Fired former Broncos coaches are evening the score. Adam Gase was the latest Sunday.
He stuck it to John Elway.
With 10:21 remaining in the latest Broncos’ farce of a fiasco of a failure of a flop against the Fins, Miami took an insurmountable 33-9 lead after another Trevor Siemian interception and a Jay Cutler touchdown pass.
Gase, the Dolphins coach, ordered a gratuitous onside kick, which his team recovered.
While Broncos coach Vance Joseph would gaze baffled and befuddled, Gase was beneficiary of a fist-bump from an assistant.
Gase wasn’t “”trying to embarrass’’ Joseph, his defensive coordinator last season, or the players.
He was saying hello again to The Boss of the Broncos.
Gase served the Broncos from 2009-2014 as wide receivers and quarterbacks coach, then offensive coordinator. In 2015, with Peyton Manning as the Broncos quarterback, the offense set several NFL records while amassing 30-plus points seven times, more than 40 in three games and above 50 in three more games. The Broncos won 15 games, but were blown out by the Seahawks in the Super Bowl.
The following season the Broncos were 12-5, but Elway wasn’t thrilled with the offense’s dominant dependence on passing. After a 22-7 defeat in St. Louis, Elway ordered Gase to shift emphasis to rushing – because Elway became a two-time Super Bowl champion with a running offense (Terrell Davis).
However, after the Broncos were upset by the Colts in the playoffs, Elway dismissed his top three coaches – John Fox, Gase and Jack Del Rio.
Elway termed Gase and Del Rio head coach candidates, but he didn’t mean it. Gase was given an interview, but Elway’s only real choice was Gary Kubiak.
The Duke of Denver never really cared for Gase for several reasons – his lack of concentration on the ground game, Gase’s hiring by Josh McDaniels, his chumminess with Manning (even though Elway’s own close relationship with one-time offensive coordinator Mike Shanahan had caused serious riffs with Dan Reeves) and, ultimately, because of the “softness’’ of the Broncos while falling to Indianapolis.
Perhaps Elway didn’t respect that Gase hadn’t been a college or pro player and entered coaching through a unique way. As Gase once told to me, he applied for an internship with the Michigan State football team while as a student. Asked by coach Nick Saban if he was computer savvy and could do statistical research, Gase lied and said sure. He got the low-level job, called his parents and requested they buy him a computer. He actually didn’t know how to use one in the late 1990s. Gase took a computer class.
When Saban became the head coach at LSU in 2000, he had a graduate assistant’s opening and considered two youthful applicants – Gase and McDaniels. Gase won out because of his creative computer skills.
A year later, Gase was promoted to recruiting assistant, then joined the Detroit Lions as a scouting assistant, an offensive assistant and, in 2007, quarterbacks coach. In 2009, when McDaniels, who had become Gaze’s friend over the years, accepted the Broncos’ offer, he asked Gase to join him.
After Elway turned him down in early 2015, Gase would have been the new head coach with the 49ers, who he briefly worked for before. But when Gase couldn’t select his own coordinators, the deal collapsed. Fox, who had become the Bears head coach, named Gase offensive coordinator, and Gase actually got along with, and improved, the Chicago quarterback – Cutler.
Last year Gase got his head coaching chance with the Dolphins, and despite the injury to his starting quarterback, led Miami to the playoffs with a 10-6 record – and barely beat out the Broncos’ 9-7 record.
That achievement should have been revenge enough.
But, on Sunday, Gase had more payback – an Orange-crushing triumph over the Broncos, Joseph and, specifically, Elway.
Adam ribbed Elway with a meaningless onside kick.
Chris Harris Jr. said: “”Apparently, there’s some bad blood (on Gase’s side), and the Dolphins “’were trying to embarrass us.’’
Gase and the Dolphins succeeded, as others have.
The Bad Broncos have been trashed this season by three former coordinators and McDaniels.
The Broncos’ blessing is they don’t play the Rams and Wade Phillips and the Jaguars and Joe DeCamillis.
The curse is the Broncos have four more games.