Schmuck of the Week

Josh McDaniels, 2010 Shmuck of the Year nominee

Each and every week, Westword bequeaths the Shmuck of the Week award to the person -- or thing -- who forces normally Mile High Coloradans to hold their heads low. And at the end of every year, Westword honors this cow town's worst of the worst -- the characters whose misdeeds make our ears bleed and our eyes water -- by inducting them into our Hall of Shame.

This year, we'll double the fun and name a Westword Shmuck of the Year by asking readers to help select a winner from some of our Hall of Shame candidates. We'll make the case for one candidate each week through the end of December. You tell us which one makes you squirm the most.

The Schmuck of the Year for 2010 will be announced on January 3, which should give you enough time for the hangover to subside.

Our first candidate is Josh McDaniels:

Like an obstinate, hoodie-wearing bull in a china shop, 34-year-old Josh McDaniels has singlehandedly shattered the pride of the Denver Broncos and infuriated an orange-bleeding fan base that has sold out the football stadium in town for four decades.

It started when the former New England Patriots assistant coach alienated former quarterback Jay Cutler and continued from there as McDaniels made one questionable personnel move after another, trading away potential stars, bringing in suspect free agents and making inexplicable choices in the past two drafts.

Some of that was forgiven after the Broncos started the 2009 season with six wins in a row. But the truth emerged after that. Since November 1 of that year, the Broncos have gone 5-16, losing handily to some of the worst teams in the NFL and getting absolutely annihilated by the arch-enemy Oakland Raiders by a score of 59 to 14.

Even McDaniels's smaller decisions have made no sense: Why hasn't be put star rookie Tim Tebow in during blowouts? Why did McDaniels wait until the last minute to fly the team to London for a game against the 49ers? Why does he insist on imitating dark lord Bill Belichick's idiotic fashion sense?

"Josh, I am your father..."

Then, last week, the NFL revealed that it would fine McDaniels and the Broncos $50,000 apiece for a taping incident being labeled Spygate II, in which a former Broncos employee recorded a Niners walk-through in London and offered it to the coach. McDaniels said he turned down the offer, but he didn't report it to the NFL.

Should McDaniels be fired? A better question is whether he should be chased out of town by Broncos fans carrying torches or iced up snowballs.

For more Shmucks, visit our Shmuck of the Week archive.

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes