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December 30, 2008 7:45 PM

Shanahan's final exit


So Long Shanny
One thing we can say for sure, it's never boring around here. News that Shanahan had been fired was nothing less than stunning. It's probably been a long time coming and changes were necessary, but who would've figured this? Feel free to comment away.

More Shanny stuff to view
Be sure to check back later today online. We'll have a look back at Shanahan slide show full of some of my favorite Mastermind cartoons. And over New Years we'll have another slide shoe featuring YOUR favorite cartoons of 2008 selected by all of you. Thanks for reading and voting. Happy New Year! And, is it just me, or are you as glad to get 2008 in the rear view mirror as I am?


  • December 30, 2008

    8:26 PM

    WorkingClassHero writes:

    Hi everyone.

    My Christmas gift to all was me staying totally silent since the Bills game. I just cannot stand it any longer though. This news was too much for me to not comment.

    Shall I say I told you so? Shall I?

    I mean, seriously. Did anyone really expect Bowlen to put up with a decade of this and not do something? Shanahan did nothing at all for 10 years. The only shocking thing about his firing is that it didn't happen earlier. Someone got into Bowlen's ear and convinced him to pull the trigger. And it's about time.

    Bye Shanny. Oh, and Mr. Cutler...you're next, Sir. You will not be the starting quarterback for the Broncos very much longer, if ever again. You complain to the refs. You complain to your receivers even after you sky the ball so high where they couldn't possibly catch it. You tell the press that you're not pleased with your team owner telling your coach to hit the road. You blame everyone except yourself. You, Mr. Cutler have a major ego problem. That might have flown with Mike Shanahan, but trust in the fact that it will not fly with whomever your new coach will be. If you think for a moment that anyone else but Shanny will put up with your crybaby antics and your determination to throw into triple coverage in the red zone and fumble the ball the way you do, then you are as stoned as you always look on the sidelines.
    Brandon Marshall? You keep up your B.S. and you'll be out of town so fast you won't know what hit you. Just try pulling your ball throwing, glove-hiding crap with a real coach, and you'll be gone.
    Prater? Have a nice life. Hope you enjoyed your stay in the NFL. You aren't allowed to miss 2 extra points back to back, no matter if one was nullified by a penalty.
    It's incredible that so many Bronco fans are shocked by this. You have been in denial so long people. Time to wake up. Snap out of it.

    This is a fine day. The year could not end on a much better note.

    The Broncos grave stone gets delivered.
    The Avalanche finally become the team I always knew they could be.
    And the Nuggets are an aparation. They can't beat a decent team when that team is healthy. They are outclassed and outhustled nightly. The Chauncey Billups "bounce" is gone.
    The Rockies. Well...it's no Holliday any longer, is it?

    It's a wonderful life.

    Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha-ha.

  • December 30, 2008

    9:22 PM

    Goathead writes:

    Brilliant WorkingClassHero, how about we get rid of all of those pro-bowlers? Id10t.

    Is this the right call on Shanahan? Who knows.

    Must be a chargers fan, whining like this. It gets rougher next week baby blue.

  • December 30, 2008

    9:55 PM

    Shadd Ring writes:

    Shanny was a great offensive mastermind and a fantastic coach. He was not a good executive and recruited terrible defense players. Four or five defensive cordinators later it was obvious that it wasn't the coaches it was the terrible players. 90% of the defense shouldn't be starters in the NFL. Bly is overpaid and burned way to much, most of the linebackers stink, and the rush has been nonexistent since the Orange Crush. Look at the Steelers, Ravens, and Titans. All great AFC teams that got where they are with great defense. The end (in my mind) came when Shanny took all those useless Browns players when they played terrible in Cleveland. Shanny also changed direction and went after some suspect character players like(Henry and Clarett to name a few) which lost almost all my respect. Jay Cutler is going to miss him and so will I. Too bad he never learned or supported the defense.

