Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Mike Shanahan

This blog has always been about Broncos players, but I find it fitting to put in the winningest coach in franchise history in today's spot. Mike was fired yesterday after going 138-86 in 14 seasons. Here is his wikipedia page:

Michael Edward Shanahan (born August 24, 1952) is a former American football head coach, most recently for the Denver Broncos. He led the Broncos to back-to-back Super Bowl victories in 1998 and 1999. He is the father of Houston Texans Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan.
1 Early career
2 NFL career
2.1 San Francisco 49ers
2.2 Denver Broncos
3 Head coaching record
4 Accomplishments
5 Personal
6 References
7 External links

Early career
Shanahan played high school football at East Leyden High School, where he played wishbone quarterback. He had the single-game rushing record until 1976 when it was broken by Dennis Cascio. The record is now held by Ricky Emery. Shanahan was an undersized quarterback at Eastern Illinois University in the 1970s before a hard hit on the practice field ruptured one of his kidneys, nearly killing him.[citation needed]
With his playing career abruptly ended, Shanahan entered coaching. After graduation, he served as an assistant coach at Northern Arizona University and the University of Oklahoma. He then returned to his alma mater as offensive coordinator and helped his school win the Division II football championship. Shanahan also worked at the University of Florida and the University of Minnesota, turning around both schools and making them into offensive powerhouses, before making the jump to the NFL.

NFL career
Shanahan served as a quarterbacks coach and later offensive coordinator for the Broncos under Dan Reeves in the 1980s and had a brief stint as the head coach of the Los Angeles Raiders in 1988–89. He went 8–12 with the Raiders in less than two seasons before being fired and returning to the Broncos as an offensive assistant again under Reeves. Shanahan was later fired by Reeves after finding himself in the middle of a growing feud between Reeves and quarterback John Elway.

San Francisco 49ers
In 1992, Shanahan was hired as offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers on George Seifert's staff, capping his rise with a Super Bowl victory after the 1994 season. The 49ers offense that year has been hailed as one of the greatest of all time, with the likes of Steve Young, Jerry Rice, Brent Jones, John Taylor, William Floyd and Ricky Watters scoring points in flurries. His years under Seifert placed him in the Bill Walsh coaching tree.

Denver Broncos
Shanahan's success with the 49ers earned him a head coaching spot once more, this time back in Denver with the Broncos beginning in 1995. Shanahan led Elway and the Broncos to back-to-back Super Bowl championships in the 1997 and 1998 seasons, during which time the Broncos set a then-record for victories in two seasons. He was the last coach to win two consecutive titles until New England's Bill Belichick did it during the 2003 and 2004 NFL seasons. Between 1996-1998, the Broncos set the NFL record for victories by going 46–10 over a three-year span. The 1998 Broncos won their first 13 games on their way to a 14–2 mark. Shanahan, taking his cue from West Coast offense guru Bill Walsh, was well-known for scripting the first 15 offensive plays of the game, and helped the '98 Broncos set an NFL record for first quarter points scored in a season.
Shanahan is known for a run-heavy variation of the West Coast offense he coached in San Francisco. He has often found unheralded running backs from later rounds of the annual NFL Draft and then turned them into league-leading rushers behind small-but-powerful offensive lines. Examples of this phenomenon are Terrell Davis, Mike Anderson, Olandis Gary, Reuben Droughns and Tatum Bell, all of whom have had at least one 1,000-yard season in a Denver uniform over the past 10 years.
Shanahan faced criticism for not delivering a playoff victory since Elway's retirement and Davis' career-ending injuries. The playoff drought ended on January 14, 2006 when the Broncos defeated the two-time defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots in the AFC Divisional Round of the playoffs at Invesco Field at Mile High. Coincidentally, Shanahan has the best record for any active coach against Bill Belichick. Including the postseason win, Shanahan is 5–2 against Belichick's Patriots, the five wins coming in the last six meetings.
In 1999, with the assistance of writer Adam Schefter, Shanahan penned Think Like a Champion, a motivational book about leadership. It was published by Harper Collins.
On December 30, 2008, Shanahan was fired after the Broncos failed to make the playoffs during the 2008 NFL season.[1] It was the third consecutive year in which Denver didn't make the playoffs. Shanahan had a coaching record of 24-24 over those three seasons.

Thanks for the 2 Super Bowls, Mike. Best of luck in wherever you go. Unless it is the Lions.