Mike Shanahan is an asshole -- but he's our asshole.
The whole notion of icing a kicker about to attempt a game-winning field goal likely goes back to the days when the pigskin was actually covered in a pig's skin. But no one's ever timed a time-out more irritatingly, and more astonishingly, than Shanahan did during overtime of the September 16 game between the Denver Broncos and the Oakland Raiders. He waited so long to form his hands into a "T" within view of an official that foot-man Sebastian Janikowski actually booted the ball through the goal posts 52 yards away, unleashing a full-scale celebration on the Raiders sideline. Forcing him to kick again was cruel and unusual punishment, but Shanahan did it with googly-eyed delight. When Janikowski doinked his second attempt off the upright, the Genius proved once again to be a first-rate son of a bitch. Emphasis on "first-rate."
That's not to say everything's swell in Broncoland...
Sure, the team's undefeated, but it had to struggle to top two clearly inferior opponents -- and while Broncos kicker Jason Elam was responsible for kicks that won both contests, he missed easily makable field goals earlier in the game that would have rendered last-minute heroics unnecessary. Elam has grown more erratic and less reliable in recent years -- a fact fans won't be so willing to overlook the next time the Broncos lose one of these matchups instead of narrowly pulling it out. Quarterback Jay Cutler is hardly a paragon of consistency, either. Half the time he looks like John Elway. The other half, he looks like Jake Plummer.
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As for Shanahan, he is, on the field, at least, an asshole 100 percent of the time. And bless him for it. -- Michael Roberts