Posted on: December 31, 2008 12:17 am
Edited on: December 31, 2008 12:18 am

NFL: Shanahan shocker as coach carnage continues

If you had told me last night that by this past evening Mike Shanahan would be out of a job, I'd have said you were out of your mind. But just that has happened.

Shanahan became the fourth casualty in this year's version of The Blame Game as he was fired today by Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen. Bowlen was quoted as saying, "“A change in our football operations is in the best interests of the Denver Broncos. This is certainly a difficult decision, but one that I feel must be made and which will ultimately be in the best interests of all concerned.”

The curious thing about Shanahan's case is that his firing appears to have surprised everyone, media, fans, everyone. I've visited a couple of threads, posted on one, on which people are pondering with abject bewilderment what could have happened to warrant sending Shanahan to the Island of Misfit Coaches along with former Browns coach Romeo Crennel, former Jets coach Eric Mangini, and former Lions coach Rod Marinelli.

All four of these positions are still in play, as reports now are that Bill Cowher, who the Browns apparently were attempting to woo, is not interested in taking over for Crennel. This was the one open position for which I've heard any solid information of interest so far. Bowlen's statement doesn't qualify because it is too cryptic. I believe we probably will find out more about exactly what happened in Denver as we get closer to the weekend.

Of this jobless quartet, I think that Shanahan likely will be the first to get hired on again somewhere else. If he wants to, it wouldn't surprise me at all if he is already working again next year. As for the other three, it may take a year or two for them to get back on someone's radar screen, although, as I wrote in my last blog, there are a limited number of candidates available for the jobs that have come open.

Will there be more firings later this week? All we can do is stay tuned and watch it unfold. I seem to recall that, before recent years, teams used to wait until after the playoffs and Super Bowl were over before making such moves. I guess there is more urgency now in making a splash to prove you're doing something than in letting things settle and allowing us fans to enjoy the playoffs before getting blood on the floor, even if we likely were anticipating seeing it there.

Posted on: December 28, 2008 10:55 am
Edited on: December 28, 2008 10:57 am

NFL: 0-16 -- what would it mean?

I sympathize with fans of the Detroit Lions. Being one who follows the ups (few and far between) and downs (mostly) of the Cincinnati Bengals, I know what it means to see 2-14, 3-13,  4-12, and 7-9 more times than you thought you would ever care to.

What I have found baffling about the Lions this year is the number of games that the team has actually been in early, being up as many as three scores in at least one instance, before finding a way to lose the game in the second half. It's difficult to pinpoint where the problems are when such things happen.

The Lions are in a similar situation to the Bengals from an ownership standpoint. Mr. Brown, despite all indications to the contrary, appears to believe he is enough of a "football guy" to get the Bengals where they need to be. I have been convinced for a while that Mr. Brown runs the Bengals like a business, to make money, rather than like a football team, to win games. William Clay Ford, Sr., appears to be just as out of touch with reality on a day-to-day basis. I'm not sure if it is for the same reasons, but the results are the same.

To see a team go 0-16 is tough to contemplate, no matter what team it is. I started a poll earlier this season on the Bengals board asking who would be the first team to win a game, the Lions or the Bengals, because, at that point, I thought there was a downhill struggle going on with both teams. The point is moot now, as the Bengals got their first win at the beginning of November over the Jaguars, then tied the Eagles two weeks later at home. The Bengals have won their last two and are field-goal favorites against the Chiefs today.

The Lions play the Packers at Lambeau Field today. The line quoted in the CBS preview of this game has the Packers as 10 1/2-point favorites. It's hard for me to believe the Lions can win this game, so 0-16 may become a harsh reality, not something a team wants to be remembered for.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com