1 running back Knowshon Moreno, a potent pass-catching weapon, left the game in the second quarter with a knee injury. We know that Baltimore's difference-making safety, Bernard Pollard, was a presence in this game after missing the previous meeting with a chest injury.
"For a good bit there in the second half [the Ravens had] a lot of two-deep safeties, man-to-man underneath," Manning said after going 28 for 43 for 290 yards, three touchdowns, and two picks. "They are going to take away some of those guys on the outside, which means you've got to beat them on the inside - the back out of the backfield, the tight end. That's how you have to attack that defense."
One decision that definitely went on Fox' ledger, and not McCoy's, came when the Broncos decided to take a knee with 31 seconds left in regulation, after the Ravens' unbelievable game-tying 70-yard Hail Mary touchdown from Joe Flacco to Jacoby Jones. Denver safety Rahim Moore was running with Jones, and the ball hung in the air, but Moore unaccountably stopped too soon, went up to knock it down and missed, leaving Jones all alone for the touchdown.
"I think maybe different judgments were made on the track of the ball and Jacoby was the guy that made the right judgment on the track of the ball on the run," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said, as nearby in the Denver locker room, Moore was telling reporters, "It's my fault," over and over again.
"You have to get a little bit lucky, and it worked out," said Flacco, who hails from Audubon, N.J. "We kept going and going, and all of a sudden, that happened. There's no real way to explain it. The opportunity arose, and guys made plays."
Flacco's 18 completions went for 331 yards, which is 18.4 yards a pop.
"You just . . . I don't really have a whole lot of thought on it," Manning said when asked about taking the knee. He had timeouts and needed maybe 45 yards to try a field goal. "We had the ball in overtime [ultimately]. Obviously, if you never get the ball, you certainly can think that. We had the ball in overtime. We had chances, didn't do it. I made a bad throw and I gave our defense, put our defense in a tough spot in a short field and gave them a chance to win it, so you really can't point to that, I don't think."
Actually, you can point to a lot of things that don't reflect well on the entire Denver coaching staff. The Ravens' coaches made critical adjustments from the previous meeting, the Broncos did not.
"This is a much different team than we played in the regular season," said Manning, 36, whose comeback from missing a year with a neck injury was one of the NFL's top storylines, one that ended abruptly and ignominiously.
On Twitter: @LesBowen