Denver Broncos: Drew Litton Paints Footballs to Picasso

Chaz MattsonAnalyst IJanuary 28, 2009

This article could have easily been entitled, “As Dove Valley Turns” or simply “DENVER” as in “DALLAS” or “Doves Landing." The amazing thing is you can’t make this stuff up. 

Throughout the Rocky Mountain region humorist and cartoonist Drew Litton of the Rocky Mountain News is known as the ultimate comedian and sports source.  Drew is a regular cartoonist for the sports page on his space entitled: win, lose and Drew

His latest ventures in the cyber world can find him creating games and blogs for the RMN website.  So after you’re done here go check it out.

It’s not the most likely combination, yet he has become the thesaurus of cliff notes to the sports page.  It’s sort of a window to the world of the Denver sports scene.  He is an amazing talent who is able to be humorous and brutally honest at the same time.

Drew’s art work has been so good that it has allowed him to publish his works in the form of coffee table books, which by all accounts are a hit.  So much so, he even has a greatest hits edition.

Given all of the above, with all of his credibility in the region, Drew has trumped himself.

No he has not jumped the shark, but topped all of his other works and reached into the upper stratosphere of the greats.

Most amazing artist posses the skill of showing their genius in moments they intend with repercussions the audience does not expect.  These moments can sometimes pass the interpreter by, unless of course the work is a Picasso, a Rembrandt, or a genuine, authenticated, Drew Litton.

You see sometimes art becomes the day.  Other times the day becomes the art.

So balls to Picasso!  Who knew they’d actually be footballs?  But it’s true!

In Drew’s world it’s especially a good day if something big happens in Dove Valley.

One of his latest and greatest creations had to do with the Denver Broncos hiring a new staff after the dismissal of longtime coach Mike Shanahan.

Shanny exit…stage left!

Enter the former offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots, Josh McDaniels who was hired as coach Shanahan’s replacement at the ripe young age of 32. 

Then Josh turned around and hired a thirty something to be his offensive coordinator and then his younger brother, Ben as a special assistant who is all of 28 years old and coached QB’s at the high school level this past season. 

Now before this piece goes any further you have to know this.  The Denver Broncos offense is in not just good hands, but great hands with Josh McDaniels taking over coach Shanahan’s creation.  This offense will be among the best next season, that is a given.  Put your money down, this team will score points and lots of them. 

This is not a personal slam on Josh from my perspective either.  Having previously made my case, I am glad that Mr. Bowlen was able to see beyond the standardized coaches who haven’t won anything.  Moreover they were bold enough to believe in an up and coming talent in the NFL earlier than most. 

There is nothing wrong with that.  Absolutely nothing wrong with that. 

Moreover, the fact that Josh hired his younger brother from the high school ranks into the NFL ranks.  Again, there is nothing entirely wrong with that either. 

In fact it sort of proves my point with my previous articles about getting an interview.  Some snubbed the fact that a high school coach could make the leap to the NFL.  It’s an understandable fear, but not an altruistic fact it’s rather more of an urban legend. 

Balls to Picasso, footballs for Litton!

This obviously does not mean high school coaches can all take on the rigors of college or the NFL.  It does however mean the coaching circle has needed a shake-up for quite sometime.  So while this article is meant to be more of a humorous nature, it’s important to keep some tact in mind as well.

High school coaches can be just as good or even better coaches than what you've seen on Saturday or Sunday or Monday night.   

So now Josh and Ben are on the hot seat, like no other, and they will do fine, I’m here to tell the world.  These Denver Broncos will compete next season and the season after that until the Bowlen’s decides to sell the team.

Sorry to get off the beaten path a little bit, but there is fact that is stranger than fiction at work here.  Through it all, you have to have a sense of humor.  Whether you’re Drew Litton or one of the McDaniels brothers, Mr. Bowlen, or an innocent by-stander.  You have to appreciate the humor in the embarking irony.

Drew’s cartoon depicts Josh at the podium announcing the hiring of his younger brother (Ben) on the far side with his baseball hat on backwards while leaning on a vertical skateboard. 

On the nearside is a fictionalized younger brother holding a video game controller.  This captioned quote follows:  “…And welcome our newest assistant coach, my other brother… He’s only 10, but believe me, he plays a mean game of Madden Football.”

