The Broncos fired their head coach, Mike Shanahan, yesterday after a long and successful run with the team. He won a pair of Super Bowls in his fourteen seasons in Denver. This has led to speculation in New York the Jets could pursue him. Woody Johnson wants to make a splash with his pick to alleviate a fanbase furious over the late season collapse. Getting a guy with two rings would make it easier for many fans to shell out for outrageous personal seat license prices in the new stadium. However, this is a case where a move that generates buzz might not be the right one. Shananhan is probably not the right fit in New York.
He has some good qualities. The former Denver head man had as successful of a three year run as football has ever seen during the start of his tenure in Colorado. He has a great offensive mind. Jay Cutler has put up big numbers in his system, and he even had Jake Plummer playing adequate ball for a time. His zone blocking schemes produce a different 1,000 yard runner every season. Even though the Jets as currently constructed do not really have personnel to run the system effectively, the system is enticing. Most backs who have left after a successful time in Denver are not even adequate anywhere else, displaying the power of his scheme. Shanahan also has a winning record against Bill Belichick for his career.
Nobody is denying Shanahan's positive attributes, but this is not the man for what the Jets are looking to do. Gang Green wants not to win a single Super Bowl. The aim is to compete for titles year after year, the way teams like the Steelers and Patriots do. After his wildly successful start in Denver, Shanahan has not produced a constant contender. His teams underachieved during his last ten years a mile high. He made the Playoffs in less than half of those seasons and only won a single postseason contest. These defeats have not been Marty Schottenheimer heartbreakers. The Broncos have been run out of the building in all of their postseason defeats since John Elway retired, not even looking prepared. The Broncos have suffered multiple collapses at the end of multiple seasons during that span to miss the Playoffs, including this year's embarassment. In addition, Shanahan is a lousy talent evaluator. He did not Draft well and seemed intent over the past few years on building a defensive line with first round busts from other cities (the Browns, Dewayne Robertson).
Denver fans will always love this coach. He delivered their franchise its first two Super Bowls. However, the Jets must ask themselves whether a great three year run over a decade ago is more indicative of his abilities or whether the past ten years in addition to two losing seasons with the Raiders before the game passed Al Davis are.