Why The Broncos Collapse Last Season Forever Changed Their Franchise

Thaddeus YeiserCorrespondent IApril 3, 2009

SAN DIEGO - DECEMBER 28:  Tony Scheffler #88 and the Denver Broncos react in the final moments of the NFL game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on December 28, 2008 in San Diego, California. The Chargers defeated the Broncos 52--21. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

At one point in 2008, the Denver Broncos were 8-5 and leading their division by three games. The nearest threat to them was the San Diego Chargers who were 5-8 at the time. All they needed was either a win, or even simply a San Diego loss, and they were AFC West Champs.


Despite injuries to seven different running backs, they forged ahead, and were resilient.

Quarterback Jay Cutler was now a rising star in the NFL, and once they made it to the playoffs, perhaps he could show the world what he was truly made of.


Then came the collapse.

It was not just any collapse because this one would have more impact on the NFL than anything else in years.


The Broncos went on to lose to Carolina in a blowout, and then they lost to the free-falling Bills. At the same time, San Diego had won back to back games including a shocking 18 point comeback against Kansas City. A game that would've won the division for the Denver. The two would face off for the division title, and sure enough the Chargers walked away the winners. This brought an abrupt, and perhaps premature halt to the Broncos season.


It was a domino effect from that point onward. Because of their failure to make the playoffs, and in that kind of fashion, the Broncos fired long time head coach Mike Shanahan. This led to the hiring of Josh McDaniels. After that McDaniels stupidly tried to bring in quarterback Matt Cassel from his former team, and this lead to the now infamous dispute with Jay Cutler. After that fallout Cutler would never again be happy in Denver. He was soon traded there after. From that point they were able to obtain Kyle Orton and some draft picks, but they are now changed for good, and possibly for the worse.


In one offseason, they’ve gone from a team with a direction. To a team, void of a franchise quarterback, and stuck with a head coach that no one can respect. In one off-season they’ve gone from a team that should’ve been shoring up their atrocious defense, to a team that is still at square one in that department.


Were it not for that epic collapse, they would’ve made the playoffs. It would have been very difficult to fire Mike Shanahan, and the “McJay” gate fiasco would never have been born. The Broncos would still have their franchise quarterback, but instead they find themselves, once again on that never ending search for the next John Elway…well Denver...it's back to the old drawing board.