The 20 biggest what-ifs in Denver Broncos history

  • Blockbuster trade for Calvin Johnson?
  • Missing out on Kyle Shanahan
  • Steve Young the Denver Broncos QB?

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4. What if the team hired Kyle Shanahan instead of Vance Joseph?

The Denver Broncos should have hired Kyle Shanahan in 2017. Apparently, Joe Ellis didn't want it at the time because of some bad blood between him and Mike Shanahan, but the Broncos still had Kyle in for an interview during the hiring process.

Unfortunately, it seemed -- at the time -- like the interview process was merely a formality for the team to hire Vance Joseph. The Broncos had previously tried to hire Vance Joseph as their defensive coordinator but were blocked from doing so, and when they got the chance to hire him as head coach, they took it.

Kyle Shanahan took a job in San Francisco which, at the time, certainly felt like a worse situation than Denver's. The Broncos were just one year removed from winning Super Bowl 50 at this point. One calendar year, that is. Shanahan would have had the opportunity to come in and fairly assess the quarterback situation, which was Paxton Lynch vs. Trevor Siemian at the time.

Can you imagine a world in which Kyle Shanahan gets hired by the Broncos, and they decide not to stand pat at the position in the 2017 NFL Draft? We already know the Broncos were open to quarterback upgrades even without Shanahan. They went after Tony Romo in the 2017 offseason. But imagine they let Kyle look at the quarterbacks in that class.

Imagine he fell in love with Patrick Mahomes, and the Broncos -- not the Chiefs -- moved into the top 10 picks to select the former Texas Tech product.

It wasn't out of the realm of possibility at the time. The Broncos could feasibly have Kyle Shanahan as their head coach and Patrick Mahomes as their quarterback today. Instead, every Denver Broncos fans is stuck being an honorary 49ers fan (because we all love Kyle Shanahan and Christian McCaffrey) and hating Patrick Mahomes because he's dominating as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs.