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Mike Shanahan should be the Broncos head coach

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(Photo by Helen H. Richardson / The Denver Post via Getty Images)

It was Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017. The Denver Broncos were playing out the string, getting ready to finish their season with a home game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

DMac and I were doing our usual pregame show. During it, an Adam Schefter report surfaced that John Elway was deliberating on whether to fire coach Vance Joseph. Schefter’s report indicated Elway “would sleep on it.”

Our speculation centered around the idea Elway was waiting to see if another NFL coach would be fired and become available to be hired. We thought it might be Houston head coach Bill O’Brien.

It turns out Elway trying to bring back two-time Super Bowl winning coach Mike Shanahan. Wish we had that story at the time.

The most-interesting part of the Broncos joint practice weekend with the 49ers was the presence of Mike Shanahan – back at the facility he helped build – watching his old team and the squad coached by his son. Even more interesting were the revelations by Elway and Mike Shanahan that, yes, there was interest in bringing Mike back to coach.

It was all talked about so casually, as if Elway and Shanny were speed dating and just didn’t have much in common.

To which I say: Are you kidding me??!!

All apologies to Vic Fangio, who seems like a nice guy and who has checked every box a guy who has never coached an actual game can check.

But why isn’t Mike Shanahan the coach of the Broncos?

It’s clear who the villain is in this scenario. It’s de facto owner Joe Ellis, who put the kibosh on the whole deal. Apparently, he felt Pat Bowlen fired Shanahan for a reason the first time around and that Mr. B wouldn’t want to go down that road again.

With all due respect, that’s quite a leap for Ellis to take. The circumstances would’ve been much different this time around.

I was doing my thing here on The Fan when Shanny got fired. I called for it. I felt Mike wearing two hats had gotten to be too much. Mike Shanahan the GM was letting down Mike Shanahan the coach.

Mike can still coach – of that I have no doubt. My man Stink has spent hours at Shanny’s home, pouring over film as Mike teaches Mark the current trends of the game. Make no mistake, Shanahan is still on top of his game.

If Shanahan had returned, he would’ve just been the coach, answering to Elway – the boss. Imagining how it would be now is not hard. We’re not talking about some cartoon, bizarro, Superman parallel comic book universe.

Think about it. Shanahan is the head coach. Gary Kubiak is his offensive coordinator/assistant head coach. Ed Donatell is likely the defensive coordinator, just like he is now under Fangio.

The possible quarterback situation is even more fascinating. Perhaps Kirk Cousins ends up signing with the Broncos so he can be reunited with the man who drafted him in Washington. While I’m no huge fan of Cousins, he would be a solid option heading into what would now be his second year with the Broncos. Who knows, maybe the Broncos still draft a prospect like Drew Lock.

Bottom line: A Mike Shanahan/Kubiak combo is a lot more appealing than the newbie coaching duo of Fangio/Rick Scangarello. It also would’ve spared us the pain and suffering of Vance Joseph’s second year.

There have been a dizzying amount of moves since Peyton Manning rode off into the sunset. Not many of them have been good.

Failing to bring back Mike Shanahan is the worst.


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