Vail Daily’s view: Sadly, it’s time for Shanahan to go
Vail, CO, Colorado
There aren’t a lot of true surprises in professional sports. But Tuesday’s firing of Denver Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan comes close.
Team owner Pat Bowlen has said time and again over the years that Shanahan could coach the Broncos as long as he wanted to. In the end, though, losing a three-game division lead with just three games to play was apparently enough for Bowlen, whose own competitive fires burn hot.
Shanahan fans wonder, rightly, who Bowlen can hire to replace one of pro football’s most inventive offensive minds. But Shanahan’s detractors were jumping early and often on the Denver newspaper Web sites’ message boards saying, in essence, “about stinkin’ time.”
The sad fact of the matter is that since a remarkable three-season run early in Shanahan’s tenure ” a run in which Denver lost 10 games that counted and two championships ” the team has been decidedly average, and won but a single playoff game in a 10-year span. Shanahan’s genius at the chalkboard also didn’t transfer to personnel decisions, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
At what point does genius get old? In Miami, Don Shula coached the Dolphins for 20-plus years after winning two Super Bowls. Pittsburgh Steelers coach Chuck Noll ran the team for more than a decade after the last of his unprecedented four Super Bowl wins.
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At some point, even the best coaches’ magic fades, and the answer to “give me one more year” becomes “sorry, but no.”
We’re sure we speak for Broncos fans everywhere in thanking Shanahan for the Super Bowl wins and some exciting seasons since. In the end, though, it’s probably best for the team to start anew.