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Published on 03/20/2008 at Thu Mar 20 10:25.
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[You're Fired!]
Ted Sundquist is gone. And filling in some of his responsibilities will be Joe Ellis — the Broncos’ COO (Chief Operating Officer).

Joey, let me give you a very unofficial early review of your job performance thus far…

You suck.

Axing Andrew Mason… bad call. VERY bad call.

Maybe you don’t own a computer or you’re a technophobe. It would have to be one of those two, as this decision was obviously made by someone who hasn’t been to the broncos website, blog pages or forums and has no idea what Andrew Mason has created and maintained among fans around the world.

Andrew Mason has not only run one of the top 10 NFL websites (according to hits), he has also created an incredible web community of Denver fans. He did more for your organization than 50 other staffers combined, because he connected with and communicated with tens of thousand of people each year. Mason’s coverage of our team was the envy of the league. Fan’s of other teams hate us for the type of total coverage Andrew provided while they got almost nothing on their team’s site.

This move further demonstrates the total disconnect your front office has with it’s fans.

And I do not buy into the notion that Andrew Mason’s salary was in some way impacting your fiscal budget. Did you really think anyone is going to buy that load of crap? I guess your Director of Media Relations (Paul Kirk) could have warned you that this wasn’t a wise move, but since you also fired him today he probably wasn’t in a mood to help ya out much.

This all brings me to my most important point, Joe… Who the heck can you bring in that could do half the job Mason did?

Answer? …?

Yeah, you’ll probably have to think about that one for a bit… um, and that calculator won’t help you with this one. As it turns out, fans are totally into this thing call loyalty.

  • rcsodak

    oh, waaaaaaa. How is life in the NFL ANY different than life in the real world? Layoffs happen everywhere else. The NFL isn’t reclusive of monetary woes. It’s nice that you are such a diligent backer, and I liked Mason, but get over your little tizzy. You sound like a soccer mom who’s kid always rides the bench!

  • http://broncotalk.net Kyle

    Both Jonathan and I knew Mason through the blog. He was very gracious to both of us, so we’re taking this news hard. Frankly I’m pissed too.

    Trying to generate positive PR is hard after releasing half the staff, and then the heads of PR in media relations and the web. WTF is going on in Dover Volley?

  • http://www.broncotalk.net Jonathan Douglas

    lol. Thanks, rcsodak, sometimes I do tend to rant a bit. Heck, that’s why I started to blog about the broncos!

    But, as you pointed out, while I feel like this firing was more personal than many football-related cuts, it’s good to remember things in perspective. And the truth of the matter is that Andrew’s firing won’t effect the team that Mike puts on the field next year (even if it costs us fans a lot of great behind the scenes info on players and coaches).

    I still don’t agree that cutting marketing is a good move for any business… I might even go as far as to say that it is a desperate one. With all the heat the organization is taking from the media, I agree with Kyle, that the denverbroncos website and Mason’s blog were about the only places they were getting positive news out to the masses. Now that avenue is also gone.

    Also, I work full-time doing marketing. So, I guess I have a personal issue with job cuts happening to any marketing department. :)

  • r8rh8r

    This post is really derogatory considering that you have no financial or strategic understanding of this decision. Sometimes you have a great employee and it still makes sense for your organization to trim those jobs. I’m sure Joe Ellis didn’t feel excited about firing employees who’d been with the Broncos organization long term–who does?

    As a blogger, I hold you to a higher ethical standard than some random person off the street. In this case, I think your overreacting.

    For the record, the Broncos eliminated a number of positions today. Nobody got fired. These are layoffs. We are in the middle of one of the worst recessions in U.S. history. Get used to it.

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  • http://merlinofchaos.livejournal.com E. Halsey Miles

    I’ve been trying to find a way to put into words how I feel about Mason being let go. Don’t let people fool you — a layoff is a firing; it just has a lot less to do with how you did your job.

    It tells me that the financial crunch at Dove Valley is a whole lot worse than I thought it was. But it does have me curious. Jonathan’s right — when you’re in a financial crunch, you don’t usually start by axing people in marketing. Marketing’s job is to go out there and sell your product. And yes, a proper NFL franchise basically sells itself, but public relations can be a big deal.

    This particular layoff won’t affect the team the field next year…but I have a feeling a lot of internal things we can’t see will.

    I had a lot of personal respect for Mason; I’ve been following him for several years now, and he’s had a great influence in how I follow the game and his tidbits gave great insight into parts of the game that is hard to see through the regular media. Yes, by his very nature everything he wrote was total homeboyism. I didn’t mind that one bit; I was more interested in the insider view. Sure, he wasn’t going to write about the negative side but he didn’t spend a lot of time spinning things either; mostly he just refused to talk about the negatives and talked about the positives. I dug that.

    I will miss Mason a great deal, and his — and everyone else’s that I didn’t know — dismissal leaves me concerned, at the least, for what else is going to go on this offseason.

