The NFL is known for turnover from season-to-season. Past match-ups are not supposed to have drastic impacts on future seasons. However, for the San Diego Chargers Monday night game against the Denver Broncos, the Hall of Fame quarterback lining up opposite the Bolts’ own creation. Peyton Manning’s arrival in Denver can easily be linked back to the Chargers.
The Denver Broncos have been a reaction team for the last three seasons, but it was the Chargers that started the chain. To end the 2008 season, the Broncos crumbled, becoming the first team in NFL history to not make the playoffs after leading by three games, with three weeks to go. The final game, a 52-21 loss ended up being legendary coach Mike Shanahan’s undoing. He was fired after the loss. The team on the other side of the ball was none other than the Chargers.
The Broncos made the bold move of hiring hotshot New England Patriots’ coordinator, Josh McDaniels, to take over. He immediately alienated Jay Cutler, who thought the Shanahan firing was a big mistake. Cutler was Shanahan’s next big project; he had the potential to excel on an offense-oriented team. Shanahan understood the importance of the quarterback; he had John Elway and has bet the Washington Redskins‘ franchise on Robert Griffin III. McDaniel’s believed in his system, and thought the Matt Cassel or Kyle Orton could replace Cutler.
McDaniels used trickery to win his first six games as the Broncos coach with Orton at the helm. The season then fell apart, and McDaniel’s alienated the rest of the Shanahan Era potent offense including Brandon Marshall. The Broncos’ defense, which was their issue before the 2009 season, was ignored as McDaniels continued to tinker with the offense, signing Tim Tebow.
Tebow was the key. Over the next two seasons, even after McDaniels was fired for complete incompetency, the Tebow Effect took effect. The Tebow Effect is also know as divine intervention or luck, but not Andrew Luck. After the Broncos beat the Pittsburgh Steelers last year it became apparent that this team had the ingredients to win. This, combined with the football minds of John Fox and John Elway, were enough to convince Peyton Manning that he wanted to play in Orange and Blue.
As Phillip Rivers moves over in the AFC West and the Manning show takes over as the season plays on, the Chargers have to look internally. If they had never run up the score against the Broncos back in 2008, Shanahan, Cutler and Marshall would likely be facing them this weekend. Instead they sent Broncos Country on a Wild Ride with Mr. Toad (Josh McDaniels), and Broncos fans finally are slowing down to enjoy one of the best quarterbacks of all time.