By Bryan Golden
For the last few years, fans of the Denver Broncos have lived through our own version of a Shakespearian tale. Like many of the bard’s dramatic sagas, it is one that was full of hope, deceit, and betrayal, and ended with what felt like a knife in the back to the entire Bronco Nation. Oh happy dagger indeed.
Josh McDaniels was hired to invigorate the franchise that was mired in mediocrity. As the offensive disciple of revered New England head coach Bill Belicheck, it was presumed that McDaniels would be able to replicate his prior team’s success in the Rocky Mountains. McDaniels came in with an energy and confidence that instilled a sense of hope that Bronco fans were searching for.
Almost immediately upon being named head coach in Denver, the deceit started as McDaniels was caught with the preverbal “lipstick on his collar,” trying to finagle a deal to trade away his new teams franchise quarterback. Even though he continued to deny it, something was rotten in the state of Colorado. When we all heard of this palace intrigue, it was as if a glimpse of the real man that had been given the keys to the castle appeared.
Seemingly anyone from All-Pros to valuable role-players that questioned the king was sent packing. This was truly the offseason of discontent. McDaniels ushered in players of questionable worth; Lawerence Maroney, LenDale White, Le Kevin Smith…he used precious draft picks on the likes of Knowshon Moreno (btw..why is he wearing Steve Atwater’s number?? That’s a topic for another discussion), Robert Ayers, Richard Quinn and (gulp) Alphonso Smith. And, of course, he gave up a king’s ransom for the potential that is Tim Tebow.
What was deemed as the final straw for Mcdaniels’ tenure as Denver’s head coach was his betrayal of the honor, respect, and integrity of the one of the NFL’s greatest franchises. The Broncos and Coach McDaniels were fined by the league, but more importantly, embarrassed for the entire world to see, for videotaping an opponents practice. O, what men dare do! Mcdaniels was later fired by Broncos owner Pat Bowlen, but it is the team that has to live with the shame of being labeled cheaters.
When we look back on this tragic tale, we see that something is missing. In every story there is a protagonist and antagonist. McDaniels fills the shoes of the antagonist…which leads us to our hero (yet again), John Elway. The hero of our story presents us with a silver lining for what lies ahead from his position of V.P. of Football Operations; communication and a connection with the fans from our beloved franchise, a focused direction for the team, and yes, a renewed sense of hope for the Bronco Nation. Can Elway be the hero this story needs? Well, as every Bronco fan knows, if you need a comeback, there is only one person you want to lead it. And this could be the stuff that dreams are made of.
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