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Broncos Head Coach Vic Fangio walks the sidelines during a game at Empower Field at Mile High on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022. The Broncos lost to the Chiefs 28-24. (Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette)

With nothing to lose, the Broncos nevertheless lost.

Vic Fangio’s final significant decision Saturday must be his last Broncos Blunder as head coach.

The Broncos outrageously kicked a late field goal that guaranteed a 28-24 defeat to the Chiefs.

Moral victories are meaningless.

Denver Broncos fumble away loss to Chiefs in possibly Vic Fangio's final game

George Paton cannot bungle his most significant decision since becoming the Broncos’ general manager. He should intensify his search for a new coach starting Sunday.

Meanwhile, John Elway and Joe Ellis, who were on top, will go out on the bottom.

Coaches are hired, and they are fired. John Fox was fired after four double-digit winning seasons and a Super Bowl. Red Miller was fired even though he led the Broncos to their first Super Bowl. Vance Joseph was almost fired after his inaugural season and survived only through a second season. Josh McDaniels didn’t even make it to the end of his second season before being fired. Wade Phillips was fired after two seasons. Dan Reeves was fired after leading the Broncos to three Super Bowls in 12 seasons. And Mike Shanahan was fired after coaching the Broncos to back-to-back Super Bowls and five other postseasons.

Fangio is 19-30 – a winning percentage of .396. He has won only 5 of 18 games against AFC West opponents (.277 percent) and none in six tries vs. the Chiefs.

Vic has mismanaged at least two dozen games – including the season finale.

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With the Broncos down 28-21 with 4:41 remaining and confronting fourth down and 9 at the Kansas City 13-yard line, Fangio chose field goal instead of an attempt at a first down or a touchdown. But, as it was, the Broncos would have to quickly stop the high-powered Chiefs, get the ball back and still score a touchdown. They didn’t.

The Broncos’ offense never touched the football again.

Same old same old.

There was, regrettably, a Melvin Body Slam – when the Chiefs’ Melvin Ingram blasted the Broncos’ Melvin Gordon earlier – and again, ironically, at the K.C. 13-yard line – causing a helpless Gordon to fumble as he received the handoff from Drew Lock, and Nick Bolton picked up the ball and outran everybody to the end zone to push the Chiefs ahead -- 28-21 after Patrick Mahomes ran for the two-point conversion.

So much for the Broncos breaking the Chiefs’ 13th-straight triumph in the series, a mark just one short of the Raiders’ 14 consecutive victories over the Broncos from 1965-71. The 2016-21 Broncos have been correspondingly similar.

If we hear one more time that the Broncos are on the threshold of success, please press mute. They need a quality quarterback, an ingenious offensive coordinator, a special teams coordinator who is special, at least nine other players who might earn Pro Bowl votes (and four or more who would be picked to the elite team) and a head coach who is a prime example of the Peter Principle, a concept declaring that people rise in their field (or on the field) until they reach their level of incompetency.

Joseph, McDaniels, Phillips and Fangio have been exceptional coordinators, but, as Wade said of himself, “lousy’’ head coaches.

Before the most embarrassing attendance at Mile High in years (not counting the Pandemic period), based on the Broncos’ no-shows of almost 15,000 and the heavy mixture of thousands of Chiefs' fanatics, the Broncos did have a legitimate chance to shock their superior rivals.

However, for the 15th time in the Fangio era, the Broncos have fallen by eight points or fewer. They also have been blown out in 13 games.

The Broncos’ players and coaches weren’t no-shows. They boldly battled the Chiefs with a matching touchdown in the first quarter (on a run by Lock, and he asked for the football as a permanent keepsake) and had a 14-10 lead at halftime (on another touchdown run by Lock). The Broncos still were up 21-17 after three quarters on a sensational dash by Melvin Gordon.

But the failure twice in the fourth quarter when the Broncos advanced to the 13-yard line, and no closer, turned out to be the difference. The fumble return for a touchdown and Fangio’s fateful faulty call would result in another doomed ending.

The Broncos are merely mundane and irrelevant in the NFL.

Fangio made a wrong decision when his team had something to win.

Paton must make the right decision if the Broncos are to overcome being losers.

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