Maybe, Just Maybe . . .

DENVER - OCTOBER 24: Fans of the Denver Broncos look on during the second quarter against the Oakland Raiders at INVESCO Field at Mile High on October 24 2010 in Denver Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

     Maybe, just maybe, there is nothing remotely redeeming in losing to the Raiders by forty-five points in our own stadium. Maybe, just maybe, we should give up on the coaches, the players, the season. Maybe, just maybe, we shouldn't.

     Maybe, just maybe, my view of the Broncos is being filtered through the fact that I had to wait four years after my parents moved to Denver to the Broncos have a winning season. Maybe, just maybe, it is filtered through the fact that I then had to wait five more years before I got to see the Broncos play in the post season. Maybe, just maybe, it is filtered through the fact that my job is about trying to salvage kids that everyone else has given up on. Maybe, just maybe, this is why my first response is to look for something to salvage in all of this. Maybe, just maybe there isn't anything to salvage. Maybe, just maybe there is.


Maybe, just maybe, after the jump we can take a step back, breath and look at things a bit more calmly.

     Maybe, just maybe, emotions are running a bit high these days. Rage, frustration, disappointment are just a few of the things running rampant among Broncos fans. The loss to Oakland merely exacerbated the morass of what we're feeling. Isn't that a great phrase? You can thank my daughter for using it in her valedictorian address. Exacerbate can mean "to increase the severity, bitterness, or violence of; aggravate." It can also mean "to embitter the feelings of a person; irritate; exasperate." A morass, in this instance is "any confusing or troublesome situation, especially one from which it is difficult to free oneself."

     Maybe, just maybe, that phrase fits what we, as fans, are going through right now: we are caught in a confusing, troublesome situation from which we cannot free ourselves, and much of our frustration, disappointment and rage over that situation is leading us to increase -- in our own minds -- the severity and bitterness of that situation. As a result, our conversations become intemperate. Positions become cast in stone, lines are drawn, sides taken up, perspectives defended zealously. Maybe, just maybe, we find ourselves withdrawing into "us versus them" mentalities. Only it is no longer the Broncos against the world, it's fan against fan, fan against the team, fan against coaches or players. Well, maybe, just maybe, you already get that point.

     Maybe, just maybe, as some want to posit, the head coach is the problem. Maybe, just maybe, he isn't. There are so many factors that have come into play this season -- injuries, rotating players into and out of position, questionable play-calling, brilliant play-calling, refereeing, etc. These topics have been discussed, debated, beaten down until there is little point in rehashing them here. I would, however, like to bring one thing to your attention -- that some fans are vociferously calling for McDaniels to be replaced. Before we go too far with that call, we might want to consider what has happened when teams have replaced their head coach in mid-stream.

     Maybe, just maybe it's a good idea. Maybe, just maybe, it's not. Over the last twelve years -- that period since Denver last won a Super Bowl -- twelve teams have replaced their head coach in mid-stream -- Atlanta even did this twice. Those teams were:

Arizona Coach Previous Season Midstream Following Season
1990-2000 Tobin 6-10 2-5
2000-2001 McGinnis 1-8 7-9

     McGinnis never had a winning season. Arizona waited for eight more seasons before having a winning season and a play off appearance.

Atlanta (Part 1) Coach Previous Season Mid-Stream Following Season
1999-2003 Reeves 9-6-1* 3-10
2003 Phillips 2-1 N/A

     The * indicates that Reeves took the Falcons to the playoffs that year. Phillips did not return as Atlanta's head coach the following year. He was replaced by Mora who went 11-5 and earned a post season appearance.

Atlanta (Part 2) Coach Previous Season Mid-Stream Following Season
2007 Petrino N/A 3-10
2007 Thomas 1-2 N/A

     Petrino replaced Mora after Mora had gone 7-9 the previous season. Thomas did not return as head coach the following season. He was replaced by Smith who went 11-5 and earned a post season appearance.

Buffalo Coach Previous Season Mid-Stream Following Season
2006-2009 Jauron 7-9 3-6
2009 Fewell 3-4 N/A

     Fewell did not return as head coach the following season. He was replaced by Gailey who has gone 0-6 so far.

Cincinnati Coach Previous Season Mid-Stream Following Season
1999-2000 Coslet 4-12 0-3
2000-2002 LeBeau 4-9 6-10

     LeBeau never had a winning season. Cincinnati had to wait five more seasons before experiencing a winning season and a post season appearance.

Cleveland Coach Previous Season Mid-Stream Following Season
2001-2004 Davis 5-11 3-7
2004 Robiskie 1-5 N/A

     Robiskie did not return as head coach the following season. Cleveland had to wait three more seasons before experiencing a winning season. The Browns have not had a playoff appearance since the switch.

Detroit Coach Previous Season Mid-Stream Following Season
1999-2000 Ross 8-8* 5-4
2000 Moeller 4-3 N/A

     Ross took the Lions to the post season prior to the midstream switch. Moeller did not return as head coach the following season. Detroit has not had a winning season since the switch.

Miami Coach Previous Season Mid-Stream Following Season
2000-2004 Wannstedt 10-6 1-8
2004 Bates 3-4 N/A

     Bates did not return as head coach the following season. Miami had a winning season the following year, but then had to wait three more years for a second winning season and a post season appearance.

Minnesota Coach Previous Season Mid-Stream Following Season
1999-2001 Green 11-5* 5-10
2001-2005 Tice 0-1 6-10

     Green led the Vikings to the post season in the season prior to the switch. Minnesota had to wait two years for a winning season. The Vikings then had to wait another year before experiencing a post season appearance.

Oakland Coach Previous Season Mid-Stream Following Season
2007-2008 Kiffin 4-12 1-3
2008-2010 Cable 4-8 3-4

     Oakland has not had a winning season since the switch.

San Francisco Coach Previous Season Mid-Stream Following Season
2005-2006 Nolan 5-11 2-5
2006-2010 Singletary 5-4 8-8

     San Francisco has not had a winning season since the switch.

St. Louis Coach Previous Season Mid-Stream Following Season
2000-2005 Martz 8-8* 2-3
2005 Vitt 4-7 N/A

     Martz took the Rams to the post season prior to the mid-stream switch. Vitt did not return as head coach the following season. St. Louis has not had a winning season since the switch.

Washington Coach Previous Season Mid-Stream Following Season
1999-2000 Turner 10-6* 7-6
2000 Robiskie 1-2 N/A

     Turner took the Redskins to the post season prior to the mid-stream switch. Robiskie did not return as head coach the following season. Washington had to wait five years before experiencing a winning season and a post season appearance.

Some Things to Note About Mid-Season Coaching Changes in the Last Twelve Years


1)Only three of those coaches had winning records in the remainder of that season (Atlanta - Phillips 2-1, Detroit - Moeller 4-3, San Francisco - Singletary 5-4)

2)Seven of those teams did not retain the replacement coach the following season.

3)Only two teams had a winning season in the season after the switch (Atlanta did it twice, Miami once).

4)The fastest any other team had a winning season was two years.

5)Two teams had to wait five years for a winning season.

6)One team had to wait eight years for a winning season.

7)Five teams have not had a winning season since their mid-stream switch.

8)Only Atlanta reached the playoffs in the season after the switch.

9)The fastest any other team reached the playoffs was three years.

10)Two teams had to wait five years for a playoff berth.

11)One team had to wait eight years for a playoff berth.

12)Five teams have not made the playoffs since the switch.

     Maybe, just maybe, the historical record suggests that a mid-season coaching change is more likely to be detrimental to the team, not only in the short term, but in the long term as well.

Maybe, just maybe, we should be careful what we wish for.

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