After being released by the Broncos and picked up by the Kansas City Chiefs last week, Kyle Orton likely has some mixed feelings about his tenure in Denver. After all, Orton has been on a bit of a roller-coaster ride since joining the team, with Josh McDaniels, John Elway and (most of all) Tim Tebow making his football life anything but simple. So he’s probably looking forward to starting over in KC, and putting this chapter of his career behind him.
Fortunately for us, the guys over at comedy troupe Landlocked Pioneers put together this spoof video of Orton bidding a fond farewell to Denver, with a dead ringer playing the role of a surly, beer-swilling Kyle … who is also clearly hurting inside:
“My rockin Neckbeard!!!
And living in Colorado, I can tell you that they nailed the local references to IKEA and the DIA “demon horse”. Awesome.
Read our recap of Part 2 HERE
We, along with the rest of the sports-geek community, have been anxiously awaiting the premier of NFL Network’s new special, Bill Belichick: A Football Life. We’re big fans of all these mic’d up segments, and can’t get enough of the insight the NFL Films crew provides into the game we love so much. But after watching part 1, which aired Thursday night, let’s just say we’ve got mixed feelings.
Back in 2009, Belichick agreed to be the first person to be wired for sound by NFL Films for an entire year, promising an unprecedented look at the enigmatic coach’s life inside and outside the game. And while it’s certainly fascinating to hear Belichick do what he does best – like game-planning with Tom Brady for the Baltimore Ravens and Ed Reed, and working with his players and coaches – ultimately, Belichick is a guy who doesn’t talk very much … which doesn’t make for the most exciting television in the world. Even when relaxing on a boat, in the glimpses we get at his relationship with his son, and when he’s trying to relate with his players and be funny, Belichick is about as dry a character as they come. In fact, Deadspin has a hilarious “highlights” reel from the show, jam-packed with all the moments showing The Hoodie at his most grumbly. I mean, let’s face it, Rex Ryan, he ain’t.
But even still, Belichick is an unqualified football genius, and there is plenty here for Patriots fans and football nerds to geek out over. The trailer (below) gives you a pretty good idea of what to expect, and here’s list of standout moments from the program, with a couple of clips to whet your appetite. Even if the personalities might not be as dynamic as we might like, we’ll definitely be setting the DVR to record Part 2:
- The most notable highlight is when Belichick strolls through the bowels of Giants Stadium and gets teary-eyed (VIDEO BELOW) while reminiscing about his time spent there cutting his teeth as a defensive coach under Bill Parcells. It’s by far the most human we’ve ever seen the guy.
- Getting into some smack talk with Ravens WR Derrick Mason, in which he tells him to “Shut the f*ck up” and “Look at the scoreboard” (VIDEO BELOW)
- Joking with Chad Ochocino, then with the Bengals,telling him he might as well take the night off because the Pats were going to double-team him.
- Before the Denver game, Belichick shared a handshake with his former pupil Josh McDaniels, during which they agreed to just wave after the game.
- The aforementioned game-planning for the Ravens, and Belichick telling Ed Reed before the game that he’s the best free safety he has ever seen.
VIDEO AFTER THE JUMP
There was some fairly big news in Denver this week that seems to be flying under the radar of the national media, what with all the other coaching changes in the league and the build-up to the playoffs. On Wendesday, the Broncos introduced John Elway as their new executive vice president of football operations, in hopes that the Hall of Fame QB can restore his former team to greatness.
As we all know, Elway led the Broncos to 5 Super Bowl appearances including back-to-back championships during his 16-year career in Denver. All week, Denver sports radio has been atwitter from the announcement, with people who believe he can return the Broncos to their days of glory. On the heels of the Josh McDaniels era, which left the franchise as something of a laughing stock, the Broncos fanbase is ready to latch onto anything that might bring a glimmer of hope in turning things around. And there’s no question that with Elway, you’re getting a guy who has no agenda other than winning football games for the city of Denver. The guy has been an icon around Colorado for almost 30 years, from football to car dealerships to steak houses. And he has already injected an air of excitement around the Broncos not seen in ages. Well, in at least 12 years, when Elway went out on top after winning the Super Bowl in January of 1999.
And Elway is clearly a proven winner, having won as both a player and a football excecutive, albeit for the Arena Football League’s Colorado Crush, who he built up from nothing as its co-owner and CEO to win a championship in 2005. During his press conference, perhaps one of the best things Elway said was “I know what I don’t know”, and that he’d work to overcome that inexperience as fast as possible. Although, with a Stanford education (despite the clunky sentence structure in the quote below … I’ll chalk that up to nervousness) and a father who was a career head coach, you have to like his chances at success:
“I do not know everything about this job, but I cannot wait to learn as much as I can about the job,” he said. “I am thrilled to be back with the Broncos, I am thrilled to be back in football. I get on the football field and it makes my heart pump.”
“Why am I here? I love the Broncos,” Elway said. “I understand what the Broncos are all about. They are about the integrity, about the winning and about the things that you do and how you handle yourself.”
Winners in BOLD.
All italics taken from The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath.
Indianapolis @ Tennessee:
“But even as I ran from room to room, trying to close the fourteen or fifteen windows on the side where the rain was coming in, it was too late, and the stills wet with puddles, and the water was collecting in streams along the floor.“
Cleveland @ Buffalo:
“It is the bold, the loud-mouthed, the cruel, the vital, the revolutionaries, the mighty in arms and will, who march over the soft patient flesh that lies beneath their cleated boots.”
Cincinnati @ Pittsburg:
“I have been feeling like a ‘new person.’ Like a shot of brandy went home, a sniff of cocaine, hit me where I live and I am alive & so there. Better than shock treatment.”
Green Bay @ Detroit:
“Another day in Hell”
Denver @ Arizona:
“Get a job. Learn shorthand at night. NOTHING EVER REMAINS THE SAME.”
Seattle @ San Francisco:
“Please, think – snap out of this. Believe in some beneficent force beyond your own limited self. God, god, god: where are you? I want you, need you: the belief in you and love and mankind.”
Philadelphia @ Dallas:
“How long, since I noticed stars; no longer, now, mere inane pinpricks on a smothering sky of cheap cloth.“
NY Giants @ Minnesota:
“A lifetime is not long enough. Nor youth to old age long enough. Immortality and permanence be damned. Sure I want them, but they are nonexistent, and won’t matter when I rot underground. All I want to say is: I made the best of a mediocre job. It was a good fight while it lasted. And so life goes.”
Miami @ NY Jets:
“The first day of swelter: grey, wet, warm rain making a slither of streets. A dog barks far off. The milk bottle sweat drops, the butter slumps. The house begins to look untidy again.”
Tampa Bay @ Washington:
“Amazing how money would simplify problems like ours. We wouldn’t go wild at all, but write & travel & study all our lives – which I hope we do anyway. And have a house apart, by the side of no road, with country about & a study & walls of bookcases.”
The Denver Broncos have just announced the they have fired Head Coach Josh McDaniels. Running Backs Coach Eric Studesville will take over as interim head coach for the remainder of the season. Via the Broncos’ Twitter account:
Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen has relieved Josh McDaniels of his head coaching duties. Details to follow on DenverBroncos.com.
Wow. Just wow. More than anything, the timing of this announcement is the biggest surprise here. Although it comes less than two full seasons after McDaniels took the reigns in Denver, the brash 34-year-old coach seemingly had a cloud of controversy following him since his arrival.
From the very start, McDaniels clashed with talented players like Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall and Peyton Hillis, and most recently, the Broncos were fined for videotaping a 49ers walkthrough practice earlier this year. After starting off the 2008 season 6-0, McDaniels has gone 5-17 since then (including losing 7 of his last 8 games) to finish his career in Denver with a final record of 11-17. On Sunday, Denver fell to 3-9 on the season after losing to division rival Kansas City Chiefs, and the “Fire McDaniels” chants grew louder in the Mile High City.
But it seems that Spygate II was the final straw for Bowlen, who above all else, values his franchise’s integrity and reputation as a class organization. And with McDaniels at the helm, it was starting to become increasingly difficult for the Broncos to maintain that image.
Yesterday, we posted this story, which put forth the rumor that Josh McDaniels ran Peyton Hillis out of Denver because Hillis had put the moves on McDaniels’ wife. The rumor was originally attributed to 104.3 the Fan in Denver by a Broncos message board. Knowing that internet forums aren’t exactly the most reliable sources, we reached out to the station to confirm whether or not Mark Schlereth and/or Alfred Williams actually said such a thing on their radio show (The Drive) earlier this week.
D-Mac (the host of the show) wrote back to let us know that it is absolutely untrue, and they have no idea where that rumor got started. We’re not really in the business of rumor mongering, so we apologize for any part we had in perpetuating this one.
But regardless, we still have to question McDaniels’ handling of Hillis during their time together. And we still want to know why the coach seemingly disliked Hillis so much when he got to Denver. At the very least, the Broncos have to seriously examine McDaniels’ eye for talent, and whether or not he should be handling the personnel decisions for the team.
UPDATE: We have confirmed with 104.3 the Fan in Denver that this rumor is 100% False. See here for more details.
Could that really be why McDaniels’ has seemingly hated Hillis since the two were both in Denver together? Its that why the brash young head coach was so eager to jettison such a talented running back from his team without ever letting him see the field?
That was the word on the street according to BroncosForums, where it was falsely reported that a Denver radio station said it was common knowledge around the Broncos organization that Hillis made the moves on McDaniels wife … Josh supposedly got wind of it, and that was it for Hillis.
