Broncos GM George Paton will "run point on his first coaching search," as the move yesterday to fire coach Vic Fangio starts "yet another transition for a franchise that has missed the playoffs six consecutive years," according to Ryan O'Halloran of the DENVER POST. The Broncos go "back to the drawing board to find their fifth coach in nine years." Broncos President & CEO Joe Ellis said, “This decision will be [Paton's] decision. He has full authority over the search.” O'Halloran notes the team will "not employ a search firm to identify potential candidates," but instead "lean on Paton’s two-plus decades of NFL experience and contacts to find the best fit." Ellis and President of Football Operations John Elway will "not be fully involved in the search." Every coaching search is "critical," but this one is of "even greater importance than normal to the Broncos, who had three home games this year with at least 10,000 no-shows." They need to "win back the fans who have stopped showing up" (DENVER POST, 1/10).
OWNERSHIP NOT A FACTOR? In Colorado Springs, George Stoia writes some observers may think the Broncos job "isn’t as attractive" as others for "one reason: ownership." The Broncos are "likely to have a new owner next season," with the team "possibly going up for sale in the coming months." But Ellis yesterday promised that the ownership situation "'will be resolved' soon and won’t play a factor in the coaching search." With Paton leading the search, Ellis is "confident the Broncos will find the right coach." And it will be "interesting to see who he selects as his candidates." Paton is looking for a "leader first and a coach second." He was "quick to admit that a new head coach doesn’t fix all of the Broncos’ problems." Paton "has to get it right." His choice as head coach, and what he does at QB this offseason, will "define his time as the Broncos’ GM" (Colorado Springs GAZETTE, 1/10). ESPN’s Samantha Ponder said from “talking to guys around the league,” Denver is a “place you want to be." Ponder: "It’s a great city, it’s an organization that takes care of their players, first-class all around” (“Sunday NFL Countdown,” ESPN, 1/9).
NEEDING A LEADER: In Denver, Mark Kiszla writes unlike Elway, who "wanted his coach to be a hand puppet, here’s hoping" Paton has "figured out he needs more than a yes man" (DENVER POST, 1/10). In Colorado Springs, Woody Paige writes, "Job1 for the Broncos’ new head coach is leadership" (Colorado Springs GAZETTE, 1/10). In Colorado Springs, Paul Klee writes the Broncos should "do their fans a solid." A "lot of attention was paid to the 14,000 no-shows on Saturday," but 668,000 "attended nine games for a Broncos team that missed the playoffs again." There are "no guarantees with the next coach, or the next quarterback." So, the Broncos should "sell the franchise to an ownership group that includes" Peyton Manning (Colorado Springs GAZETTE, 1/10).