The Josh McDaniels job death watch continues -- and after Broncos owner Pat Bowlen's now-you-see-it-now-you-don't endorsement of McD earlier this week, few NFL observers give him much of a chance to beat the reaper. Consider yesterday's edition of ESPN's Pardon the Interruption, during which hosts Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon came damn close to predicting his Denver demise at season's end.
As noted in the post linked above, Bowlen flat-out guaranteed that McDaniels would be back as the Broncos head coach next season during a telephone interview with NFL Fanhouse's Thomas George -- but then, shortly thereafter, a statement issued under Bowlen's name maintained that McD's future with the franchise would be evaluated after the dismal campaign is done.
Locally, these contradictions raised more speculation about PB, who's admitted to memory issues. Indeed, earlier this month, Broncos sources told our Alan Prendergast that Bowlen is no longer the Broncos' major decision-maker on key financial and management questions.
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Kornheiser and Wilbon didn't raise this subject, speculating instead that Bowlen had realized after speaking with George that he'd painted himself into a corner and put out a subsequent statement as a way of giving himself some wiggle room. But they made it clear they consider McDaniels among the likeliest coaches to get the heave-ho -- and when Wilbon asked his partner the odds out of ten that McD would ride out the publicity nightmare for at least one more season, Kornheiser said two -- no more than that.
That seems like a reasonable estimate. Obviously, Bowlen -- or whoever's making the decisions at Dove Valley -- would prefer not to hand McDaniels his head, not only from a money standpoint, but because doing so would be an admission of a tremendous mistake that could (and probably will) set the Broncos back years. But the fan anger, epitomized by those Josh McDaniels "Not My Coach" T-shirts on sale outside Invesco Field on Sunday even before the Broncos' humiliating loss to the St. Louis Rams, may force a move anyhow.
It may not be a sure bet, but with each successive loss, it'll get closer to one.
More from our Sports archive: "Top 10 ways Josh McDaniels has destroyed the Denver Broncos."