And even though this report turned out to be false, for Broncos fans, it’s a legitimate question to wonder why Hillis never got a shot under McDaniels. I mean, there had to be something that blinded McDaniels to the guy’s obvious talents and nearly give Hillis away to Cleveland, right?
Let’s face it, McDaniels hasn’t exactly won over a lot of new fans this season, in leading the Broncos to a 3-8 record and continuing to make some seriously questionable decisions since his arrival on the scene in Denver. And one of the strangest scenarios of his short tenure has revolved around Hillis, who led the Broncos in rushing with 353 yards in 6 starts during his rookie year in 2008. But he never really got a chance to show his stuff once McDaniels took over for Mike Shanahan the following year. Denver drafted Knowshon Moreno to be the feature back, and Hillis seemed to be planted firmly in McDaniels’ doghouse, carrying the ball only 13 times in 2009. McDaniels then cut ties entirely with Hillis, trading him to the Cleveland Browns for Brady Quinn and a draft pick. The only thing close to an explanation McDaniels ever gave was that Hillis “didn’t fit the system”.
¶ As C-O-U-R-T-N-E-Y reported earlier this week, AOL’s Fanhouse released a story Monday with quotes from Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen in favor of retaining coach Josh McDaniels through 2011 — but the team has moved into damage-control mode.
Asked directly if McDaniels would be kept, Bowlen initially told Fanhouse reporter Thomas George: “Yes he will. I am not interested in making a coaching change.”
George quotes Bowlen as saying, “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.”
After the story went viral, the team hastily issued a release that tempered Bowlen’s support, at least a bit.
“This has been a very trying and disappointing season for all of us,” Bowlen said in the written statement. “We haven’t had the success we had hoped to achieve. 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.”
Reports out of Denver are that Josh McDaniels will return next year to coach the Broncos. Although the franchise has been in serious damage control of late with Spygate II and the team’s lousy performance on the field, retaining him is not as big a surprise as people may think. Uncertainty over the league’s collective bargaining agreement has a lot of franchises hesitant to pay a new coach to sit around and do nothing (while paying an old coach to sit around and do nothing).
I also think the Broncos don’t want this to be the next Mike Shanahan (Raiders—>Broncos) or Bill Belichick (Browns—>Patriots) situation. Where McDaniels needs help is in the personnel department. The Broncos have made some wildly bad trades (see Peyton Hillis for Brady Quinn), run some serious talent out of town (see Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall), and wildly over-thought draft day decisions (see trading up for Tim Tebow, drafting Knowshon Mereno, this list could go on).
While McDaniels isn’t soley responsible for these moves (they do have a GM, Brian Xanders), a lot of their personnel moves clearly have McDaniels’ name all over them. McDaniels has made a ton of mistakes, but my guess is that the Broncos also think he has learned from them and will look to build on what he has learned rather than starting over all over again. The timing of it also telling: saying he will return next year in the face of SpygateII and an increasingly hostile fan base shows that a lot of people (or, at least, people that matter) within the Broncos’ organization must still believe in McDaniels.
UPDATE: check out this fascinating tweet from Jay Glazer, which presents some serious implications for Bill Belichick’s Patriots:
Just reported that Josh McDaniels in staff mtg on fri said latest video tape scandal isn’t like SpyGate bc that was practiced & coached.
The big news this weekend is that the Denver Broncos and head coach Josh McDaniels have each been fined $50k for videotaping six minutes of a 49ers walkthrough practice on October 30th. This was just one day before the two teams met in London at Wembley Stadium … a game which Denver lost. The Broncos have fired video operations director Steve Scarnecchia, who was responsible for taping the practice.
According to the Broncos, nobody on their staff actually watched the video, but they admit to failing to report the incident to the league, thinking it was simply an internal matter. On Saturday, McDaniels released a statement in which he denied any role in the recording, but apologized for not reporting it sooner:
“We certainly did not view or do anything with the footage, and he was made aware that it was something we didn’t condone in our organization. I failed to follow through and report it to the proper individuals in our organization and with the league.
“This incident is in no way representative of what the Broncos stand for, and in no way representative of what I stand for as the head coach of this organization — and for that, I take responsibility. I understand the punishment that the league has handed me and our team, and we have addressed this situation with our entire organization to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.”
As we all know, before becoming the head coach of the Broncos, McDaniels was a member of the Patriots staff. In fact, he was the offensive coordinator there in 2007, when the original Spygate scandal broke under Bill Belichick. And Sarnecchia himself was a member of the Patriots video crew from 2000-2004. So once can’t help but wonder if this is starting to become a pattern. But the punky young coach maintains his innocence in this case, saying that Sarnecchia acted alone. But do NFL video guys make a habit of recording things without direct instruction from someone above them?