So our beloved Broncos have found their home next to the Titanic. At the bottom. In a sea of darkness. Hopes and dreams quite literally drowned. This development was as predictable as daylight to many of us when young Josh McDaniels was named coach less than two years ago. McDaniels carried with him the seeds of his and the Broncos destruction. In a phrase, the catastrophe is summed up in the proverb; “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18) But it is instructive to break it down. First, McDaniels thought his ideology, his “system” was so superior that all he needed to do was find athletes and “plug and play.” It was the system, not players, that mattered. So he first concluded that a Matt Cassell was a better quarterback than Jay Cutler. Yes, Cutler is an annoying prima donna but his upside is so much greater than a Cassell’s or a Kyle Orton’s, any fantasy league owner could see. This was followed by numerous personnel decisions that ranged from bizarre to disastrous concluding with one of the worst trades in Bronco history—Peyton Hillis for the not-so-mighty Quinn.
Second, when you know everything you do not need or want assistants around you who might disagree. So from drafting to play calling to selecting coaches McD revolved out the people who were not “yes” men. The most inexplicable was Mike Nolan. The only redeeming characteristic of the 2009 Broncos was their defense, so, let’s fire the defensive coordinator. Who knows what Nolan said to be shown the door. But you can bet it was some kind of disagreement with Josh the Omniscient.
Third, when you are a cut above the rest rules which apply to other people do not apply to you. So, in a still mystifying maneuver, McDaniel’s videographer taped a San Francisco practice, in clear violation of NFL rules. Good grief—the 49ers! Then he Watergated it by trying to hush it up. Don’t tell anyone. But one of his coaches leaked the truth and that was the final nail in the old coffin.
Let’s shift from Denver, Colorado, to Washington, D.C. where this same type of drama is playing itself out in eerie similarity; a place where hubris can do some real damage.
Our young president came into office full to the brim with himself. His inauguration would be noted as the time when the “planet began to heal” and the “oceans would recede.” He would incarnate the slogan, “We are the change we’ve been waiting for,” and other inscrutable and mind-numbing slogans.
His administration would be composed of the anointed. No one with business savvy was needed. No one to the right of Karl Marx need apply. It didn’t even matter if you paid taxes—you could help precipitate the greatest spending orgy in world history. And when nervous Democrats warned of impending electoral disaster, the young president reassured them, “This time you’ve got me!”
Then there would be no need to listen to the unwashed masses, the flotsam and jetsam of humanity. After all, these are people who “cling to their guns and religion” because an enlightened government had not done enough for them. But not to worry. The Enlightener himself had arrived. And what about all those foolish people who, because of their fear, were unable to “think scientifically.” No problem. The president would do their thinking for them. After all, McDaniels-like, he was the smartest man in any room he entered.
Finally, who need rules? Constitutions are for suckers. What people really need are a string of syrupy slogans and endless, endless, endless speeches from the Anointed One. Heretofore, congress had been governed by regulations and procedures. No need for those now. Dispense with them and ram Obamacare down the throats of the critics. They will come to appreciate what their betters have done for them.
And so our national government has come to look like the Broncos. Only the stakes are a bit higher. The future of constitutional government is at stake. And so is our ability function as a free market society. Josh McDaniels was fired twenty-two months into his reign. Obama would have suffered the same fate if the constitution so allowed. Let’s hope and pray that in four years it won’t be too late. Imagine what McD would have done to the Broncos in two more seasons.