Did Mike Shanahan set the Broncos back? (Halverson/Getty)

Patience Is Key In Broncos’ Progress


By Joe Medina

Don’t You Dare Text Me Your Fantasy Stats.

What is our problem? I’m not speaking to you like it’s YOUR problem, and I’m not saying it’s all MY problem either. I’m not even saying it’s OUR problem as Broncos fans. What is the problem with our society?

When you look at one big issue with our society, it’s pretty easy to understand everyone’s impatience. The desire for instant gratification is very real, and the studies have shown that Generation Y people generally lack the desire to work hard to achieve success.

As a 23 year old college student, I can fully agree. Honestly, I’d rather have my degree given to me and just learn on the job later. I know that’s not how it’s going to work, and it’s not a logical path to success at all. What does instant gratification have to do with the state of our beloved franchise?

 
Everything.
 
If I had to put a time on when it happened, I would have to pin it right around the end of the 2005 season. Not coincidentally, 2005 was the last season the Broncos were relevant, even if it was a small gem in an otherwise dark field of coal that is the Broncos football of the 2000s.

It would seem to me that in the 2006 draft, Mike Shanahan wanted to win instantly, regardless of the future complications it would put on the team, from top to bottom. Mike Shanahan traded up in the 2006 draft to take Jay Cutler, and at that point, his message was known; he wanted to win immediately.
 
As human beings and fans, we really appreciated that brand of boldness. It’s fitting that the man that brought that frame of mind to us is the same guy who was bold enough to ice a Raiders kicker and bold enough to go for the two point conversion in San Diego in 2008 to win a game.

I’m not about to place all the blame at his feet, but I am willing to say with confidence that Mike Shanahan’s desire for instant gratification is what has set this team back more than anything in the past 5 years here in Denver.
 
Shanahan never really had a desire to do things the right way. To be fair, he didn’t need to rebuild when he first came in. A lot of the pieces were in place here. He did do a fair share of tweaking rosters and playbooks, but for the most part, the Broncos of 1994 and 1996 were pretty similar teams.

Mike Shanahan never had the pressure to rebuild, and in hindsight, he should have blown the entire team up a couple of times. But that team of 2005, you say? Like I said, it was a lone bright spot in a decade of mediocrity. It was more fluke than fact, but that’s my opinion.
 
How does this relate to fans’ perception? As fans, we’ve gotten used to the idea that we’re only one or two players away from dominance. That was Mike Shanahan’s trademark line in his later years. We only needed that one defensive player, or that one running back. Whatever it was, we only needed one or two pieces at any given time. After hearing that for so long, it’s understandable that our fans have learned to accept that idea as a fact.

That’s a common argument used by Broncos fans that supported Shanahan, Cutler, and the ’08 Broncos team (even if they were really pathetic in the stats that mattered). Those people say, “We only needed a couple guys on defense,” when the reality is we really needed to rebuild completely.
 
My point here is that I hope this new coaching staff gets a chance to do it once and do it right. Rebuild completely. Josh McDaniels did his best, and I believe that. However, placing the same amount of absolute control in the hands of one person is just playing the same record over again.

 It didn’t work for Shanahan, and it was destined to fail for McDaniels as well. I hope this new staff gets a chance to do it the right way. I hope the fans know it can be a tough first year or two. That is a very real possibility, but I suppose, after what looks to be a 3-13 to 5-11 season in 2010, you can’t realistically have your expectations any higher than 7-9 at best.
 
Be patient, fellow Broncos fans. It’s something our society has forgotten how to do. Our fandom has been redefined right in front of us. People care less about the name on the front of the jersey and more about the name on the back.

That’s what things like fantasy football are predicated on. I think fantasy football is the downfall of football being a TEAM game.

I don’t know much about life yet, but I do know that good things come to those who wait. If you’re willing to wait for our new team to gain an identity, and you’re willing to wait for the coaching staff and players to build a good rapport with each other, we should all reap the benefits of what will be a very successful future. It all starts today. Today is a great day to start being patient. Take a step back, sip some hot chocolate, and relax. It’s just a game, after all. And please, for God’s sake, don’t you dare text me your fantasy stats.

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Tags: Denver Broncos Jay Cutler Josh Mcdaniels Mike Shanahan