Denver Broncos: 16 Memorable Season Openers

14 of 17

Oct 27, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan before the game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

SEPTEMBER 8th, 2008

The Broncos crushed the Raiders, as was customary in the Shanahan era, 41-14. However the significance of the game was that it signaled the final season opener of the career of the most successful coach in franchise history. The story of the game itself was that starting QB and Shanahan prodigal adoptive son, Jay Cutler posted a line that even PFM would be happy with. Cutler was 16-25, 300 yards, and two TDs. Four Broncos’ RBs combined for 141 yards and contributed 3 TDs to the rout. If Denver could have maintained this kind of dominance throughout the season, who knows how many more seasons Shanny would have coached in the Mile High City. But as was the case with the previous two seasons, the 2008 Broncos got off to a strong start, only to suffer a late season malaise and missed the playoffs for the third straight year. The mediocre play and lack of postseason participation was not Shanahan’s Alamo, though. The Denver defense was horrible once again under its 7th coordinator (Bob Slowik) in 8 years. They dropped the final game of the season to San Diego in a win-and-your-in scenario, 52-17. Reports were that Mr. Bowlen directed Shanahan to fire Slowikk and when he refused, the proverbial axe fell.