Now that’s comedy and visual art at it’s best.  You just can’t make this stuff up and there’s the pang of virtue, truth, and genius.  It speaks where others are usually silent and the bottom line, like all the classics it resonates. 

The fact is, I would love to be on Josh’s McDaniels staff, (as hard as I’ve tried to get my break in the business), and I’m qualified so make no mistake. 

On the comedy side I’d like to initiate a Madden tournament between the McDaniel brothers and the Mattson brothers and if the Mattson’s win then a coaching interview is granted. 

If the McDaniel brothers win we will buy dinner or they name it. 

In the end we could do this even to sponsor charities like video gamers anonymous or something more legitimate like Bonfills Blood Center or Children’s Hospital. 

So it’s OK to be a little cynical, and keep a sense of humor, as long as you keep an open mind.   

The problem is we have a real bad habit in this country of shooting down other people’s credibility because it doesn’t seem to resonate with a personal view which is predicated on doubt and fear, rather than vision and a deeper thought process. 

It is a new age in America with the inauguration of President Obama.  One that basically shows that the status quo is, now hear me on this one, with an open mind, as best you can, WRONG.

Did he say “Wrong.”.

Balls to Picasso!

Or was it “Curses Batman!”?

President Obama wouldn’t be in office if the status quo was right in the way it operates.  The country, let alone the world wouldn’t be waiting for a bogus bailout if the status quo was absolutely right.  So radical change shouldn’t be feared, maybe gauged and monitored, but not feared.

We can get in depth on it, but Pat Bowlen showed he’s got guts and he wants to win all in one fail swoop.  Let’s face up to two common facts that lead us to this day, the fan base grew tired of seeing Broncos losses against teams they should beat or dominate. 

Additionally, things like the treatment of John Lynch were incredibly poor judgment calls by the previous regime.  Think about it, John was always a community guy and a pro-bowler and all he ever asked for was the chance to be the starter come training camp. 

That situation was so poorly handled and lacked essential tact and communication.  John Lynch should have been notified much earlier what the plans were and yet the Broncos still failed to produce a solid starting safety past training camp.  More creative defensive coordinators would have at least thought of better ways to support Lynch or use him as a linebacker. 

John was always a team guy, that’s why he’s going to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame someday soon. 

Is it shocking how things have played out in Dove Valley to some degree?


Should Josh McDaniels be pre-judged as the new coach?

Absolutely NOT!

Will Josh face the cynics down the road?


You see, there are people who are thrown under the bus because someone chooses to aimlessly use the ‘C’ word.  They hang it over people as if they invented credibility and yet they have not kept an open mind.  They assume they are the authority with what little authority they may possess. 

Still we are left to ponder how America and even the Broncos have gotten themselves into the current state. 

That’s the flowing theme of this new found real life soap opera.  It features owners, coaches, writers among others.  With so many layoffs, stay at home dads it’s time to get the popcorn, light the fire, turn on SportsCenter and the NFL Network now and again.  It’s also time to watch the kids and play an occasional game of John Madden football. 

Hey and while you’re at it there are the virtues of the pigskin you could teach your legacy.  Can’t you see it, the next generation of kids will all attain their coaching skills in part from John Madden football.  They will learn how to sit in the pocket, run counters, run dig routes, put slide protections into place, read blitzes, read roll coverage, and throw the hot routes and that’s just the offense!  Wait until the defense morphs from a 4-3 into a 3-4 or a 4-4 or a 3-5 or a 2-9.

Hey name your combination, John Madden football’s got ‘em!  You can also go from man to double and triple coverage or play straight up zone and zone blitzing schemes.

Oh wait a moment… that era has officially started in the NFL.  Now don’t laugh, even though, yes it is humorous, Madden is now your official coaching simulator. 

There is uncertainty even now in Dove Valley.  There is talk of trading Champ Bailey, the franchises best well-rounded star professional.  While I think it’s an abomination to lose Champ in any way shape or form, the tide of uncertainty is certain in Broncos camp. 

So the only thing we can say certainly is expect the unexpected.

The Broncos do need Champ Bailey more than he needs the Broncos, so I hope he stays, but this really is a mutually dependant situation.

Finally the formula for finding real success is to keep an open mind.

Lording Credibility = Ignorance and Fear

Visionaries = Champions

Genius = Drew Litton

Footballs to Picasso


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