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Published on 12/31/2010 at Fri Dec 31 17:06.
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Another year has come and gone at Dove Valley. 2010 was a year of change in Denver — it’s something Broncos fans have been hearing for years, but just think and marvel on how very different this team is from the group that started the year 364 days ago. New coach. New quarterback (it is assumed), and more changes from top to bottom on the near horizon. It was a chaotic year filled with controversy, hope, disappointment, and tragedy. Here is our list of the Top 10 Stories that defined the Denver Broncos in 2010, Part One: 10-6. (View 1-5).

Denver Broncos Coach Josh McDaniels talks with defensive coordinator Mike Nolan during practice at Broncos Training Camp on Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2009, at Dove Valley. (John Leyba, The Denver Post)

Denver Broncos Coach Josh McDaniels talks with defensive coordinator Mike Nolan during practice at Broncos Training Camp on Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2009, at Dove Valley. (John Leyba, The Denver Post)

10. Mike Nolan bids Broncos adieu

Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan‘s unexpected departure in January left the Broncos with a big hole to fill. No one knows all of the details, but the promise of the Broncos’ hot 6-0 start under Josh McDaniels in 2009 was largely led by Nolan’s stifling defense. It was a shame — a mysterious, devastating shame — Nolan and McDaniels couldn’t find a way to work together and improve in 2010. To make matters worse, Nolan wasn’t alone — running backs coach Bobby Turner, who held that position for 15 years, and offensive line coach Rick Dennison left the Broncos in January to coach elsewhere.

9. Spygate II

Josh McDaniels playing cricket in London (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Josh McDaniels playing cricket in London (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

“Someone needs to point out that not only are the Denver Broncos going the wrong directing as an organization, they’re about to lap themselves.” Days after the team’s lackluster London loss to the San Francisco 49ers, it was revealed that Broncos director of video operations Steve Scarnecchia had violated NFL policy when he videotaped a portion of the 49ers’ pregame walkthrough. It was required of McDaniels to report the incident when he found out, but he didn’t. That’s where the former head coach’s involvement in the scandal began and ended — we’re told the tapes were never used to the Broncos’ advantage — but it was more than enough for the NFL to hit both he and the Broncos with $50,000 fines each and ultimately contributed to owner Pat Bowlen‘s decision to let McDaniels go.

Brandon Marshall

8. Brandon Marshall traded

Not since Jay Cutler had the Broncos experienced such a polarizing player. (Okay, that’s not a very long time, but Marshall’s exodus from Denver was significant nonetheless.) Marshall’s tenure in Denver was dramatic, controversial, and tumultuous, and the off-field issues ultimately became too high a price for his on-field productivity. We would have ranked the departure of this Broncos star higher, but Denver received a small fortune (two 2nd round draft picks) from the Miami Dolphins, and Marshall’s absence on the field was hardly felt in 2010 (see WR Brandon Lloyd, Pro Bowler). So long, Beast.

7. Elvis Dumervil’s season ends before it begins

A pectoral tear in training camp would deny the NFL’s 2009 sack king the opportunity to defend his crown. The impact of Dumervil’s injury would be felt by the Broncos all season long.

Quarterback Kyle Orton #8 of the Denver Broncos greets his teammates as they enter the field to face the Kansas City Chiefs at INVESCO Field at Mile High on November 14, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Chiefs 49-29.  (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Quarterback Kyle Orton #8 of the Denver Broncos greets his teammates as they enter the field to face the Kansas City Chiefs at INVESCO Field at Mile High on November 14, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Chiefs 49-29. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

6. Kyle Orton quietly plays up to his contract

If Kyle Orton had ever been a Broncos’ first round draft pick, one wonders how differently he would be considered among the Denver fanbase. To start the season, the unappreciated #8 was on pace to smash franchise passing yardage records and was even threatening NFL marks. However, he wasn’t able to execute when it counted most — on game-winning drives, or on third downs, and (fairly or not), a brunt of the blame for the Broncos’ lack of success in 2010 was placed on Orton’s shoulders. A rib injury put rookie Tim Tebow on the field for the Broncos’ last three games, and after last week’s thrilling comeback victory, it’s seriously doubtful Orton will ever see the field in a Broncos uniform again. The Broncos extended Orton’s contract through 2011, and Orton proved he had earned it — but, in all likelihood, he’ll be cashing checks made from another team following a trade in the offseason.

Check back for our conclusion of the Top 10 Stories of 2010 in 2011… tomorrow, that is. (UPDATE: here you go). Have a happy and safe New Year everyone, and go Broncos!

  • Joshua Manning

    Let me guess what #1 is……….. is it Josh McD being fired on Dec. 6th or the 59-14 blow-out against the Raiders? One of the two choices I bet. BTW, Sypgate II should rank a lot higher than #9 IMO.

  • TheTroglodyte

    Good stuff. Happy New Year Kyle!

  • Fan From Spain

    HNY all and RIP D.Williams (4 years already)

  • 5280

    i think Nolan leaving should be higher. i think marshall leaving should be higher. especially becasue he has one thing that lloyd doesn't. he can take one play from any where on the field and turn it in to a TD. he scores more hands down. and thats what ultimately killed us this season. not scoring, especially when the game is on the line and not even brandon lloyds miracle season can change that. sure he can make unbelievable catches that make u say “how in the hell did he do that.” but marshall could take a 5 yard screen pass from the 20 and turn it into 6. to me thats more important. Orton should be #10 or not on the list. numbers obviously dont mean anything when u cant score or win. hes very intelligent but he has no balls. when its 3rd and 7 in the 4th with 1:15 left he turns into a weeny. thats probably why he didnt make the pro bowl. at least i didnt see him on the roster. maybe one of u guys did.

    dums gotta be WAY higher. he is one of the biggest reasons if not the biggest reason(next to nolan leaving) the Defence sucked all year. no preasure. but i guess having only one guy that can bring the kind of preasure he can is also a concern especially when we let a gazillion go in the draft(orakpo, alu alu, maualuga, pierre-paul, cory mathews etc.) and in free agency(julius peppers, kyle vanden bosche etc.). i am greatful that we have Tebow, no dout. and i also thing decker and thomas will become some of the nfl's elite recievers. but those type of players are plentifull in every draft. if mcd would have draft defence he could of had his pick this year of some very fine offencive athletes(alshawn jefferys, julio jones, maybe cam newton depending on the draft order). he scrapped a defence with a very high potential just because he wanted to enforce his “extensive offencive playbook” right away.

    i dont find spygate to be very legit at all really. ya it was a piece of what got him fired but it definitely wasn't the whole cookie. behlichick did the same thing and got a slap on the hand for it. he still ended up with the 7th pick overall in the draft even though he wasn't supposed to get a 1st rounder cuz he traded up. in my opinion behlichick and the whole pats organization shoulda been stripped of at least on ring for that bullshit. it was straight up cheating in a superbowl! if nobody gave a shit about behlichick doing it then why was it such a big deal when mcd did it when he was 3-7 and no where near the super bowl?

    i think u should replace spygate with martindale as DC for number 9 cuz that was a bone head move. wink couldn't defencivly coordinate through a game of badmitten let alone a football game. he has ABSOLUTLEY NO experience at all with it.

    and im sorry to say but either knowshon moreno or the whole running game in general has to be in place of orton at number 6. we are a 4-11 team. why all the optimism in this list? the running game is probably why orton had trouble in the 4th quarter. the lack of a running game totally destroyed our chances in every second half this year.

  • troyn

    Sorry, but I couldn't disagree more about the Brandons. Yeah, Marshall would tease with his ability to break tackles, but Lloyd's season this year was better than any season Marshall ever had. Lloyd scores TD's and doesn't drop the ball. He is also a much better deep threat than Marshall. Marshall is a possesion receiver who doesn't get in the end zone very often for someone his size, plus he drops way too many passes and has a penchant for fumbling (not to mention the off the field stuff).

  • mikebirty

    5 trading Hillis
    4 losing to the raiders
    3 McD being fired
    2 drafting TT
    1 Kenny McKinnley

  • NMBronc

    #2 is losing Champ because we did not resign him, which makes our Def even worse.

    This is, unfortuantely, a how to guide for destroying a team.