  • December 30, 2008

    10:04 PM

    TrueBlueBroncoFan writes:

    NOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Are you kidding me? Pat Bowlen let the pressure of the stupid restless fans get to him. I would have never thought the day would come when I would read the headlines that I am reading today with his choice to fire Mike Shanahan! He wouldn't even give the coach who has brought us 2 Superbowl championships and has been here for 14 years (21 years all together with the organization) the chance to walk away with dignity.

    We have a young team that needed a little bit of work and experience... Mike was going to get this team there! Regardless of what anyone says on this post, he knew how to run an offense and was no doubt the most inventive & arguably one of the best play callers in the league. He was riddled with injuries this year and was still able to put together a great offense. The problem was defense! But it could have been fixed by another solution. Not firing Mike! Now who exactly are we going to acquire to fill his shoes? He will no doubt find success with another team. Who knows, maybe even the CHIEFS! Ugh!

    To all of you who think that we are much better off now, mark my words... you don't know what you've got till it's gone! You'll see very soon. Sorry to say, but in my opinion this is such a SAD SAD SAD day in Denver Bronco history.

    Thanks for everything you have given us Mike! We will miss you!

  • December 30, 2008

    11:02 PM

    Stuart writes:

    Memo to Jay Cutler:

    Your days are numbered.

  • December 31, 2008

    1:00 AM

    Mark writes:

    Jay Culters days are numbered? And they say the public school system doesn't work. Thanks Genius. Does Mommy know you're playing on her computer?

  • December 31, 2008

    1:25 AM

    Jeff writes:

    Truly a sad day in Broncos country. Working yeah yeah go suck on the chiefs better yet watch as the Chargers get Discharged As much as I hate to say it GO COLTS! Just wait and watch.

  • December 31, 2008

    2:23 AM

    Matt writes:

    This is one of those things that no one wants to see but needs to happen. Shanny is a genius, and by and large one of the best coaches in the NFL, but his front office mistakes at bolstering the offense but essentially neglecting to take a good look into creating a solid defense are unacceptable.

    I know that we all thought he was Bowlen's man through and through, but there's a reason that owners invest in teams--to win--and they will do it at any cost. Shanahan understands where he's coming from and I'm sure it won't end up being an Al Davis-ish relationship. He'll find work easy enough.

    Onto the future though, I think Cutler is the answer for Denver, but his ego and attitude problems need to be addressed first. A new coach with a new plan will hopefully curb that. I was about as surprised to hear the news as when they released Elam last year, but it'll be for the best in the end.

  • December 31, 2008

    4:33 AM

    TulsaBroncoFan writes:


    Guess we all know what you wished for at Christmas. Not all of us are real happy about Shanahan getting the boot. You know...those of us with half a brain. Go away and stay away from the board. you have done nothing but critisize the Broncos all year. You got what you wanted along with all the others without a brain so fade away into the gloom and doom setting you have so eloquently set for yourself.

  • December 31, 2008

    6:54 AM

    David writes:


    Great toon. I think you captured the paradox of the situation perfectly by lashing Shanahan to the two Lombardi trophies. It feels almost as if the Broncos are forcing the next two seasons off that dock as well. Maybe it was a good idea, but I'm not buying it yet.

  • December 31, 2008

    7:40 AM

    dude writes:

    First off, I was out of town yesterday during the announcment and I heard about it right before falling asleep. I have had a little time to think and read and reflect...

    Shanahan, thank you for being the right coach at the right time to get this town two SuperBowls. Thank you for taking the defensive minded Broncos of the Reeves era and adding an offense big enough for Elway to really shine. Thank you for proving that the highest draft picks were not the players and for having the stones to develope the run for the offense (TD, 4th round draft, Bell, Hillis, etc.). Thank you for making the Broncos the offensive powerhouse it can be (on every other Sunday) and the defensive mess it is (except for 2 to 3 games a season).

    WCH- Move out of town. You obviously like sports and appear to have a small amount of knowledge about sports. It is too bad that you have to waste all of our time with your toxic "I hate everything sports in Denver" attitude. Please leave town.

