This week, Mel Tucker became the most disliked head coach in the history of Colorado Sports. I always felt the disdain Colorado sports fans have for Josh McDaniels would forever be unrivaled.
McDaniels came to the Broncos in 2009. From the very beginning, he went out of his way to let everybody know he wasn’t a likable guy.
McDaniels feuded with and traded franchise quarterback Jay Cutler. He then made a series of baffling decisions that didn’t really make sense, such as trading a second-round pick for a first-round pick. He then used that second-round pick to draft Alphonso Smith.
Smith played only one season with the Broncos. The Seahawks wound up using the first-round pick on a player named Earl Thomas.
McDaniels moved on from players like Brandon Marshall, Tony Sheffler, Peyton Hillis and Andra Davis. He “mutually agreed” to part ways with defensive coordinator Mike Nolan despite the fact that the Broncos were playing defense better than they had in years.
To go along with his odd personnel decisions, McDaniels delivered some of the most hilariously embarrassing moments in Broncos history. In his second season as head coach, the Broncos lost at home to the rival Raiders 59-14.
The following week, apparently feeling an encore was necessary, McDaniels and the Broncos lost to the 49ers in London in a game in which they cheated. Denver had been caught filming San Francisco’s practice in the week leading up to the game. Under Pat Bowlen, the Broncos were a first-class organization and McDaniels was destroying that reputation with his behavior.
McDaniels was fired before the end of his second season. He took over an 8-8 team and in just two seasons had turned them into a 4-12 team. He cut their wins in half.
McDaniels is still hated. Not because the team lacked success during his tenure. Fans move on from that. It was the way McDaniels carried himself. He was an arrogant jerk.
It’s hard to imagine a coaching stint going worse than McDaniels. We may have just witnessed it.
Mel Tucker coached just one season at the University of Colorado. The Buffs finished 5-7 in his lone campaign. Under Tucker, many were encouraged by the renewed competitive attitude that the Buffs displayed on the field despite a losing record. Buffs fans had good reason to be optimistic for the future.
The timing of Tucker’s departure from CU was always going to be an issue. At some point, everybody would have moved on and understood that the coach did what he felt was best.
It wasn’t that Tucker left that has infuriated everybody. It was the way he left.
Tucker went on a media tour the day before, hitting multiple local radio stations to explain that he intended to stay in Boulder. He even attended a donor’s meeting and once again pledged his allegiance to CU. It was all for not. Tucker took the job at Michigan State.
Then, there are the young men that were led to believe they would be playing for Tucker in 2020.
Tucker had just finished signing on the newest recruiting class for CU. These students made a life-altering decision and the man who said he would be there to guide them has up and left. Due to the absurd rules of the NCAA, these students are stuck at a school in a situation that they did not sign up for.
The aspect that seems to be infuriating Buffs Nation the most is that Tucker is not who he appeared to be. Many feel like this man duped them.
I’m not sure if Tucker ever purposely acted dishonestly. His intentions really don’t matter, however. The perception is that he lied.
McDaniels was a jerk from day one. Nobody was surprised at anything he did because he just kept doing stupid things. And we weren’t surprised two seasons ago when McDaniels agreed to be the head coach of the Colts only to back out at the last minute.
That’s what McDaniels does. He one-ups himself in the jerk department.
Tucker didn’t seem like that guy.
College football fandom is different from that of professional sports. When you are a current or former student of a college, you have an emotional sense of pride when your team takes the field. The players seem like a real extension of the entire university and those who attend.
That’s why the sense of betrayal is so much more with Tucker than it was with McDaniels. Broncos fans loved to pile on McDaniels, but our feelings were never actually hurt. We just thought he was an idiot. Tucker’s decision seems to have legitimately upset the feelings of CU fans.
I do not cheer for the Colorado Buffaloes. I’m not a fan and it still doesn’t sit right with me.
I have no idea if Mel Tucker is a good guy or not. I have no idea what the negotiations were like in this situation. What I do know is, fair or not, Mel Tucker has replaced Josh McDaniels as the most disliked coach in Colorado sports history.
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