The news that Mike Shanahan had been fired came across the wire as I was stuffing my face full of peanut butter chocolate christmas tree. I'm not one to shock easily, but some tree nearly fell out of my mouth before I realized it was hanging open. I've heard all the reasons why he had to go from the fair-weather Bronco fans, and they're all complete and utter BS. Strip him of the VP of Operations role if you must, but in the end there is no better head football coach out there right now than Shanny. Did he fail to challenge a play he should have? Did he forget to watch film of the Chargers last week? I'm pretty sure he knows which way the wind is blowing and when to defer the overtime coin toss unlike Jeff Fisher. The bottom line is this a mistake and there isn't someone better out there to replace him.
My lasting image of Coach Shanahan will always be from Super Bowl 33 - watching him on the sidelines, pouring over the photos of the Falcons defense. He goes over to the bench with Elway and shows him what he's seeing, and he's saying "it's going to be wide open!". Morten Anderson misses a chip-shot field goal, and on the very next play Elway loads it up and throws an 80 yard bomb to Rod Smith for the touchdown that effectively ended the game. He earned his title of "Mastermind" and a few first round-draft-pick-defensive-busts will never change that. I wish him the best of luck in whatever he decides to do next, and sincerely hope that he goes to the Lions or something and has them in the Super Bowl in three years time. Maybe then Bronco-nation will realize it just made a pretty big mistake.