Broncos’ success linked to Ellis a lesson for CSU and Jeremy Bloom’s irony

December 22, 2019; Denver, Colorado, United States; Denver Broncos president Joe Ellis during the game against the Detroit Lions at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

First attempt : It was all one big blow. And as long as Joe Ellis gives himself a Denver Broncos paycheck, this is allowed to continue and only the names will change around Dove Valley.

The “interim”, or more accurately, the purported owner / operator of the Denver Broncos – for at least three months or so, until a real owner buys the team and competent leadership (hopefully ) either in place – will continue to act as if he is upset by the plight of “his” football team. So he fires another head coach and he says he will not participate in the selection of a new and better one.

Don’t bet on it right away.

Here is the deal. Joe Ellis was responsible for the worst coaching hires in Broncos history. Now he is able to do it again.

For those who don’t know the story, let’s start here. Joe Ellis fired Mike Shanahan in 2009. Yes, Pat Bowlen was technically still in charge of the team, and only a few people knew he’d ever been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at that time. But make no mistake, Ellis had taken matters into his own hands and he wanted Shanahan to go. The coach had too much power.

Witnesses say Bowlen was upset during the press conference announcing the sacking.

So Ellis decided to hire Josh McDaniels, who isn’t ready for prime time. Go ahead and google if you need it.

Bowlen, still competitive and yearning for a return to the glory days, saw a savior in Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway and decided – quite against Ellis’ wishes – to bring Elway back to the organization and give it its opinion on football operations. , but No.7 had yet to respond to Ellis. McDaniels was fired and Elway was able to hire John Fox, who succeeded and took the Broncos to a Super Bowl (with lots of help from Elway’s big free agent signing Peyton Manning.) When Elway wanted leaving Fox, he was able to bring in Gary Kubiak with very little hindsight. It worked well too, thanks to Elway being there.

Then Kubiak leaves. Now Elway would be watching Shanahan, Mike and / or Kyle. Ellis vetoed these ideas for what we can only assume to be personal reasons, although finances were also very important to Ellis. They choose Vance Joseph, a low budget, to take the reins of the head coach. No need to Googling that.

At this point, Ellis is officially in charge of the team, although NFL rules state that only someone with a financial interest in a team can operate it. Nonetheless, “The Denver Broncos Trust” – a misnomer if there is one – continues to run the team under the pretext that Ellis is trying to find the right brother Bowlen to succeed their late father, as he is. had asked. In fact, Ellis already knows that there is a total and complete disconnection between the factions of the Bowlen family, which he helped foster. So the required unity was never going to happen. But Ellis also knows that if he doesn’t keep the facade, he will lose his job and his salary sooner than he absolutely has to.

Joseph gets fired and Vic Fangio gets the job.

Meanwhile, Ellis decides to wedge wet teen behind ears Brittany Bowlen as her “choice” to be the new owner, knowing it. Has been. Never. By going. AT. Happen. The arrangement that Pat Bowlen put in place before his death was that there had to be 100% consensus among the Bowlen children on a new owner within the family. Ellis knew from the start that several of the other siblings were strongly opposed to Brittany. But he didn’t care. He wanted to stay in place.

So he missed the job for as long as he could – about five years longer than the NFL should have allowed – before the league finally decided to force the team into the market. A new owner will be in place before next season, but it’s too late to have a say on who the next head coach will be.

Now, with Fangio’s sacking, Ellis still has a chance to hire a head coach. He said he would stay out of it, but if the story is any guide, his word doesn’t mean much. Fans should be hoping Ellis will take some of his money from Bowlen and go on an extended vacation in the South Seas while general manager George Paton hires a new head coach. Because if Ellis gets involved, well, we’ve seen how it goes.

Second shot: It was a dream start to the season for the Colorado State Rams men’s basketball team. Beating perennial NCAA tournament teams like Creighton and St. Mary’s in a 10-0 start to the season was even better than most fans had hoped for. Top 10-ranked Alabama were on the schedule and the Rams were ready for a great Christmas present.

Instead, they got smut in their Christmas stockings in the form of game cancellations and a 24-day layoff. COVID-19 was an enemy they couldn’t beat.

Oddly enough, during the extended downtime, the still undefeated Rams (on the pitch) slowly climbed at the top national rankings, reaching No.19 in a poll while not playing.

When the virus was gone and everyone was cleared to play, CSU returned to the pitch and won an awkward home win over Air Force to move up to 11-0. Boise State was next, but COVID also infiltrated the Broncos’ schedule and the game was postponed. CSU got a replacement game – a trip to the state of San Diego, a conference candidate. They also received a wake-up call.