  • http://broncosdraft.wordpress.com Christopher Hart

    RC, you would say something that classless — but then again; that’s how we’ve come to know you.

  • http://www.broncotalk.net Jonathan Douglas

    r8rh8r,

    I admitted to ranted a bit (probably went over the top with the ‘you suck’ line). And as it related to Joe Ellis — I formally appologize for using him in this post as a device to illustrate my point. I think we all know who really pulls the trigger in Denver. And I’m sure Ellis was just following orders. I most certainly don’t think these firings were his idea.

    However, I honestly don’t think I need to have any detailed financial understanding of the Broncos front office to know that Andrew Mason’s salary is not going to be enough money saved to, say, score us a quality defensive lineman. My point was very much what Kyle and Earl restated — when your business hits a rough spot, it’s usually a mistake to remove your most effective marketing/PR people (even if that seems like a great money-saving move at the time).

    I think most successful business executives would agree with me on that point.

  • r8rh8r

    I think that the market-by-blogging strategy is disappearing from most major media organizations. Here is an insightful post by Mark Cuban which illuminates the strategic pitfalls of blogging:

    http://www.blogmaverick.com/2008/03/13/blogging-and-newspapers-a-lesson-in-how-not-to-brand-and-market/

    From a business standpoint, it is impossible to sustain a competitive advantage publishing something that is in no way distinctive; it not a defensible product because the barriers to entry are nothing and the content at a sight like this isn’t necessarily worse.

    That being said, I have been subscribed to Mason’s blog for a while and I think he’s one of the better guys out there.

  • http://www.broncotalk.net Jonathan Douglas

    Is this the same Mark Cuban that thought we would all race to purchase DVD’s and on-demand cable versions of theatrical movies on their opening weekend? He tried that business/marketing model with his theatres, DVD company and cable provider… it failed.. badly.

    No offense, but I don’t look to Mark Cuban has my source on cutting edge business marketing any longer. Not to mention, that article is overflowing with his trademark arrogance. I just think Mark is a condescending ego maniac that believes his media knowledge is god-like and would be completely stunned to hear anyone defy his divinely inspired musings.

    oh… did I mention I have some strong negative feeling about Mr. Cuban that I probably need to work out with a shrink? :)

    As to your comments, I do appreciate your thoughts on this subject. I agree, in part, that blogging will need to continue to evolve in order to keep itself viable as a marketing tool for businesses. However, I think that debate doesn’t qualify here, as every NFL team has a website and blogs. Denver is not dropping this service to my knowledge, which means they are letting a fantastic employee go, only to replace him with what? A cheaper version? How much could we be talking about saving with a move like that? And at what cost to the quality of their web presence?

    That was my point, anyway…

    I’m probably not qualified to intelligently argue the future relevance of blogging as a commercial marketing tool. I’m only doing this to provide me a place to ramble on about my thoughts and feelings in a format that allows interesting feedback and discussions – sort of like this one!

    Thanks for your comments! :)

  • r8rh8r

    Say what you will about Cuban, the stuff he’s talking about is textbook business strategy. Let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water. Blogging is a loser for media organizations. If they don’t have something distinctive to offer their readers then they will fight a war of attrition until they’re out of money.

    If Denver is, in fact, hemmoraging money right now, as many have suggested. It doesn’t surprise me that a non-core website amenity like blogging would be the first thing on the chopping block.

    I would like for Mason to let us know if/where he’s going to maintain his blog.

  • r8rh8r

    I’m guessing Broncos.com is either significantly scaling down its blogging or getting out of blogging altogether. You’re right, it doesn’t make sense that they’d let a quality guy go unless they couldn’t keep him occupied full time in their new business plan.

    Honestly, if you think about it, between the Denver Post, RMT, Broncos.com, and every other novice blogger out there, what are they gaining and who’s the competition? Is their content any better than yours? Minimally so, if at all.

  • http://www.broncotalk.net Jonathan Douglas

    Well, I certainly appreciate the compliment. Kyle, Earl, Josh and I all work very hard to bring the latest bronco news as well as a healthy dose of our opinions to our readers.

    I feel very lucky to be working with this group of guys and I hope you’ll see much more of our positive, upbeat blogging as we dive deeper in the draft, OTA days and Camp.

    For us, I believe that’s our strength (our ‘voice’ if you will) at BT. We are eternally looking for the positives within our players and team. And, although any one of us can dip (as I have done in this post) into the negative side of things, we always return to how our team can come out stronger and better in the end. We are unashamedly fanboys, and I think that’s a key reason other fans are interested in reading and commenting on our site. Ironically, I think that was the main reason most readers found Andrew Mason’s website and blog so appealing.

    As Kyle once explained to a commenter who called him a homer: “Heck, yeah, I’m a homer! That’s why I’m running a fan site.”

    Well said… well said. :)