DENVER – The video clip lasted 32 seconds and featured the highlights of Mike Shanahan’s tenure with the Denver Broncos.
There were many, including back-to-back Super Bowl championships in 1997 and 1998. All week Shanahan tried to downplay his return to the Mile High City, where he still owns a home and a restaurant, where his son, Kyle, grew up and met his wife, Mandy.
Things turned sour late in Shanahan’s 14-year tenure, however. The Broncos missed the playoffs his final three seasons before his shocking firing after the 2008 season. Denver won just one playoff game after Hall-of-Fame quarterback John Elway retired in 1998 after that second championship.
All of those late failures were forgotten by the sellout crowd at Sports Authority Stadium at Mile High on Sunday afternoon as the Broncos prepared to kickoff against the Redskins, Shanahan’s new team. And the man, who joked earlier in the week he just hoped not to be booed by the crowd when they showed him on the big scoreboard, instead tried to keep his composure as a nice cheer swept over him.
That’s never been a problem for the icy-eyed Shanahan, though he did allow himself the briefest of smiles and waved to the crowd on all four sides of the stadium as his Redskins took the field. Then the lips tightened again and it was back to business. There was a game to be played.