The Aztecs were the favorites to win, and only Ram’s most die-hard fans believed that CSU, still grappling with the lingering effects of the extended vacation layoff, would go into the toughest arena in Mountain West and in would always come out undefeated. They did not do it.

SDSU beat the Rams by 30 points, who got next to nothing from guys who weren’t named Roddy or Stevens. The Aztec defense has totally stifled a CSU team that wants to play fast and loose but couldn’t. Slow-paced, infested gaming isn’t what CSU does best, and it became evident in front of a nationwide TV audience.

And now? At 11-1, CSU will no longer take advantage of those lofty heights in the national polls. Too many voters have seen them get bludgeoned. If they haven’t come back to square one, they’re back to the starting line, in terms of national respect. San Diego State has picked up the torch as a conference favorite and CSU is once again an underdog. Could it really serve them well?

The game in San Diego wasn’t their first road trip, but it was their first real road game – in an enemy arena – in nearly two years. Remember, there weren’t any fans in attendance chanting “overrated” to the Rams when they erased a 26 point lead over the Aztecs and won at the SDSU last year. So the question becomes: what did they learn in San Diego and how can they use it to their advantage to move forward? They will need to play much better in front of hostile crowds as this conference season kicks off.

This is not a “young” Rams team. They have enough experience that one bad loss doesn’t completely derail their train. Good teams lose games, but always improve in the process. Now that this whole “undefeated” thing is history, and now that they’re no longer the favorites, maybe this team that loves to run and shoot can learn to get dirty when they need to.

Hit three: In his day, Jeremy Bloom was one of the best athletes in the world. A true star of both sports, Bloom was a gifted Olympic skier and a thriving college football star.

Then the NCAA dismissed him.

About two decades ago, Bloom was the freestyle and mogul world champion and was the best freestyle skier in the world. He finished in the top 10 twice at the Winter Olympics. He was also a freshman All-American kick returner and standout receiver who had a brief stint in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles. No one else has ever done that.

If the name, image, and likeness had existed in the early 2000s, Bloom would have had four seasons – instead of two – to play for Gary Barnett’s Colorado Buffaloes. But at the time, taking money from “sponsors” (in Bloom’s case, they were legitimate sponsors, but for others, they would have been shady boosters in disguise) was the only way for Bloom. to finance his ski training. However, this was expressly prohibited by the NCAA, which still clung to the idea of ​​maintaining some semblance of “amateur” status in varsity track and field. (If the U.S. Ski Team had simply paid him a salary like other professional sports organizations, Bloom could still have done both, as student-athletes were allowed to be paid like professionals in a sport while competing as an amateur in another.) For his part, Bloom longed to play soccer with his CU teammates, but also knew that skiing was his meal ticket for the future. Forced to choose, he quit the CU football program.

The NCAA simply couldn’t make an exception for Bloom, knowing that dozens of lawyers would jump into the fray to exploit the loophole and everything would have been unleashed.

Ironically, that’s pretty much exactly what happened 17 years later. All the “amateur” stuff has been trashed in the courts, and now it’s free to all, just as the NCAA executives feared in 2005. So the Buffs would have been a lot better in the field back then if NIL had allowed one of their best playmakers to stay on the pitch.

All these years later, not so much.

Fast forward. A New Definition of Irony: Now that NIL is a reality, the Buffs are much worse because of it.

Bloom is a kid from Colorado, who grew up as a CU fan and would have given anything for Dear ‘Ol CU for four seasons. But today, many of the best players preparing for the Buffs aren’t as committed, and they are aware of the program’s limits in terms of NIL money up for grabs. Then there’s the Transfer Portal, NIL’s evil twin, which makes things even worse.

Since August 2021, 15 CU soccer players have entered the portal, including stars like cornerback Christian Gonzalez and wide receiver Brenden Rice. CU athletic director Rick George has made it clear that he believes the lure of NIL dollars is the main reason for departures. Three of the four Buffs starting defensive backs are transferred. Gonzalez heads to his (boosters-rich) conference rival, Oregon.

George recently told the media that the current situation with NIL was “chaossed” and made it clear that he believed several schools were using the lure of NIL dollars to entice players to transfer schools. “Allowing NIL to get out of hand like it’s taken for granted is not acceptable,” he said, while calling for certain guidelines to be put in place.

We’ll see if he makes his wish come true.

This is exactly what the NCAA was trying to prevent in 2005 when it denied Bloom an exemption from the rules prohibiting payment of players. Now that NIL is a reality, George isn’t the only one hoping that somehow the powers that be can get around this mess and force at least some of the toothpaste into the tube.


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