Posted Tue Sep 8th by Ian Henson
When in doubt regarding the purchase of a supposedly authentic piece of art, one is forced to ask questions regarding the piece’s provenance… Who has owned the piece before, where did it come from, can we trace it all the way back to the originator? Is there a piece missing, is it a sham? An authentic? Is the former owner reputable, is the current owner reputable? This exploration is called the ‘provenance’ of a piece.
The National Football League, modern era– only winning is tolerated, and football is perennially at the top of the ratings game. Is there anywhere else that these corporations in the US and overseas are willing to pay two to four-million dollars for thirty seconds of commercial time? Not specifically, no. So where do we get off as fans accepting anything less? In Denver specifically, Mike Shanahan’s time had passed, so here’s what the Denver Broncos’ Pat Bowlen did, he brought in the new Shanahan. This new guy? Yeah, his job is to win now, the quarterback under the Shanahan regime wasn’t as concerned with winning as he was about an offense’s reputation. So the regime in Denver made an example of him and gave a giant Mile High Salute on his way out.
So, we’re left with tens of thousands of Bronco fans wandering the earth, begging, nay- wishing they still had that orange tinted blindness. Those colored glasses had shattered simultaneously as that franchise quarterback was traded for two firsts, a third and a no-name former fourth rounder from Purdue.
I’d penned then and I let everyone know that I’d gotten my lasik earlier this off-season. I am high as ever and I’m not planning on coming down. When current Broncos General Manager Brian Xanders and Shanahan’s replacement Josh McDaniels gave up the Bronc’s first round in 2010 for Alphonso Smith in the second round, they were making the boldest of statements, ‘It’s now or never Denver town…’ Three months later Sports Illustrated‘s Peter King would choose the Chicago Bears (whose pick Denver had retained in 2010 and had traded Cutler to) to go to the Super Bowl. Yet, in my gut I have a feeling after this season the price of McDaniels’ rookie card isn’t coming down.
There has been constant talk of the Bill Belichick tree and how unsuccessful the offspring has been consistently. With the exception of one who went to the college level, none of Belichick’s offspring have been from the offensive side of things. Yes, there is no denying that Belichick is a mastermind, hell even McDaniels has been reminded several times this off-season (remember my Chin Check article?). Can a student ever surpass the teacher? Do you remember when Shanahan beat Dan Reeves in the Super Bowl?
“There are things we will do that other teams have never done,” McDaniels stated prior to training camp. That quote has stuck in my mind since I first heard it. Why? Because this is a man responsible for not only Tom Brady throwing for more touchdowns in one season than any other quarterback in history, but also was at the offensive helms for the only team to ever go 16-0 in the regular season (or 18-0, if you want to be a wise guy and include playoffs). A man with all of that provenance, a man who led a no-name quarterback in Matt Cassel to a 11-5 record last season is now stating that here in Denver the Broncos will do things that have never been done. Before. In history.
You can already see it, amongst the Brady accolades I listed above, he also holds the highest ever completion percentage for a single game (26/28, 92.6%). Now with all of the horrible things that you can say about Cutler’s replacement Kyle Orton, you can’t deny that he completes passes (he just had one preseason game where three of them were to another team)… We’re already starting to see McDaniels bloody hand prints molding this offense.
“All I can tell you is I’ve never been a part of a losing season in my life — not when I started playing in the seventh grade, not in high school, not in college, not at Michigan State, not in all my years in New England. I don’t want to put a cap on what we’re going to do,” Got it yet? I’m guessing no. The man doesn’t know how to lose, it doesn’t make sense to him… Why lose when winning is so easy?
Yeah, Denver could have had Steve Spagnuolo and you know what? Our defense would have been better probably, we’d probably even still have Cutler and Offensive Coordinator Jeremy Bates, but would we have been better off? Do you think that the St. Louis Rams (or the Southern California Trojans for that matter) are any better off this season? Bowlen tries to do it right the first time and last time he had a defensive coach at the helms he got burned bad. Mr. Bowlen understands that defense doesn’t win championships, incredible offenses do. Look at the Indianapolis Colts.
It takes one to know one and McDaniels has got it bad, I promise you, that in the time that it’s taken you to read this essay he’s accomplished more than you will in your entire week.
“You can’t judge teams on the basis of last year. Schedule strength is a hoax. Coaches, players, owners change. There are so many variables,” McDaniels uttered to the Denver Post’s Woody Paige. You want my take? No one’s going to, no one is giving the Broncos credit, never mind that with Cutler as the starter at quarterback the Broncos went 8-8 and 7-9, matter of fact Paige himself predicted 4-12 this season… Well you know what? Paige is a dick and so are you if you think that this year will not be the Broncos best season in the last three seasons.
Signing McDaniels as the head coach in Denver may very well have been Bowlen’s best decision ever as the owner of the Broncos, his parting shot, his swan song. The similarities to Shanahan are scary- groomed under the greatest head coach currently coaching, an offensive mastermind and noted as being too young to take on a head coaching job. Yet when Shanahan was hired Bronco fans had suffered a season with Wade Phillips as the head coach, so they were aching for Shanahan. Only this time Bowlen didn’t need to hire Spanuolo first to prove that he needed McDaniels instead.
I look forward to this Sunday and every Sunday/Monday/Thursday afterwords, because in this league you just need to realize that every man in this room is one play away from replacing you. However my favorite expatriate has at least at least a little while before those words are going to be prevalent. Nation? Support!