In the corporate world, winning 50 percent of the time will find you on the streets searching for your next job. Well, that's exactly where Mike Shanahan finds himself this morning after the Denver Broncos' owner, Pat Bowlen decided to release him from his GM and coaching duties yesterday.
Shanahan has been a celebrated and respected coach in the league for many years, reflecting on his back-to-back Super Bowl victories in the late '90s.
Most football fans outside of Denver show little surprise by this move, reflecting on the only thing consistent about Shanahan's post-Super-Bowl era is inconsistency. Bottom line, results underpin this action—since the Super Bowl victories, five of 10 winning seasons and four playoff appearances with only one win.
And, a seriously disappointing season this year—like most of their games, coming into a very strong start and a complete fizzle in the latter stretches of the season.
Most agree that Shanahan is a legendary football coach but has had big-time troubles in the draft and with personnel management. Despite huge promise on the offensive side of the ball with some very strong, young personnel, the defensive unit lacks any real direction and leadership.
Trade and draft busts over the years have found the Broncos defense at the bottom of the league statistics over the past three years.
Undoubtedly, we'll find Shanahan on the sidelines of either an NFL franchise or a major university. If Shanahan stays in the NFL, it'll be hard to imagine he would have such broad management responsibilities as he did in Denver, which might tempt Mike to jump at a collegiate opportunity in places like Florida, Penn State, or Notre Dame.
Either way, he is a huge coaching talent that will be heavily sought after by many teams.
So, who's going to run the sidelines for the Broncos' next season? In making such a dramatic move with his coaching change, Bowlen undoubtedly had some alternatives in mind or in hand. With such a young and fragmented team currently, a more experienced coach is required rather than an experiment with an younger or unproven coach.
My money is on a big-name head coach that is either lured from another franchise or from retirement—Bill Cowher, Jimmy Johnson, John Gruden, and Mike Holmgren would be great choices! These experienced coaches can develop the young offensive talent and leadership, and make sense of the defensive scheme and personnel.
So, like the motto that carried Barack Obama to his presidential victory, Bronco fans need to resort now to "hope and change" as we await next season. Good luck to Mr. Bowlen in his difficult decisions ahead.