DENVER - OCTOBER 17: Head coach Josh McDaniels of the Denver Broncos celebrates a touchdown by quarterback Tim Tebow #15 in the first half against the New York Jets at INVESCO Field at Mile High on October 17 2010 in Denver Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Patience is a virtue. That's what we are told and many believe in that. At some point, among ballooning contracts and win-now expectations, patience became a dirty word, only whispered in private, and said by those that simply don't 'get it'. I don't know. It seems to me that the NFL has always been a perfect example of needing patience. Whether it be a quarterback or head coach, patience seems to be the right way more often than not.
I can't stand that the Broncos are 2-6. Part of me, however, is not surprised. I spent 4 days in Denver during Training Camp. During those 96 hours, the Broncos lost Elvis Dumervil for the season, Knowshon Moreno for all of Camp and the preseason, Correll Buckhalter for most of it. Players were dropping left and right. How can a team come together when they can't play together? Especially an offensive line that was young and coming off injury?
We all know about the injuries so I won't make this another regurgitation. I often hear, "good teams overcome that'. Perhaps, but do we have an example? Look at what the Broncos lost, for long periods of time, and see if you can find a team that has dealt with as much. Start, of course, with the Sack Leader from the season before. That is what Dumervil was - more than a Pro Bowler - he was the NFL's sack King
Back to the present. Much of the blame for where the Broncos are is being placed at the feet of Josh McDaniels. He is the coach, so he does deserve some of the blame, no doubt. Some must be placed at the feet of the players as well. Players will tell you a coach can only do so much. It is the responsibility of each man in that locker room to make sure they are mentally, physically and emotionally ready to play every Sunday. I believe that too.
So yes, Josh is responsible for what is happening. He is responsible for 2-6. He is responsible for 10-14 - his record as a head coach of the Broncos. Many fans are calling for his head, if not now, at the end of the season. Such is the win-now, knee-jerk society we live in. The problem is, there are different motivations that exist. Some have never like McDaniels. Some believe Mike Shanahan should have never been fired. Some wanted someone else to get the job, be it Steve Spagnuolo, Raheem Morrs, John Gruden, et al. I won't try and change the minds of those people - their minds are already made up. Their opinions are theirs and they are entitled.
What I wanted to do is go back to a time when patience WAS a virtue. When coaches were hired - and allowed - to BUILD a football team. I picked five examples. For the safe of reference, I have the age of the coach when he was hired and looked at his first two seasons.
|Tom Landry||36||Dallas Cowboys||4||20|
|Chuck Noll||37||Pittsburgh Steelers||6||22|
|Bill Walsh||48||San Francisco 49ers||8||24|
|Bill Parcells||42||New York Giants||12||19|
|Mike Shanahan||36||Los Angeles Raiders||8||12|
|Bill Belichick||39||Cleveland Browns||13||19|
Some pretty good names in that group. Some older than others but with a few things in common.
1. The combined record of the coaches above during their first 2 years is 51-116. (.305)
2. The five coaches above have a combined 16 Super Bowl Championships. That's 36% of ALL Super Bowls won.
Am I saying that Josh McDaniels will become one of the names above? Of course not. No one knows if he will - just like NO ONE KNOWS that he won't. That's the conundrum in all of this. Does McDaniels have what those guys had? Fortunately for us we don't have to make that decision. That is up to Pat Bowlen and Joe Ellis. What the list above SHOULD do is make you pause for just a second and think about it.
ONe other thing comes to mind when I look at the list. One of the names above wasn't given time to make it work - Mike Shanahan in LA. Al Davis fired Shanahan 4 games into his second season. We all know how that turned out. Firing a coach after just two years is something Al Davis does. The Raiders have been a laughing stock for much of the past decade because of it. Interestingly enough, after searching high and low for a replacement for Tom Cable the Raiders were forced to stick with him. The result? The Raiders are 4-4 and face the Chiefs in a crucial AFC West showdown this Sunday. Is Cable a great coach? Maybe, maybe not. What the move did was provide an unstable franchise with some stability. It is paying off.
Pat Bowlen's history is one of patience. The NFL is a game of patience. Perhaps we need some as well. It's not easy, but nothing worth anything usually is. Fire Josh McDaniels if you want, but I sure hope he doesn't appear on that list some day.