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Broncos Fire Shanahan

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It’s all over the internet already, but in case you haven’t heard, the Denver Broncos fired coach Mike Shanahan today (here’s the Denver Post story).

My response? WOOHOO!!! Maybe I can learn to like the Broncos again!

Written by Tracy

December 30th, 2008 at 4:51 pm

Dear Shanny

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Dear Shanny,

It’s obvious you’re having a hard time this year. We’re all having a hard time in Denver right now, especially the fans who rallied around the Rockies and keep trying to get excited about a disappointing Broncos team.

The 3-4 record isn’t making it easy for us. It doesn’t help that a bunch of second-graders playing Red Rover could do a better job of stopping the run, or that a wide receiver with a T.O.-sized ego yelled at us for leaving a shitty game during shitty weather (good thing Brandon Marshall had enough time between arrests to criticize the fans).

For now, though, let’s talk about our quarterback situation. Shanny, you made us think that as soon as the dashing young Jay Cutler took over, our days would be nothing but sunshine and happiness. Jay Cutler is the perfect man to take us to the one place Jake Plummer couldn’t.

Things just haven’t been the same since things with Jake went sour. After almost four good years together, you gave him the ultimatum — get me to the Super Bowl chapel, or else. Most coaches would’ve been happy with a quarterback who went 39-15, with an 83.7 QB rating.¹ But you weren’t satisfied with a good, everyday QB. You wanted the hardware, the big rock of Lombardi love. Of course, it’s understandable that you were so anxious, what with all the pressure from friends, family, and the people of Denver, who want every QB to be Elway and every year to end in a championship.

Sometimes, though, Shanny, you need to be patient. Just because Jake Plummer ran a little wild, suffered a bout of road rage, shacked up with a cheerleader, and couldn’t get to the big game doesn’t mean you should’ve dumped him when you did. It also doesn’t mean that Jay Cutler will do the same. He’s a smart kid with a great arm. He won’t hurt you like you think Jake did, but you just have to trust him.

Let’s call 2007 what it is: a rebuilding year. You’re not going all the way this year. It’s okay. The only fans who don’t realize that are the ones who can’t tell their ass from their head and have been pounding ‘em back at the Stumble Inn since dawn. Sure we’re disappointed. We expect greatness, and we really wanted greatness because we’re still hurting over Darrent Williams and Damien Nash. Still, we know that right now, you can’t give us greatness.

But Shanny, what you can give us is some serious, thoughtful effort. Stop taking sloppy seconds from other teams and shoving them into the roster expecting instant results. Stop calling plays that make Antonin Scalia look liberal. As Mark Kiszla said in today’s column, you’re losing your play-calling nerve.

Why are you so afraid? Is it “creeping, middle-age conservatism” as Kiszla suggests? Do you consider your players as nothing more than chess pieces, dependent on you to make every move for them? Are you afraid of having your heart broken again? Is the magic gone between you and football in general?

The truth is that it’s not going to get much worse than 5-7 (the team’s post-Cutler record) if you make some changes. Stop deluding yourself that this team has any chance of seeing the post season and that you can control everything. Give the guys some freedom. You might not win games, but hell, you’re not winning games now. You need to let the players who are the future of the Broncos develop the skill and the confidence they’ll need to get anywhere in the AFC. If Broncos players are going to be anything more than pawns in your tired game, they need freedom. If you can’t give us good, at least give us interesting. Give us hope.

Shanny, it’s time to get outside and relax in this beautiful fall weather. Have a beer. Maybe take in a game of handball with Jake Plummer or spend a little time inhaling around Travis Henry. Think up some new plays. Ease up on the team and let them go do their thing. Let go. If they really love you, they just might score a few touchdowns.


1. Statistics compiled from CBS Sports.

Written by Tracy

October 30th, 2007 at 3:19 pm