BRONCOS

If they keep Vic Fangio, the Broncos will have become the Rockies

Jan 7, 2022, 1:51 PM

Six-straight seasons without a playoff appearances. Five-consecutive years with a losing record. Not spending every available dollar. Trading away one of the greatest players in franchise history.

If these traits were presented to the average sports fan in the Centennial State, they’d most likely think they apply to the Colorado Rockies. After all, that’s the local franchise most associated with ineptitude – both on the field and in the front office.

But in reality, they describe the Denver Broncos. Currently, the once-proud team is now the worst franchise in the Mile High City.

They haven’t made the playoffs since hoisting the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the 2015 campaign. The Rockies were in the National League Division Series as recently as 2018.

They haven’t been above .500 since finishing 9-7 in 2016. The Rockies were 91-72 just three years ago, the second-highest win total in franchise history.

They’ve been nearly $15 million under the salary cap every year since winning Super Bowl 50. The Rockies operate in a non-revenue-sharing sport and still managed to be in the upper half of spending nearly every season.

They traded arguably the greatest defensive player in franchise history, Von Miller, away during the middle of the season for two future draft picks. The Rockies, well, they sent perennial All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado to the Cardinals for a buckets of balls and some bubblegum.

That’s not good company for the Broncos to be in. It’s quickly chipping away at their once-pristine image.

Currently, it’s threatening their reputation. And if they don’t move on from Vic Fangio after Saturday’s game against the Chiefs, the Broncos could be seen in much the same light as the Rockies.

Most people have the same opinion of what goes on at 20th and Blake. They believe that the Rockies would like to win, but it’s not a priority.

In part, this is due to the results on the field. After more than a quarter-century in existence, the ball club still has never won a division title.

But mostly, it’s because there’s no accountability. When the Rockies fail to live up to expectations, no one is held accountable.

Dan O’Dowd was hired in 1999. More than 20 years later, the team has never gone outside of the organization to find a general manager.

O’Dowd was replaced by his right-hand man, Jeff Bridich. Bridich was replaced by his assistant, Bill Schmidt.

Neither O’Dowd or Bridich were fired. They left on their own. Dick Monfort had no intentions of letting them go, no matter what transpired between the white lines.

It doesn’t matter that this infuriates the fan base. The Rockies don’t seem to care. They know that millions of fans will go through the turnstiles at Coors Field every season, stuffing Monfort’s pockets with cash, so they don’t feel compelled to do anything drastic. They certainly don’t believe they need to eat contracts in order to move in a different direction.

If the Broncos don’t move on from Fangio, they’ll be sending the exact same message. They’ll be saying that there are no consequences for losing. They’ll be saying that there are no expectations. They’ll be communicating that they know the tickets are all going to be sold anyway, so why pay Fangio in 2022 to coach somewhere else.

There’s no football reason to keep the head coach. He’s 19-29 since taking over, the most losses in franchise history during the first three seasons of a coach’s tenure. And his team is a mess, with special teams blunders, bad challenges, poor clock management, ill-timed penalties and other mind-numbing mistakes happening on a weekly basis.

It hasn’t improved. Three years in and the same things are still happening.

In the past, that wasn’t acceptable. The Broncos always moved on from head coaches who put up those kinds of numbers.

But that was back when the team strived for Super Bowl wins. Now, they just hope to play “meaningful games” in November and December.

It’s hard to believe, but the Broncos have perhaps become the Rockies – a bottom-line-driven organization that cares more about money than winning. One team doesn’t have any standards. It’s time for the once-proud franchise to prove that it still does.

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If they keep Vic Fangio, the Broncos will have become the Rockies