    In the end of the 80's and in to the 90's the Broncos, under another "Genius" Reeves, were pretty strong on defense and made really good choices for defensive players. We also had Elway and we could win close games on the strength of Elways arm and a defense that could as inconsistant as the 08' Broncos offense. We went to, and were embaressed in, 3 superbowls because the defense was a little off but the offense could not get the job done with only one or two players.

    When Shanahan was brought in, NO ONE and I mean NO ONE expected him to improve the defense. Shanny was hired to make the offense what it should be. He left the defnse alone as much as possible and built the offense around Elway that allowed a modicome of domination.

    Shanny had his time. I don't like the decision by Bowlen on this one but hopefully it is the spark that will make the team grow up (Jay), wise up (Brandon), play better (Bly), retire (Bailey) and basically pull heads out of butts and do better. I agree that we may not the playoffs for 5 more years due to this but I think that when we do it will be a stronger, better team that can actually win.

  • December 31, 2008

    8:39 AM

    Another Michael writes:

    To those who are grateful that Shannahan is gone ...

    ...are you really going to be happy with Herm Edwards or Jim Fassel at the helm??

    Exactly how many quality coaches do you think there are in this league??

  • December 31, 2008

    8:51 AM

    Atlanta Mike writes:

    I cannot believe some of the posts I am reading online. There are, at last count, 130 posts that deride Cutler and basically mention that he is next to leave town. Bull. He had over 4000 yards this season, lead the second highest scoring offense in the league and had to play most games from behind. Cutler will bring Denver another Super Bowl, mark my words. The offense is fine and prime to perform. The D is the problem, everybody knows that. This is the reason for the firing. Shanahan, thanks for the great memories, you will be missed. I am not sure, as of yet, if this is the right move or not. There are a few options out there though. Kills me to say it, but how about Brian Billick? I hate the guy but he is proven as a very strong defensive coach. Bill Cowher is also out there, but most likely going to the Jets. But also, he is a strong defensive coach.

    Shanahan came to Denver needing only one more piece to create the ultimate offense. That came in a little known back up to Garrison Hearst from Georgia, drafted in the 6th round. With all the defensive and offensive pieces in order the Broncos were prime to win big time (I still think the '96 team that lost to Jacksonville was the best team). Shany, you have a brilliant offensive mind, but some of the off season moves and drafts are busts.

  • December 31, 2008

    9:16 AM

    Anonymous writes:

    You took the time to read every post online and add up the ones deriding Cutler?

    Are you kidding?


  • December 31, 2008

    10:15 AM

    Morpheus*SFH^* writes:

    Workingclasshero, you are delusional if you think they will get rid of Cutler. He needs a coach to be tough with thim and mature him and he will be a perrenial pro bowl QB.

  • December 31, 2008

    10:44 AM

    AZBroncoFan writes:

    TulsaBroncoFan, you must have ONLY half a brain.
    C'mon, we missed the playoffs for the THIRD year in a row, something that hasn't happened since I was 10!! If you want to continue being mediocre, by all means, we should have kept Shanahan. You must ave something against double digit wins.

    And for all the Cutler lovers. Hey, the Pro Bowl is great, but the SUPER bowl is BETTER....Maybe if he would have hit a wide open Eddie Royal during the Bills game, the press conference today would be about preparing for the Colts. 4-4 record at home this year? Something had to be done. Cutler is Mr. Consistent. Consistently putting up stats, consistently losing games. 11-35 at Vanderbilt, and 17-19 as a Bronco. Jake Plummer lost 19 too, but won 40. Cutler wont go 23-0 to match that, unless it's on Madden 09 and you're playing "Rookie" mode.

  • December 31, 2008

    10:44 AM

    AZBroncoFan writes:

    TulsaBroncoFan, you must have ONLY half a brain.
    C'mon, we missed the playoffs for the THIRD year in a row, something that hasn't happened since I was 10!! If you want to continue being mediocre, by all means, we should have kept Shanahan. You must have something against double digit wins.