  • MiamiMike

    Brandon Loyd stats this year:
    010 29 DEN 84 15 72REC 1375YDS 19.1ypc 10TDs 71LONGREC 4.8 91.7

    Brandon Marshall
    2009* 25 DEN WR 15 15 13 101REC 1120YDS 11.1YPC 10 TDS 0 9

    If you look at TD's TOTAL yards and yards per catch you will see Brandon Marshall was not our issue. Brandon Loyd had SAME TD's this year as Marshall had his last year. in 2008 Marshall had 6 TDS ONLY so lets not get caught up in the highlight catches Marshall made and lets remember his actual stats.
    With this came his 11 plus issues off the field. He is one infraction away from a multiple game suspension as well. Sooner or later he will have issues off the field. Loyd has been a team player who put up same if not better stats. Lets get over the Marshall trade and look at just maybe our defense is a FAR BIGGER ISSUE THAN MARSHALL BEING TRADED.

  • Kyle

    Thanks, you too Trog!

  • Kyle

    I will say both are in 5-1…

  • Kyle

    That'll be a story for 2011. We still have time to see how that plays out.

  • Kyle

    birty, do we share a brain??! That's pretty stinking close.

  • Kyle

    New Years will never be the same again for Broncos fans. RIP DWill.

  • mikebirty

    I still think me going to my first Bronco game and high-fiving John Elway was the #1 story!

  • NMBronc

    Finally, something positive!

  • NMBronc

    Fair enough. Thanks, Kyle, for hosting the site in 2010.

  • areferee

    Thanks K-Man for a great, if controversial 2010. If your part 1 is any indication, 2011 will be another great year. Thanks for all your hard work and that of all the BT guys. I wish you all a Happy New Year.

    The same goes to all the members of this site that keep things stimulating and interesting. I won't mention any names, because there are many bloggers here that are worthy of the Broncos' heritage of excellence and energetic sports. Thanks to you all and have another great year.

    OK, I'll mention “The Monkey-Man”, my favorite Neanderthal Primate. We both seem to have the same Simian forehead, hardened by years of frustration watching this team trying to bash itself in the skull every year.

  • areferee

    That's the beauty and the fun of this Website. Dissecting the Broncos is not an exact science and there is always room for debate and input from its fans on what is best, what works and what doesn't, who sucks and who blows etc. And then there's Kerry. :-)

  • crazykid

    there are lots of factual errors in this post. the patriots already had 2 first round picks, and theirs (#31) got taken away, leaving one. Behlichick didnt trade up to get that pick.

    And the Spygate occured in the first game against the Jets, not in the SuperBowl. lol that was the only game they lost, so i doubt they cheated in it.

  • 5280

    lol its funny how most people picked out the marshall section to discuss. #1. the difference between marshall and lloyd is that marshall is like ten times younger and only in his what 5th year where as lloyd is going on his 9th and he's JUST NOW pulling the kind of numbers marshall is showing in only his 5th season. Those were marshalls stats for 2009. you r forgetting that that was his 4th season with over 100 catches and 1000 yards. if he would have stayed here and developed he would have been even better this season. and also lloyd has had a slew of problems with other teams. every team he was with couldn't stand him. he's been with at least 3 other teams. if josh could put up with him and turn him around why couldn't he with marshall? its because it wasn't marshall being difficult in the 1st place. it was mcd and his OCD lol. with marshalls numbers in 09' if he would have stayed he would have either at least equalled lloyd numbers or he would have done better especially with the way orton played.

    #2 THE PATRIOTS STARTED OUT WITH THE 7TH PICK IN THE DRAFT! spygate was exposed at the beginning of that undefeated season by the jets yes, but steve spagnolo who was a coordinator with the rams when they lost the superbowl to the pats in '01 is the person who pushed it to punishment by the league cuz he said he had video tapes of his team practicing for the superbowl that were taken by behlichicks personnel. he showed them to the league and the league enforced punishment. he said he knew of more videotapes of other teams practicing but that he couldn't get them. several other coaches stepped forward and said they knew he was doing it. go find the info. its out there. the pats should have been stripped of a ring and they should have lost their whole draft board. they just got a slap on the wrist. admitt it. the nfl along with most other leagues is a popularity contest. a beauty pagent. being bronco fans you all should agree with this. the broncos are one of the most if not the most underappreciated franchises in the league.

    side note: be easy on me if u want to reply. i understand u all love ur broncos but these r just opinions pushed by what ive read :) they r my broncos too.

  • aqua

    thank you so much~!^^

  • Houston Home Security

    It's seems that there is no sport  adapting  to me.

  • Houston Home Security

    It's seems that there is no sport  adapting  to me.

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