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G_Money
12-31-2008, 09:13 AM
That sound you hear is that of jaws dropping around the league. This move caught just about everyone off-guard. Mike Shanahan was thought to be unassailable in his ivory tower, looming large over Broncoland – overseeing every aspect of the organization, hiring and firing at will, and always planning his next ascent up the NFL mountain.

Until Pat Bowlen believed the Tower of Babel had grown too tall, cast too big a shadow, had grown too insular and brought it all crashing down.

It might have been overlooked, as Bowlen himself gave the title of Broncos Coach For Life to Shanahan, but Pat is every inch the competitive soul that Jerry Jones is. He is easy to forget since he doesn’t give a lot of press conferences and doesn’t think he should be a coach on the sidelines, but his hunger for championship football is as ferocious as that of any owner in the league. He’s not a money counter. He’s not primping his investment.

Pat Bowlen wants a winner in Denver – and in his desire to reclaim the throne he evicted the only man who has ever won it all for the Broncos.

The espoused reasons for this will come out in today’s press conferences. I’m sure both men will be genial and mouth all the platitudes in the world for each other – and in fact may mean most of them, a rarity in professional sports. I can’t imagine that the two don’t have a healthy respect for one another, even after this.

But no matter what they say, it comes down to this: Bowlen did not believe Shanahan could lead this team to a title. Bowlen lived through Reeves – he remembers what it’s like to have a coach who can’t quite pull it off, whose controlling nature forces out the best and the brightest. Who can’t add enough talent around his star quarterback to hang that championship banner.

Shanahan’s failures in past drafts are well-documented, but his more recent draft history shows a lot more promise. There was young talent on offense, and no terrible seasons to show for it.

But the defense remained a quagmire. When Plummer was here, it was obvious our offense wasn’t strong enough to overcome the defense that Indy shredded repeatedly. With Cutler, nothing has changed – at least not for the better. We had a worse defense, with poorer talent and coordination than those teams that got destroyed by Manning and Wayne and Harrison. Even with a burgeoning Pro-Bowl cast on offense we are nowhere near a Super Bowl run until that gets fixed…and it was never fixed. Our free agents were damaged goods, our trades rarely panned out, and our aging leadership was never replaced. Shanahan, like Gruden and many other coaches, prefers the players to motivate themselves while he handles the schemes and plays. That works fine when your locker room is packed with the John Lynches and Al Wilsons of the world. It doesn’t work as well without those team leaders.

Apparently, Bowlen decided this approach was not going to improve us enough to make us champions, and overcame his long-standing loyalty to Mike and pulled the trigger.

And for one of the few times in his career Shanahan showed loyalty to someone, and it cost him. If the rumors are true that one of the issues that greased the wheels for his departure was his insistence that Slowik remain, then an out-of-character move for the king of the “This game is a business first” mentality is at the very least surprising.

For years, we assumed Shanahan was the Wizard of Oz, the man behind the curtain who pulled all the strings. There was one string he could no longer pull, however, and it’s the one Bowlen just clipped.

Will the Broncos be better off with a new coach, a new GM, a new front office approach? As Broncos fans, we can only hope so. We can hope that the next head coach of the Broncos can pull a Tony Dungy, and take a young, brilliant QB and a good cast of offensive talent and turn it into a juggernaut that eventually brings back the title. If that doesn’t happen – or worse, Shanahan goes somewhere else and wins a title while we founder – Bowlen will be ridiculed and reviled.

But the man with the competitive fire and the checkbook decided to remove Shanahan before he became the next Reeves, or Shula – the good coach who had some championship pieces in place but who could not quite get that lightning back into the bottle.

Whether it was the right move or not remains to be seen, but it’s certainly a slap across the face to all Broncos fans, as well as people around the league. Wake up, people. Change is upon us. Every good new thing is built on the back of some other thing, whether it succeeded or failed.

Here’s hoping the offense Shanahan was creating will be able to blossom under our next leader, and that our defense doesn’t become his Achilles Heel as well.

Cutler, Marshall, Clady, Royal, Harris, Hillis…these could be the most important gifts given toward our next championship by the man who brought us “This one’s for John” and “This one’s for you.”

Pat Bowlen’s most important job in the last 15 years is making that a reality.

~G

Northman
12-31-2008, 09:21 AM
Excellent Job G.

SeeingRed
12-31-2008, 09:45 AM
Awesome article brother.