    And for all the Cutler lovers. Hey, the Pro Bowl is great, but the SUPER bowl is BETTER....Maybe if he would have hit a wide open Eddie Royal during the Bills game, the press conference today would be about preparing for the Colts. 4-4 record at home this year? Something had to be done. Cutler is Mr. Consistent. Consistently putting up stats, consistently losing games. 11-35 at Vanderbilt, and 17-19 as a Bronco. Jake Plummer lost 19 too, but won 40. Cutler wont go 23-0 to match that, unless it's on Madden 09 and you're playing "Rookie" mode.

  • December 31, 2008

    12:40 PM

    Another Michael writes:

    AZBroncoFan ...

    Since you're interested in comparing Plummer and Cutler:

    Cutler's 1st full year (2007 -- not counting the 5 games he played in 2006):
    - 3497 yards
    - 20 TDs
    - 14 INTs
    - 27 sacks
    - 11 fumbles
    - Record: 7-9

    Plummer's 1st year (1997):
    - 2003 yards
    - 15 TDs
    - 15 INTs
    - 52 sacks
    - 6 fumbles

    Cutler's 2nd year (2008):
    - 4526 yards
    - 25 TDs
    - 18 INTs
    - 11 sacks
    - 5 fumbles

    Plummer's 2nd year (1998):
    - 3737 yards
    - 17 TDs
    - 20 INTs
    - 49 sacks
    - 11 fumbles

    At least you should be able to admit that when you're comparing apples to apples -- Cutler is the better player ... more yards, more TD's less sacks and fumbles in comparison to Plummer's more yardage, slightly more TD's, more INTs, slightly less sacks and almost doubled the number of fumbles...

    Or should we try to get Brian Griese back??

  • December 31, 2008

    1:20 PM

    Dave writes:

    I lived in Denver for 9 years and tho I am a Miami fan through and thought I spent many years secondarily bleeding orange and blue and when I read the news today I came up with this – so a little sadness and a little chuckle

    The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Denver 53 that day;
    The score stood 52 to 21, with but no games left to play,
    And then when Cutler died in the first, and the Rbs did the same,
    A pall-like silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

    A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
    Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
    They thought, "If only Shanny could but get a rally —
    We'd put up even money now, with Shanny at Dove Valley."

    But the playoffs preceded Shanny, as did also the off season,
    And the former was a here, while the latter was next season;
    So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat;
    For there seemed but little chance of Shanny not getting another whack.

    But the pundits believed in the Shanny, to the wonderment of all,
    And Bowlen, the much questions, said Shanny would always make the call;
    And when the dust had lifted, and men saw what had occurred,
    There was the Bolts seeded four, and the Broncos something errored.

    Then from thousands of throats and more there rose a lusty bawl;
    It rumbled through Dove Valley, it rattled in the hall;
    It pounded on the rocky mountains and recoiled upon the flat,
    For Shanny, eternal Shanny, appeared to be getting another whack.

    There was ease in Shanny's manner as he stepped into his place;
    There was pride in Shanny's bearing and a smile lit Shanny's face.
    And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his headset,
    'twas Shanny for another year, of that you coudl surely bet .

    Thousands of eyes were on him as he prepared to speak.
    To assure them he would get right to work again next week.
    The fans did write that had heard this before,
    Shanny is coach for life one thing of which to be sure.

    And now the rumors did come hurtling through the air,
    And Shanny stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
    Off his back did roll the rumors to his aft —
    It will all be better you see once we reach the draft.

    In Bronco land the fans did nod,
    The coach did win before and these Broncos could be reshod;
    Believe in coach Shanny, we do one an all;
    For Shanny is the mastermind, headed for the Hall.

    With a smile of Christian charity great Shanny's visage shone;
    He reveled in the rising faith; for he knew he was not done;
    He signaled to the team, and clearing of the lockers went;
    Coach Shanny knowing here and now, his Elway karma was not yet spent.

