Klee: Mike Shanahan's rings should put him in the Ring

By Paul Klee Updated: October 23, 2013 at 8:11 pm • Published: October 23, 2013 | 7:40 pm 0

ENGLEWOOD - On a resume most NFL coaches can only dream about, Mike Shanahan fit two Super Bowl titles and 146 wins as the Broncos coach.

There's another, underappreciated reason the Broncos are doing the good thing by honoring their former coach with a video tribute Sunday.

His record against the Raiders: 21-7. In 14 seasons as Denver's coach, Shanahan didn't beat the Raiders; he thumped the Raiders. He thumped the Raiders more often than he thumped any other team.

That alone is reason enough for Denver to hoot and holler for an opposing coach when Shanahan's Redskins visit the Broncos.

"Well, I hope they don't boo me. I don't think I did anything wrong to get booed," Shanahan said Wednesday, drawing laughs. "I didn't leave. They fired me."

I suggest the tribute Sunday afternoon won't be the last time Shanahan is honored at Sports Authority Field, or whatever Mile High is called when that time rolls around.

Shanahan's (Super Bowl) rings should put him in the Ring (of Fame).

To this point, there are 23 players and only one non-player, former owner Gerald Phipps, in the Broncos Ring of Fame. Once he's eligible, Shanahan should be inducted, alongside the likes of Terrell Davis, John Elway, Randy Gradishar, Tom Jackson, Floyd Little, Karl Mecklenburg, Dennis Smith and Billy Thompson.

Dan Reeves should be in there, too, but Reeves isn't coaching at Mile High on Sunday, so we'll keep this about Shanahan.

After digging around for insight at Dove Valley on Wednesday, I expect Shanahan will be in the Ring of Fame. It's more a matter of when, not if, and that's another good thing.

There are five members on the Ring of Fame selection committee: Pat Bowlen, Joe Collier, Joe Ellis, John Beake and Larry Zimmer. Jim Saccomano, who has been with the Broncos for almost 36 years, serves as a voice of counsel for the committee.

The criteria state that a player (or coach, in this case) must have been with the Broncos for four seasons and retired for five seasons. So, depending on Shanahan's tenure with the Redskins, or elsewhere, it could be a while.

In the meantime, this weekend, Shanahan said he would visit his upscale Denver restaurant, "Shanahan's," where a Bone-In Filet goes for $49, and his home, a Cherry Hills estate that needs its own zip code.

"I'm not looking forward to playing the Broncos because they're playing at a very high level," Shanahan said. "I am looking forward to going back to Denver because of the things I talked about. It's been home for me."

Shanahan said he's not surprised Elway is realizing success as an NFL executive ("He's got that in his blood") and played golf with Elway this year in Arizona. He remains a "very good friend" of Bowlen and considers Peyton Manning "as good as it gets."

"He's one of the guys that comes along about once every 20, 30, 40 years," Shanahan said of Manning.

"I talked to Mike and Kyle (Shanahan) when I came out here to visit Denver," Manning said. "That was very early in the process (of finding a new team)."

Five current Broncos played for Shanahan: Champ Bailey, Ryan Clady, Chris Kuper, Matt Prater and Wesley Woodyard.

"I believed in him and he believed in me," Woodyard said Wednesday.

Who knows?

If the Broncos didn't lose their final three games in 2008 - and miss the playoffs for a third-straight season - Shanahan might still be the coach in Denver. The offense might still have Brandon Marshall and the quarterback who's now in Chicago.

Manning might be the quarterback in Arizona or Tennessee or San Francisco or, heaven forbid, somewhere in the AFC West.

Tim Tebow wouldn't have been a quarterback in Denver.

Judging by the Redskins' defense, the Broncos' defense still would struggle to stop a parked car.

Who knows?

What I know is, with Shanahan as coach, the Broncos were always in the NFL conversation. Over 14 years, Shanahan's Broncos averaged 9.8 wins per season.

In Kansas City or Seattle or Cincinnati, that kind of sustained success gets you a downtown parade, or a statue, or the keys to the city.

In Colorado, that should get Shanahan a spot in the Ring of Fame. It will, some day.

-

Twitter: @Klee_Gazette

Comment Policy
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
APR
17
APR
18
APR
19
APR
20
APR
21
APR
22
APR
23
APR
24
APR
25
APR
26
APR
27
APR
28
APR
29
APR
30
Advertisement