clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Why was Vance Joseph chosen to be the head coach of the Denver Broncos?

New, comments

John Elway stayed true to his philosophy and make no mistake; he hired the most qualified candidate interviewed.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

San Francisco 49ers 2010 Headshots Photo by NFL via Getty Images

The Denver Broncos interviewed three candidates for their head coaching vacancy; hiring their last interviewee in Vance Joseph. Many fans don’t understand why he would hire a defensively-minded coach over the hottest offensive coordinator in the NFL in Kyle Shanahan.

To answer that question, we should ask ourselves what makes a good head coach? To do that, I referenced a “Dos and Don’ts” guide to hiring a head coach published by Mike Nolan a few days ago.


... hire the hot candidate just because he is sexy and fans will approve.

... become enamored with (and hire) a coordinator from a top franchise with the thought that you will get the same results.

... allow the media or any other outside entities to drive your search.


Shanahan fits every single one of those criteria. Nolan breaks down each rather succinctly within the larger post, but the bullet points above offer enough insight to make the point he was trying to make.

The respect of a candidate should lie in a coach’s body of work, not for their success after a single year. Shanahan had plenty of red flags in his personality that should have given us all pause, but the offense was so bad in 2016 that fans readily swept those under the rug.

John Elway was right to ignore the media and fan hype around Shanahan and here is why:


... find someone who can assemble (and trust) a stellar staff.

... find someone who can work with the personnel man -- or stay the hell out of his way.

... know what you mean when you say you want a "leader."

Joseph solidly meets every single one of those criteria laid out by Nolan. All signs point towards Joseph filling his coaching staff with experience, intelligent and high-energy guys.

From Mike McCoy to run the offense to either Wade Phillips or a well-respected rising star in current Broncos defensive backs coach Joe Woods to handle the defense, Joseph is surrounding himself with the kind of talent that will enable the team to succeed. He plans to uphold the winning standard that Elway brought back to Denver in 2011.

The last part is ultimately where Joseph separated himself from all contenders. All reports coming in regarding Joseph’s most impressive quality is his leadership. Leadership means different things to different people, so for him to be able to command that kind of respect from his peers and his players is what should impress people the most.

We should expect to see a strong coaching staff in 2017. Joseph should keep much of the defensive coaching staff, but look for him and his eventual offensive coordinator to fill the offensive side of the coaching staff with fresh blood and new focus.

It’s an exciting time to be a Broncos fan!

Read more about Vance Joseph

1-on-1 interview with Head Coach Vance Joseph
BroncosTV's Matt Boyer talks with Head Coach Vance Joseph about the being selected to lead the Broncos and his excitement for this team going forward.

Broncos appoint Vance Joseph, 'a leader of men,' as new head coach
Joseph, a veteran of 12 seasons in the NFL, becomes the Broncos' 16th head coach.

Broncos appoint Vance Joseph, 'a leader of men,' as new head coach
Joseph, a veteran of 12 seasons in the NFL, becomes the Broncos' 16th head coach.

Chris Harris Jr. reacts to Broncos' hire of Vance Joseph
A member of the Broncos' No Fly Zone chimed in with his thoughts on Denver's new head coach.

What they're saying about new Broncos head coach Vance Joseph
Coaches who've worked with Joseph and players who learned under him and played against him talk about what kind of coach and man is now joining the Broncos.

Five things to know about Broncos' Head Coach Vance Joseph
Get to know the Broncos' new head coach.

Woody Paige: New coach Vance Joseph has been linked to Broncos for years | Colorado Springs Gazette
Vance Joseph missed opportunities to win three Super Bowls with the Broncos....

Kiszla: Hiring Vance Joseph, a black coach, to lead Broncos big step for NFL, Colorado
In a state that is overwhelming white, the new coach of the Denver Broncos is black. Vance Joseph was named Wednesday as the 18th African-American head coach in the NFL’s 96-year history, not counting interim hires. Does that matter? Oh, heck yeah. Let me tell you how much.

With Vance Joseph now in charge, Broncos turn quickly to fill his coaching staff – The Denver Post
After the Broncos hired first-time head coach Vance Joseph on Wednesday, he moved quickly to hire his top assistants from a mix of well-known veteran coaches and one up-and-coming name already on staff.

Vance Joseph: New Broncos head coach must fix offense |
Vance Joseph was fast-tracked to a head coaching gig largely based on his communication and leadership skills. But can he institute the right pieces t

New Broncos coach Vance Joseph already has key decisions to make
Denver's new head coach must quickly chart course by choosing coordinators.

Broncos have reached agreement with Vance Joseph to become their next head coach |
Vance Joseph has reached an agreement in principal to become the 16th head coach in Denver Broncos’ history.

Texans proud of new Broncos coach Vance Joseph - Houston Chronicle
Shortly after former Texans secondary coach Vance Joseph landed the Denver Broncos' head coaching job as the replacement for Gary Kubiak, his hiring was met with approval at NRG Stadium.