    Shanny tell us it will be better, the fan is plead
    But one hopeful look from Shanny was all the fans did need.
    he had been there before and done the deed,
    we believe in you Shanny, you will find the men and fill the need.

    The sneer has fled from Shanny's face, some doubt his name;
    There might be some worry there, can he still win this game.
    As always the Bowlen runs the show, is he not a fervent
    Is it possible now, could it be the rumor of unemployment.

    Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright,
    The Okland fans playing somewhere, and Bolts fans hearts are light,
    And somewhere men are laughing, and little children shout;
    But there is no joy in Dove Valley — mighty Shanny has been kicked out.


  • December 31, 2008

    5:17 PM

    Jim writes:

    Do you guys who write books and poems that never end on these posts think anybody actually reads them?

  • December 31, 2008

    10:21 PM

    Anonymous writes:

    To AZBroncoFan...
    Y'know I am saddened at the way some have come on this board to berate Shanahan due to the fact that without him we would not have had those 2 Superbowl trophy's. Yes, John Elway was great...but he could not get it done as long as Reeves was the coach. Bring in Shanny and a great RB and BAM back to back Superbowl wins...Why would any Bronco fan want to take that away?
    Yeah I know we haven't made the playoffs in what seems like forever. All of you who complain about the team, did you remember how many, many injuries the Broncos have had this year alone???
    To those of you who didn't get the "half a brain" sorry....I just hate that so many have forgotten who coached the 2 Superbowl wins...He deserves that much respect, don't you think? Cutler seems to be a good QB (IMO)...instead of complaining about WHO we have, you may need to start to worry about who we MAY get...

    Anyway...to EVERYONE HERE have a terrific and safe New Year and remember we ALL do care about the future of the Denver Broncos EVEN IF we don't agree!! =)

    "Respect" to Darrent Williams family on this date as well....he is sorely missed.

  • December 31, 2008

    10:24 PM

    TulsaBroncoFan writes:

    The above Anonymous 10:21 is from me..my computer took a mind of it's own when posting...

  • January 2, 2009

    7:48 AM

    Thrawn writes:

    Another Michael,

    You're not comparing apples to apples though...

    Plummer also began his career playing for the Cardinals. Cutler had much, much, better tools to work with than Plummer did when he came into the league. The Cardinals were a joke for the last half century and they had practically NOTHING on that team. Cutler had Walker, Rod Smith, and even Marshall for his beginning, a not to shabby offensive line, and a fairly productive running game even with the plug ins where they finished somewhere in the middle of the pack. Arizona had none of that when Plummer entered the league.

    Stats alone are not a very good indicator when you consider there are 21 other guys on the field at any given time that are also making the difference. Plummer's problem was that he was used to having to try to win every game himself and he never really recovered from having to play that way for so long when he kept making those mistakes in Denver. Had he played anywhere else during his development years as an NFL QB, he may have been one of the more underrated QBs. That's my observation.

  • January 2, 2009

    12:11 PM

    Another Michael writes:

    Thrawn --

    I won't deny that Plummer had it "rough" in Arizona -- yet everyone keeps comparing him to the next Elway (or errantly blaming Shannahan for dropping Plummer for Cutler)... and that simply never happened even when the Arizona QB became a Denver Bronco..

    At Plummer's *best* year (2004) he had a +7 TD/INT ratio which is identical to the likes of Cutler's 2nd full year this year.. Jake was also sacked more and fumbled more at his *best* here in Denver..

    Everyone seems to be out for Cutler -- but name a team this season that lost 7 starting running backs and led the league in dropped passes and turnovers by their starting wide receivers..

    I don't blame people for being upset that we didn't make it to the playoffs again -- but the offense is not that bad off ... not nearly as much as how bad the defense has been the last several years..

  • January 5, 2009

    7:45 AM

    Thrawn writes:


    It is true that the Broncos lost 7 running backs... though I don't see it as a whole lot different from losing 4 or 5 since you are down to practice squad guys by that point anyway.

