For whatever reason, the Broncos firing of Mike Shanahan came as a surprise to me. He had made a lot of bad decisions in recent seasons, but he was such an institution in Denver that I never expected him to be fired. I always expected him to leave on his own terms.
Lots of great fan reaction at Mile High Report here.
Maybe this comment sums it up:
"I am shocked by this transgression, only because I never, in my wildest dreams thought Bowlen would fire Shannahan. I do have to say though, I am reinvigorated with excitement by this move. The Broncos have fallen into a trap of mediocrity not seen by this organization in quite some time. It seems as if Shannahan is losing his edge and has become stale to the players. Sometimes all you need is new blood to get things kick-started again. You also have to realistically sit down and look at what we are losing here. Lets face it, the Broncos have been a very, very ordinary team since 1998. We have had 1 single playoff win and now 3 straight seasons of missing the playoffs. Top that off with Shannahan’s lackluster personnel moves and his teams consistently fading and getting worse as the season wears on and I am not too sure we are not going to be in better hands as of now with someone else. People talk about us being such a great team, but, like I said, we really haven’t been. Just look at the facts."
One of Shanahan's biggest mistakes was hiring ex-Green Bay Packer defensive coordinator Bob Slowik. Defensive coordinators aren't great if their players aren't great, but Slowik has the tendency to coach on a lot of bad defenses. At some point you've got to look at the coach. Slowik was one of ex-head coach Mike Sherman's biggest mistakes. After Ed Donnatel was fired for the 4th and 26 playoff fiasco in Philadelphia, Slowik was hired and the defense went from respectable to awful. Especially the secondary. It fell apart in 2004. After Slowik was canned, the pass coverage was significantly better in 2005, despite the fact that CB Ahmad Carroll remained the starting CB. Despite his awful resume, Slowik was hired by Denver and then even promoted in 2007 to defensive coordinator. After two seasons with Slowik at the helm, Bronco fans are wondering how to rebuild the defense.