Around The Hoop

The Lie in London gets McDaniels canned

By Troy Hooper
Real AspenDecember 6, 2010
The Lie in London has taken down the coach of the Denver Broncos.

Former Denver Post star reporter Adam Schefter broke the news on ESPN this afternoon that football franchise owner Pat Bowlen has canned Josh McDaniels over growing dissent within the organization.

Denver Broncos fans haven't been very happy lately.

The axe falls the day after the Denver Broncos lost a close game to the Kansas City Chiefs — a game in which McDaniels made a controversial decision not to go for it on fourth down with just a couple minutes remaining in the game. McDaniels previously made it a habit of going for it on fourth down — but in situations that often did not seem to demand it — and had seen poor results.

McDaniels was hired to replace legendary coach Mike Shanahan. In his last 22 games, McDaniels led the team to a 5-17 record.

When the proud Denver football club was caught cheating in London recently, McDaniels' fate was sealed.

He swore he didn't look at the videotape that his assistant Steve Scarnecchia illegally filmed of the San Francisco 49ers' walk-through practice before the game in Wembley Stadium. Many people — including big-name former NFL players and coaches who aired their views on TV — didn't believe him. The NFL did. Maybe it was because the Broncos lost to the 49ers. The league fined the team and the coach $50,000 a piece — exponentially less than McDaniels' former organization, the New England Patriots, were penalized after it was caught cheating.

Whether or not the coach was believed, the scandal obliterated any last shreds of credibility McDaniels had left in Denver. All hope for the McDaniels-coached Broncos had become a lie. Fans would not cheer losers and cheats.

The videotape incident “resonated in the Broncos organization,” according to Schefter, and the coach's already warm seat became searing hot “ever since the NFL found the Broncos guilty of the illegal taping.”

With Pro Bowl players like quarterback Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshal gone, Schefter noted that the Denver franchise is widely viewed to be in a rebuilding mode. “They got rid of a lot of talent,” he said.

The firing of the embattled coach comes just days after he received the dreaded vote of confidence from his owner.

Schefter is reporting that Eric Studesville, the team's running backs coach, will lead in the interim.

It's too early to say who will permanently replace McDaniels. There are two years left on McDaniels' contract and Bowlen is already on the hook to pay Shanahan millions of dollars next year (just as he is this year despite the ex-coach's new job with the Washington Redskins). So experts say that Bowlen will soon likely have to pay three head coaches — Shanahan, McDaniels and whoever he hires — with a work stoppage threatening next season.

“My decision to relieve Josh McDaniels as head coach was not taken lightly. I will always be appreciative of his passion, enthusiasm and hard work, and I thank him for his efforts," Bowlen said in a statement released this evening. “In the end, I was not satisfied with the results and the direction this team was headed. The decision to make a change was extremely difficult but one that needed to be made for this organization and our fans.

“Everyone, myself included, is accountable for our disappointing season and is now responsible for restoring the culture of winning that has been established by this franchise. Our entire organization is completely focused on returning to the level of prosperity that our fans expect and deserve from the Denver Broncos.”

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