    However, correct me if I'm wrong, but the Broncos really weren't running the ball that much at the beginning of the year when they had their top running backs in the lineup. They were very "pass happy" to start the year as well.

    I will say that the Cutler bashing is a bit rediculous though. Clearly if Denver had even an average defense, this team would have won two or maybe three more games. What we had was probably the worst I've seen even despite the fact that two defenses allowed more. (I buy the argument that Kansas City and Detroit had horrible offenses, while the Broncos offense kept them off the field a lot more. Had they been as bad as the other teams, the defense would have been dead last. No doubt about it.)

    I do think it is assenine to think this team should commit its resources to replacing Cutler when they have defense and special teams that are among the worst. cutler may not be the absolute best, but by far not the worst.

  • January 5, 2009

    10:07 AM

    Another Michael writes:

    Thrawn --

    We're more in agreement for the most part.. I wholeheartedly agree that the notion of tossing Cutler to the curb is beyond crazy if not downright stupid.. And as you say -- the defense and special teams are among the league's worst.. Do folks really think Ryan Leaf is the answer?? C'mon folks..

    As to the RB situation -- there was no "Reggie Bush" or "Chris Johnson" or "Adrian Peterson" type back that can positive product 20-25 carries a game while notching out 5-8 yards per carry.. I do believe that Shanahan really wanted to go with Ryan Torrian before he got injured in pre-season.. Selvin Young never really "earned" the top RB slot as there were 4 Denver RBs that all shared the 27 run plays the Broncos ran.. In fact, not one RB ran for more than 10 times that first game -- a blowout in Oakland.. In fact -- up until the Jacksonville game -- no Denver RB ran more than 11 times a game..

    The "running-back-by-committee" approach may work in places like the Giants ... but when there's no committee -- the offensive philosophy turns towards the passing game to try and win its games.. Even with the outstanding play of Ryan Clady at left tackle this year -- I think there were only 3 or 4 100-yard efforts by Denver RBs this season which is very uncharacteristic of a Mike Shanahan offense..

    If anything -- the lack of a running game, a porous defense and a suspect special teams while winning 8 games in this league does actually says a lot about Cutler's ability.. We beat teams we shouldn't have ... and we lost teams we should've beat.. Cutler shouldered what he could -- but we all know it takes a full team to win games and to succeed in this league..

  • January 6, 2009

    9:25 AM

    RS writes:

    Like the old saying goes, you won't buy a car from someone you don't like and likewise you won't play for someone you don't like either. If Cutler won't eat it then someone needs to ram a piece of Humble Pie down his throat. Get off your high horse dude, you are just another one of the guys, and the sooner you learn that the better. You gotta give to get so keep your mouth shut and take care of your own biz first!!! Stop pointing fingers and start leading!!!

    And where was our conditioning coach this year?

  • January 7, 2009

    6:35 PM

    Randy writes:

    Ah, Broncos fans continuing to prove why they are some of the dumbest, fickle fans in the entire sports world.

    Those that called for/calling for Shanahan and Cutlers head will rue the day they opened their mouths and their own farts started sneaking into their throats. Remember this is the same fan base that complained about Elway during his first years with the team. Shows just how much they know about the game.

    Anyone believing this team would be better off without Shanahan or Cutler, kindly remove your head from your butts, take up a gun and make life a little better for those of us with an ounce of intelligence.

    My family has had season tickets since 1964 and every year, I find myself more and more ashamed that I have to be lumped together with so many shortsighted, myopic idiots.

    While I dread this firing for my beloved team; I still hold hope that it educates the moronic fan base of the difficulties of winning a Super Bowl in the NFL. You reap what you sow and the fickle Bronco fans are about to have the opportunity to learn how good they truly had it. Let us pray that they are intelligent enough to recognize a learning opportunity and don't make the same mistake, yet again.

    Being the cynic that I am; I very much doubt it.

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