Medford Bronco
12-31-2008, 09:48 AM
G you always do a great job :salute:

NightTrainLayne
12-31-2008, 09:52 AM
Right on the money. ;) Pun intended.

G_Money
12-31-2008, 11:03 AM
LOL thanks. :beer: I'm still sorting out how I feel about the firing.

Who we decide to hire will help me encapsulate my current feelings. “Kevin Gilbride? AAAAAAUUGHHH!!”

Sometimes change becomes necessary, but one would hope it would be the right change. I’d hate to hire our own Bobby Petrino or Denny Green.

We’re a proud franchise, with good reason. I'm looking forward to another decade of championship pride coming our way with our next hire.

~G

Cugel
12-31-2008, 11:35 AM
Good article!

Apparently it was never in the cards for Shanahan to surrender his GM power, and yet how long could Bowlen continue to give him unbridled power when his personnel decisions for the last 10 years have been so poor?

Great coaching doesn't make up for a lack of talent in this league. It can take mediocre talent and make it good, but it can't win a championship with bad talent and this defense had bad talent.

Shanahan's drafting and FA hiring decisions on defense have been largely failures for 10 years now. From Paul Toviesi to Terry Pierce, to Jarvis Moss and Tim Crowder, there are just too few success stories. In the end no offense could hope to compete with such a wretched defense giving up over 30 points a game.

Worse, the core of players is simply lacking on defense. Who on that defense is a player of the future?

Champ Bailey is over 30.

Nobody else is close to a pro-bowl player nor do any of the young players look like they will ever get there.

The Broncos literally need about 8 new starters on Defense and it's going to take several years to get to the point where they can compete defensively with the top teams in the league.

And that will require hiring a top line GM -- something that was impossible when Shanahan was in power.

gahnawal
12-31-2008, 02:30 PM
That is the worst thing Bowlen could have done. Who is he going to hire? Wade Phillips? Grow a brain Bowlen. This is the best coach this team has ever had. Nowwhere to go but down from here.

Dean
12-31-2008, 03:09 PM
Good article!

Apparently it was never in the cards for Shanahan to surrender his GM power, and yet how long could Bowlen continue to give him unbridled power when his personnel decisions for the last 10 years have been so poor?

Great coaching doesn't make up for a lack of talent in this league. It can take mediocre talent and make it good, but it can't win a championship with bad talent and this defense had bad talent.

Shanahan's drafting and FA hiring decisions on defense have been largely failures for 10 years now. From Paul Toviesi to Terry Pierce, to Jarvis Moss and Tim Crowder, there are just too few success stories. In the end no offense could hope to compete with such a wretched defense giving up over 30 points a game.

Worse, the core of players is simply lacking on defense. Who on that defense is a player of the future?

Champ Bailey is over 30.

Nobody else is close to a pro-bowl player nor do any of the young players look like they will ever get there.

The Broncos literally need about 8 new starters on Defense and it's going to take several years to get to the point where they can compete defensively with the top teams in the league.

And that will require hiring a top line GM -- something that was impossible when Shanahan was in power.


Evidently you though the last three drafts were poor. I wish you would explain that. IMO they were as good as any team in the NFL.

G_Money
12-31-2008, 03:18 PM
It didn't look to me like he said the last few drafts were poor. He said we hadn't drafted or signed any defensive Pro-Bowlers in the last 3 years, and were poor overall in defensive additions over the last decade.

I'd agree with that. If you really want a list of all the defenders that have rotated through here in the last decade, let me know and I'll put one together.

Could be enlightening.

In the last 3 drafts Shanahan has added two OTs, an OG (maybe two if Kory works out), a TE, two WRs, and a QB to the starting lineup. That's damn fine work.

And yet in FA, trades and the draft there hasn't been a single notable addition to the D. Not one. Maybe we lucked into Woodyard as a UDFA. Maybe Thomas can play in a different scheme.

Maybe.

And that's what Cugel was saying - IMO. ;)

~G

CoachChaz
12-31-2008, 03:23 PM
That is the worst thing Bowlen could have done. Who is he going to hire? Wade Phillips? Grow a brain Bowlen. This is the best coach this team has ever had. Nowwhere to go but down from here.

Just like Chuck Noll was the best coach the Steelers ever had. Unless I've been asleep and dreaming for a few years, Cowher and Tomlin havent exactly driven that franchise into the ground. Can we please wait and see what happens before we write the team off as a bottom level franchise after this.

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