Mike Shanahan's Farewell: Thank-You Letter for Former Denver Broncos Head Coach
As the day rolls by and the mere thought of the success that the Broncos are enjoying brings a smile to my face I am reminded of the golden days, the days of John and even Jake. Those days meant the world to me, as they did to lot of Bronco fans, yet I find myself sad when I remember I never gave you your proper farewell.
You see, when I think about the direction this team is headed in, I can't help but to think about when you first arrived, a (relatively) young coach full of ideas and were finally able to bring home the gold to a much deserving QB and fan base. You brought us a lot of good times and kept the bad ones at a minimum, while bringing forth a competitive team year in and year out.
Although I must confess that I was part of that group that called for your job, I never forgot everything you ever did for me and our team.
I know that I must sound like a hypocrite right now, but I knew you and the team needed a change of scenery and your competitiveness would never allow you to step down, therefore there was only one way to make it happen and that was for you to be let go.
Unlike most fans, though, I had an idea of why it would happen and it wasn't because of your managerial skills or draft day picks, for the most part it was because you refused to back out of your word to coaches and players such as Slowik, Robertson, and McCree, among others, that finally happened.
After all, you've always had an eye for true talent and the proof is in the picks, and you did bring us guys like Berry, Hayward, Pryce, Pope, DJ, Darrent Williams, Al Wilson, Gold and so many others that I can't remember and that, to me at least, proves that you had an eye not only for offense but for talent and football ability regardless of position.
Towards your latter days when you knew that you had to show immediate results, not only to the fans and the owners, but yourself, in your visible frustration you made some mistakes with guys like Crowder and Moss but it's ok, after all you are only human.
I remember with vividness the day I heard the news of your departure. I was at work doing my tedious and boring job while listening to sports radio, and I was so tuned in that when I heard, I almost spilled my coffee all over my desk. One of my co-workers ran into my office and with disbelief looked at me and asked if it was a joke.
All of us around the office were striken with sadness but we all knew, as ardent and hardcore fans, it was time.
It was some time after that day that I mindlessly walked into a 7-Eleven around Lowry, late at night and to my surprised I looked to my left while deciding which vitamin water to get, that I spotted you.
You looked at me and said hello and then looked at my No. 30 jersey and told me that he was a hell of guy. It was then that I finally was able to say hello and as we both waited in line to pay for our beverages, I decided to ask you something that my girlfriend had wondered earlier, and I asked if you would coach again, you looked at me and said with a grin that you would like to, but not in the AFC West.
My next question I felt was stupid but I asked, "Why not in the AFC West," and you gave me an answer that brought a smile to my face and showed me what kind of man you are. You said that while facing the Broncos every once in a while would be hard, facing us twice a season would not be your ideal scenario.
While a side of me took that statement with a grain of salt, the other side wishes it is true. Then I thought of a reason for you to lie and I found none, you had never lied to us in the past why would you now. It was then that I realized that while a change was immanent and we had lost a great coach, we had also lost a great man.
I have supported McDaniels since day one, granted not on everything, but in him this fan sees a coach with great potential with an incredible eye for talent and football ability, a coach that has come in and put his stamp on the team and with it has brought in an all too familiar energy and, not to quote Marty, a gleam that makes me shake with excitement.
I can only hope and pray that he is as successful as you were and his tenure is as sweet as yours was.
Mike, I wish you the best of luck in your future, which I know is bright and filled with many more victories and Super Bowl trophies, though not at the Broncos' expense. I do hope to see you roaming the side lines once again. At last Mike, with fond memories of the past, this Bronco fan bids you farewell and thanks you for everything you did for us.
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