The Denver Broncos should have hired Kyle Shanahan in 2017. What involvement might Joe Ellis have had in that decision with the latest reports?
There is never a shortage of drama with the Denver Broncos, so why not add some fuel to the fire?
Is it possible that team president and CEO Joe Ellis is the reason the Broncos hired Vance Joseph instead of Kyle Shanahan ahead of the 2017 season? It’s a thought worth chewing on, at least.
When the Broncos were doing their head coaching search in 2017, Joseph was considered the overwhelming favorite almost immediately, but why? There was no clear reason for the favoritism the Broncos showed Joseph throughout the process, other than the fact that they had tried to hire him as their defensive coordinator when Gary Kubiak was brought on as the head coach.
They settled for Wade Phillips when the Cincinnati Bengals blocked them from interviewing Joseph for that particular job, now Broncos fans can’t get over the fact that Phillips was let go.
It was complete luck he was even back in Denver in the first place.
That’s neither here nor there. In this particular instance, the Broncos had the chance to hire pretty much anybody one year removed from a Super Bowl victory. They had a young quarterback in Paxton Lynch who had shown some signs and tools worth developing in limited action throughout his rookie season.
They had a stellar defense led by Super Bowl MVP Von Miller. The Broncos were an attractive option in 2017, and arguably the most desirable coach on the market — Kyle Shanahan — was interested in being part of the reloading and resetting process.
But the Broncos would not budge off of Joseph, even though they did bring in a number of candidates for interviews, including Shanahan.
We know how the story ends. Joseph was hired by Denver and is on the brink of being fired, while Shanahan was hired by the 49ers and has a lot to look forward to despite a worse record than Joseph this year (he has the head-to-head win).
Rumors are swirling and reports are surfacing that part of the reason the Broncos did not hire Mike Shanahan (yes, that guy) as their head coach in 2018 after Joseph’s first year with the team is due to the fact that Joe Ellis put the clamps down, flexing on John Elway a little bit.
Ellis was also a big reason (and you can read all of this in the Woody Paige report linked above) that Shanahan was fired after the 2008 season, a move that had Pat Bowlen in tears at a press conference.
The Broncos’ family has always been a pretty tight-knit one, thanks to the culture put in place by Pat Bowlen since he bought the team in 1984. The Broncos have a long history of success and Mike Shanahan was a major part of it, helping lead the team to their first and second Super Bowl titles in history.
If there was bad blood between Ellis and Shanahan back then, and that bad blood caused him to shut down a potential pairing of Shanahan and Kirk Cousins (whom he drafted while in Washington) in Denver, what gives?
Does Joe Ellis have a beef with the entire Shanahan family? Did he tell Elway he could only interview Shanahan for looks? Did Elway have a beef with the Shanahan family at that time?
It was clear that was the most sensible move for Denver at the time. Hire Shanahan, keep Wade Phillips, and fix one of the worst offenses in the NFL. Heck, Shanahan has proven his worth in developing below average quarterback prospects in a very short time in San Francisco, and he did wonders with top-flight talent in Atlanta where he made it to the Super Bowl.
He was the hotshot offensive mind of 2017 (along with Sean McVay) and the Broncos seemingly had no interest. Shanahan even publicly stated during his candidacy for the position that the Broncos’ job was the best one available.
Then as the Broncos traveled to take on the 49ers a couple of weeks ago, Shanahan told the media he had a ‘gut feeling’ he wasn’t getting the Broncos’ job, no matter how public he made his desire to get it.
Where does that gut feeling come from?
We have a history here.
Joe Ellis reportedly had a hand in convincing Bowlen to fire Mike Shanahan in 2008-09, which was the right move. He also reportedly shut down a reunion with Mike in 2018.
Could there not be a chance of him having shut down bringing Kyle into the fold as well? That theory makes a lot of sense, but we may never know the truth.