After Gary Kubiak stepped down from coaching in 2017, Kyle Shanahan was among the candidates the Denver Broncos considered to replace Kubiak.
There was speculation at the time that Shanahan might be the favorite to get the job, but Joe Ellis decided to hire Vance Joseph instead. In the end, it was clearly a mistake.
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Shanahan reached a third NFC title game with the San Francisco 49ers in his sixth season with the team. Every time the 49ers make a run deep in the playoffs, Broncos fans are reminded of the team’s mistake in 2017.
Even former wide receiver Eddie Royal supported it on Twitter:
So the Broncos could have Kyle Shanahan as their head coach 🤔🤦🏾♂️
— Eddie Royal (@EddieRoyalWR) January 23, 2023
Royal certainly isn’t alone. Here’s a quick sampling of other fans and pundits who made similar comments.
John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan are heading to their third Final Four in the last four years. They both have strong ties to Denver. And the Broncos chose Vance Joseph/Vic Fangio/George Paton. Ruthless. #BroncosCountry
— Will Peterson (@PetersenWill) January 23, 2023
The Broncos could have Kyle Shanahan and Josh Allen. Maybe they’ll be at the Super Bowl.
— Woody Paige (@woodypaige) January 15, 2023
Remember when the Broncos didn’t hire Kyle Shanahan?
— John Livingston (@jlivi2) January 23, 2023
I want to puke Kyle Shanahan should be coaching @Broncos But Joe Ellis couldn’t put his ego in the freezer and we’ve been dogs ever since.. don’t want to blame anyone for the mess @Broncos are in? It begins and ends with Joey “Ego” Ellis. Fact ! #broncos
— Todd Romero (@ToddRomeroTV) January 15, 2023
remember when #broncos Could have hired Kyle Shanahan?
— Zack Kelberman (@KelbermanNFL) January 15, 2023
Once again, a reminder that the Broncos passed over Kyle Shanahan in favor of Vance Joseph because Joe Ellis was afraid of hurting his feelings.
— Ivan Dziobak (@Evan_Dziobak) January 23, 2023
The Denver Broncos should have hired Kyle Shanahan if they had the chance!!
— Lisa (@Lisaspeedyg) January 23, 2023
Brock Purdy is what Trevor Siemian could have been if the Broncos had hired Kyle Shanahan.
— Lindsay Bebout (@lindsaybebout) January 15, 2023
Kyle Shanahan going into this 3rd NFC Title game in 4 years. The Broncos could have hired him but Joe Ellis didn’t like him. Which leads me to believe… that Alice is stupid.
— Billy Sandoval (@billysandoval9) January 23, 2023
the broncos actually chose vance joseph over kyle shanahan btw
— Nick ✊ (@MileHigh_Nick) January 16, 2023
It’s that “what could have been” feeling as a Broncos fan every time I watch the 49ers. So disappointing but happy for Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch.
— Stephen Simpson (@Steve55Simpson) January 23, 2023