Photo shows Josh McDaniels (left) with owner Pat Bowlen in January, 2009. Today the smiles are gone.
Under McDaniels the Broncos lost 9 of their last 12 games this year and lost 17 of their last 22 games. A terrible record for a once proud team that had been on the verge of the playoffs in recent years and had back to back Super Bowl wins a decade ago.
An entry in the ESPN NFL blog asks:
Can you blame the Denver Broncos for firing Josh McDaniels?
Perhaps no NFL coach in recent memory has torn down a team as quickly as McDaniels, who was hired as a 32-year-old hot shot in January 2009 and fired less than 23 months later.
When McDaniels took over, the Broncos were on the doorstep of the playoffs and were a team that just needed some tinkering and refreshing after the 14-year Mike Shanahan era grew stale. McDaniels leaves Denver after 28 games with the franchise in terrible shape and without a true identity.
McDaniels gaffes include:
1. Parting ways with Mike Nolan, a very successful defensive coordinator.
2. Alienated Pro Bowl quarterback Jay Cutler who demanded a trade and now is likely on his way to the playoffs with the Chicago Bears.
3. Sending successful running back Peyton Hillis off to Cleveland for third-string quarterback Brady Quinn.
4. Trading Denver’s No.1 draft pick in 2010 for cornerback Alphonso Smith in the second round in 2009. Smith didn't work out and is gone.
5. The videotape incident when Bronco video director filmed a San Francisco 49er walk-through and planned to film a 49er practice. It was determined that McDaniels was aware of the plan.
The ESPN report ends by saying, "The timing of his firing may have been a surprise, but in the end it was deserved."