Mike Shanahan became the latest and most stunning victim of the NFL coaching purge, fired Tuesday by the Denver Broncos after a late-season collapse knocked the team out of the playoffs for the third straight year.
From the Associated Press:
Shanahan joined Eric Mangini, Rod Marinelli and Romeo Crennel on the unemployment line after going 24-24 over the last three seasons, including three straight losses in 2008 that turned a three-game division lead to an 8-8 record.
Despite that, and the 52-21 loss to the Chargers that ended Denver’s season Sunday, this was a shocker: The ouster of a 14-year coaching veteran who brought two Super Bowl titles to a city yearning for a championship and was considered my many in this town to be “coach for life.”
“After giving this careful consideration, I have concluded that a change in our football operations is in the best interests of the Denver Broncos,” owner Pat Bowlen said.
Shanahan, 56, was 146-89, but the Broncos remained stuck at only one postseason victory since John Elway retired in 1999 after Denver’s second championship.
This season was especially ugly. It included a historic collapse that saw Denver become the first team since divisional play started in 1967 to blow a three-game lead with three games left.
The Broncos’ defense gave up 448 points, third worst in the NFL, including 112 during the three-game collapse at the end. It was ranked 29th in yards allowed and tied for last in the NFL with a minus-17 turnover margin.
In years past, Shanahan had relieved defensive coordinators — Greg Robinson, Ray Rhodes, Larry Coyer and Jim Bates — in almost revolving-door fashion.