The theory behind the challenge flag is not all calls are perfect, and sometimes it's fair to be able to have the call reviewed to see if, perhaps, the wrong call had been made. Arguably many games have been turned around, yes, even won on reversed calls. Seasons turned around, but it is very rare that a call can have repercussions for years to come. This one most assuredly will. Now the question is will the repercussions of this call be for the good or the bad?
As with any divorce, amicable or nasty, there will be issues. Some short term and some long term ones, here's one opinion of the issues Broncos fans and players will have to deal with.
SOME SHORT TERM ISSUES
There is no question that the decisions that faced the Broncos prior to this call were really pretty few and very pronounced. Defense, defense, defense were the only three problems that really stood out. OK special teams but most of those problems were due to the turn-over due to injuries. OK one other problem. But all in all your looking at two things. Defensive tweaking, and maybe hiring some new strength and conditioning personnel and you have a great shot at 11-5 or even 12-4. Now you still have the defense/special teams problems and a whole lot more. The decisions are virtually endless and each one could have good or bad results. Starting with the front office, remember Shanny wasn't just the boss of the people on the field but everyone!!! From talent scouts and book keepers to assistant coaches and janitors. Well maybe that's an exaggeration but the whole chemistry of this team is gone. Will some of the ingredients be kept and some purged? Which to keep, which to purge? Will the elements that are kept, like Cutler, work as well as they did before? Now all of a sudden the short term questions have long term impact!!! Does the 20 million that Bowlen will keep paying Shanny over the three years have an impact on what coach/GM he can afford now? Or will have to resort to a stop-gap measure like he did with Wade Phillips before Shanny? Will they have a severe let down offensively if they go with a Head coach that is defensively minded? Will the new offensive coordinator grate on Cutler/Marshal & company or will it be a seamless transition?The questions abound!!!
LONG TERM ISSUES
The new staff comes into a tough situation. If they have some short term success (read...Callahan) most will say that it was because of the talent that Shanny had put together. If the team starts to tank (read...Turner) how long before the fans start calling for their heads? Or maybe Bowlen's head would become fair game (read...Davis) ? Especially if Shanny ends up in KC and dominates the Broncos as he dominated the last team that fired him!!! The scenarios before this call were pretty predictable, now? Without a Chrystal ball it's anyone's guess but if history has anything to say things will get worse before they get better as is the case in almost every divorce.
The bottom line is this call, as is the case in life, may be open to review but cannot be overturned no matter what the evidence points out, either now or over the next few years. Knowing that he will have the pick of the best jobs available around the NFL I am sure that Shanahan would much prefer the fans just kept that Red Flag safely tucked away in their back pocket anyway. Though the future may seem pretty bright for Shanahan right now (read... two paychecks every week for the next three years) the same can't be said of his former team!!! At best it's up in the air. Sometimes a family will look back and regret the path that was taken. Sometimes a family will look back and realize that, though painful, the path they chose was for the best. Without a Superbowl win in the next year or two I 'm guessing most Bronco fans will feel the former not the latter.