Denver Broncos to honor Mike Shanahan this Sunday


Pat Bowlen is pulling a page out of Jim Irsay’s book?

Considering how classy Bowlen has been over the years and Irsay, well, not so much, it seems weird to say.

But, one week after the Denver Broncos lost to the Indianapolis Colts and witnessed their moving tribute to Peyton Manning, the team from the Mile High City will do the same.

According to Lindsay Jones of the USA TODAY, Denver will run a short tribute video of Mike Shanahan after his new team, the Washington Redskins, are introduced and before the Broncos stampede out onto their home turf.

If any Denver coach deserves a tribute, it’s Shanahan. The “Mastermind” of offense was a true leader in his time with the Broncos, from 1995-2008. During that stretch, Shanny found a should-be Hall of Fame running back in the sixth round – Terrell Davis – making TD his feature back and riding him to back-to-back Super Bowl titles.

Shanahan’s offense in 1998 was by far the best the Broncos had ever seen, setting records for scoring (501 total points) as the team blew out many opponents and waltzed their way through the playoffs for the second straight Super Bowl.

After John Elway retired that year, Shanahan kept working away, famously plugging in relative no-name running backs and watching them gain 1,000 yards behind Alex Gibbs’ zone-blocking scheme. It’s widely known that literally every team has tried the zone-blocking running game since Gibbs introduced it in the late 90s, and there’s no doubt Shanahan’s schemes had a direct effect on the NFL as well.

Shanahan’s third-best team came in 2005, when he pushed a Jake Plummer led team to the AFC Championship, where they faltered and fell short of another Super Bowl berth.

While Shanny faded down the stretch and his schemes seemed out-dated, he did earn another head coaching job with the Redskins, where his offense works well with Robert Griffin III – a modern Elway, if you will.

Fans will be fond of seeing Shanahan and reliving the wonderful memories, and then they’ll love if the Broncos can kick his new team’s butt.

Kickoff is scheduled for 2:25 p.m. MT on FOX.

Rich Kurtzman is cover32’s Denver Broncos Managing Editor. Follow Rich on Twitter (@RichKurtzman).