Pat Bowlen Backs Broncos Josh McDaniels Through 2011 Then Changes Mind

Rich KurtzmanSenior Analyst INovember 30, 2010

Pat Bowlen has made it clear he's still running the Broncos, but what's not clear is if McDaniels will be around in 2011 or not.
Pat Bowlen has made it clear he's still running the Broncos, but what's not clear is if McDaniels will be around in 2011 or not.Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Pat Bowlen may not be as visible on the sidelines at INVESCO Field at Mile High Stadium, strutting the sidelines in his full-length mink coats, but he put to rest many rumors that have been flying around the thin air in Denver in an interview with FanHouse (published 7:25 p.m. MT).

The biggest of which has been the tornado that’s seemingly engulfed Josh McDaniels of late, Denver Broncos owner Bowlen said, “"Yes he will (be back for 2011). I am not interested in making a coaching change."

Josh McDaniels has been a polarizing figure in Denver ever since he traded away Jay Cutler and everything negative that’s happened in the wake of that move is blamed on McDaniels by the fanbase.

Through a year and a half of being the head coach, and basically GM too, McDaniels has seen more losses than wins (11-16 overall) including 16 losses in the last 21 games.

Broncos Country is not used to losing, and the fact that Mike Shanahan turned the team into a consistent championship contender so quickly in the mid-90s spoiled Broncos fans into thinking it was easy to do.

Of course, it’s insanely difficult—especially when the coach is putting in place not only his players, but those players are all supposed to be buying into his system and school of thought.

McDaniels preaches team-first, accountability, selflessness and hard work—qualities any football fan should be proud their coach and team are devoted to.

Bowlen made it clear he’s proud of McDaniels continuing, “I'm very happy with Josh. Josh is doing a good job. I wish he had a few more wins, but we've got five games to go. I've got 27 years in this business. The ball bounces funny and it doesn't always bounce your way. We've had bad breaks, injuries. I've been around football long enough to know this happens and it's a part of the game. We've still got a chance to make the playoffs. People have been in a position like ours and it's been done before.''

Bowlen understands and weighs in the complexities of the NFL and realizes that McDaniels has what it takes in his opinion to build the Broncos into a winner once again.

The Broncos long-time owner also gave his head coach leeway on personnel moves explaining, “People get traded,'' Bowlen said. "Sometimes you look back at it as the right move. Sometimes you look back and you're not as happy. It's the nature of the game. I'm not commenting on any one of the particular players we traded. But I know we have bought some people in here who can and will help us."

And he made it completely clear to those (talk radio heads) that have been rumoring his health is in decline and that COO Joe Ellis, not Bowlen, is actually running the team as false.

“I have no idea where that came from. I don’t run the triathlons anymore like I used to. I do leg work on the machines and do the bike. I’m not as strong (66 years old) as I used to be, but I’m still good.

Bowlen is running the team, and explained he will be taking a more active role in selecting the coaching staff from now on.

"I think what I can do is bring my advice and he can take it or leave it,'' Bowlen said. "I think the coaching staff around him is very important. The head coach is the most important. But the staff is also important. Josh has surrounded himself with good coaches but it may get to a point where some of them have to go. I don't know that yet. Josh is around the football team. He knows."

"I am confident if he doesn't have the right people around him, that he should change coaches,'' Bowlen explained. "It is something I have always left up to my coach. But I always reserve the right to make that change. I have done it on an isolated basis. It rarely happens. He picks the coaches. But, absolutely, I have the right to make those changes." Ie. And will if the position presents itself, which it has at this point.

Bowlen gave all the duties to McDaniels and he thinks the young coach can succeed, but the older, wiser owner is realizing he gave too much power too soon to the man who is still learning on the job.

Meaning there will be some coaching staff changes at the end of this season, and Bowlen would be intelligent to place an older, more experienced GM at the position instead of Brian Xanders.

What happens for sure is left to be seen, and things are changing all the time.


Update 9:55 p.m. MT: Just coming across the twitter transcript, the Broncos have released a statement and Pat Bowlen has backed off his earlier statements a bit.

“We haven’t had the success we had hoped to achieve,” Bowlen clarified. “Josh McDaniels is the head coach of the Broncos and you always strive for stability at that position. However, with five games left in the 2010 season, we will continue to monitor the progress of the team and evaluate what’s in the best interest of this franchise.”

Which means basically, “If the Broncos can’t pull out a couple more wins at the least, I may be forced to fire him in favor of someone else.”

It shows the fans he can hear their displeasure, but it must also be unnerving to not know where the owner stands from one day to the next. (Plus, it only fuels the rumors of his having Alzheimer’s.)

So, Josh McDaniels is now certainly coaching for his job on a weekly basis, if he wasn’t already.

That’s the reality of coaching in the NFL, an extremely results-oriented career.


Rich Kurtzman is a freelance journalist actively seeking a career in journalism. Along with being a Denver Broncos and Denver Nuggets Featured Columnist for, Kurtzman is the CSU Rams Examiner and the Colorado/Utah Regional Correspondent for

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