Denver Broncos’ Losing Season, Their Coach, Josh McDaniels

Just simply watch the opening plays of their last game of the season (2009) against the K.C. Chiefs. What I saw was a team with no heart. It was to me as if they were deliberately trying to “throw” the game, but I knew that could not ever be true. I immediately ascribed this cause for that first set of plays: the shenanigans of their coach leading up to the kickoff had taken out the heart of that team. He suspended several players, putting the screws to the team. Ah, I said, he’s young. Inexperienced. Inept. He has no business head-coaching. He coaches as a technician. He cannot know what an injured player feels the way that player does. He must accept, respect the player’s report on himself.

Josh McDaniels should do two things, either fire himself (as the sign said, “Bench Yourself”), or learn a big lesson in coaching, a lesson that any CEO, or manager, or executive, or boss has to learn, managing that originates the direction of the team from the team itself. Not a top down organization. Rather a bottom up organization. DERIVE the methods and rules and roles from the workers themselves, who were each hired for certain proven skills. Let their abilities dictate. The coach should be seen drawing out the objectives of the team from the team as a whole. Dignify them! Give them some credit for knowing what those objectives should be. I think it is possible to take a more democratic, inductive approach in coaching. Of course, I have no way of knowing what actually transpired in the team’s interaction with the coach. I can only reason from the result, as any fan might do.

I smelled the stink of dictatorshiop in that coach’s methods. Methods that may have produced the wierd season of wins and losses we fans got. My best explanation is that the coach was also hired because of his distinct position in a much admired organization, and he believed that it was his job to bring the success of his former team to the Broncos. That set him up in a set to install his system in Denver. The “pieces” did not fit. The crap hit the fan. The Broncos players had to deal with the ideology of the new coach, ideology being a set of ideas and behaviors in which the Broncos had no role in developing. (Sieg Heil!) A more participatory (democratic) approach might have been more advantageous for ther new coach. I am only speculating there.

I read in the paper a long story on the reports of coaches’ get-tough abuses of players. (Reminded me of the the drill seargent we had in basic training.) Some of the abuse of players has killed players. It is needless. Those Bronco football players are tough, strong, and smart (most with college degrees). Above all, they are professionals. Their professionalism can, and in that game eventually did assert itself—TOO LATE, as it turned out.

I think what the coach did was an expression more of his own inadequacy and ignorance of command principles. He is the keeper of the game plan, which he must turn over to the professionals to execute. The players know when they are incapable of measuring up, due to any injury. The coach implicitly accused one player of malingering. The team had to feel that injustice, as it might apply to them one day. I think it showed up in the game, and especially from the start.

I write this because I care, like a million others. It’s only a game. But, still…

The Broncos could do without that coach. His learning curve will be long and drawn out. But I know whose heads will roll to pay for the coaching problems, and they are fan favorites.

In a similar case, the coach at the university where I taught was just fired (TTU). I believe his troubles arose from a player-coach relationship that went wrong, somehow. I must withhold judgment because I do not know the essential facts about the player’s concussion. The celebrity of the player’s father complicated the affair when he is purported to have tried to pressure the coach regarding his son’s playing time. Now that coach is and was extremely popular and much loved by a great many. Except by the athletic director. The coach put that school and team on a much larger map. I hate to see him go.


The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

%d bloggers like this: