Former Broncos WR Thinks Denver Should Hire a Familiar Face as HC

Mike Shanahan

Getty Former Denver Broncos HC Mike Shanahan on the sidelines.

Since the Denver Broncos are diving into their head coaching search immediately, there’s one name that has come up from a former Broncos wide receiver.

Brandon Stokley of 104.3 The Fan in Denver, said that he would like to see the Broncos go out and hire former Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan.

“This guy knows quarterback play, this guy knows offensive football, this guy knows the coaches that are out there to help him be successful.”

Stokley, who played under Shanahan for two years, continued to explain that the Broncos have been a disaster since their Super Bowl 50 victory and something needs to change the trend.

This [team] has been a mess since post-Peyton Manning, post-Super Bowl. This is the new owners in town, how about if they unveil Mike Shanahan 2.0?”

Stokley mentioned that Denver needs an adult in the locker room that can standup to quarterback Russell Wilson when he needs to.

“Mike [Shanahan] don’t play. You got a grownup; you got an adult that’s been through it and will put Russ [Wilson] in place when he needs to be put in place.”

Shanahan was the head coach for three teams, the Raiders, Broncos, and then-Redskins. During those 20 years, Shanahan ranks 15th all-time in wins with an overall record of 170-138.

While in Denver, Shanahan won back-to-back Super Bowls joining Vince Lombardi, Don Shula, Chuck Noll, Jimmy Johnson, and Bill Belichick as the only six coaches to ever win back-to-back championships.

During his time in Denver, Shanahan had an overall record of 148-86 and won at least 10 games in seven of the 14 years he was there.

In 27 seasons as a head coach or offensive coordinator, Shanahan appeared in the playoffs 14 times and made it to the conference championship nine times. In five Super Bowl appearances, Shanahan would close out his career with three Lombardi Trophies (one as an assistant).

Shanahan was inducted into the Broncos’ Ring of Fame in 2021 as the team’s 34th member.

Former Player Praised Shanahan’s Offense

When you look at today’s NFL and see how creative offenses have gotten, you can thank one person and that’s Shanahan.

Shanahan has been placed under the Bill Walsh coaching tree with the “West Coast” offense, but as time moved forward, he updated the offense and made it his own.

With the success of his running game, Shanahan was able to revolutionize the play-action pass. John Elway and Jake Plummer were famous for making that play work in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Super Bowl champion Tyler Polumbus is a former offensive tackle that played under Shanahan while in Denver and in Washington and had high praises for the offense.

“West coast football is old school. It is also invincible and will never die. When you run the ball well everything works.” Polumbus continued to tell me, “Every play Mike ever called was with the intention of setting up the next five plays. The passing game was built off the run game and it all tied together.”

Shanahan hasn’t coached since 2013, but his offensive scheme is still dominating the NFL as we speak. His son Kyle Shanahan has upgraded the scheme and runs it today as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. The offense has worked so well, that San Francisco has appeared in a Super Bowl and most recently the NFC Championship game last season.

We even saw the offensive scheme combine in last year’s Super Bowl with Sean McVay’s Rams and Zac Taylor’s Bengals. Those aren’t the only coaches going to run this offense this season. The Packers, Vikings, Falcons, Jets, Browns, Dolphins, and Broncos will all be running their own versions of Shanahan’s offense.

“It’s obvious that Mike is a bona fide Hall of Famer” according to Polumbus.

Shanahan is Still Connected

Even though Shanahan isn’t a coach on the sideline wearing a headset, he’s still connected and having an impact in today’s game.

Per sources, Shanahan has a key card for the 49ers’ building to help his son Kyle, who is San Francisco’s head coach.

The two talk on a consistent basis and the two-time Super Bowl champion goes over game plans and films with his son.

A former 49ers coach also told me that Shanahan can tune into any of the teams meeting rooms and listen in on the meeting.

Shanahan still watches film on a regular basis and it’s fair to suggest that he’s not out of the loop in today’s NFL.

This move could get Broncos fans excited and bring some energy back into the building.