Josh McDaniels has been fired as head coach of theBroncos, the team confirmed Monday night, ending McDaniels' tumultuous run in Denver.
The Broncos announced that running backs coach Eric Studesville would take over McDaniels' position on an interim basis.
McDaniels was rumored to be in trouble for weeks as theBroncosseason quickly collapsed. Owner Pat Bowlen's decision to let McDaniels go comes four games shy of McDaniels' second full season as coach, and the day after the Broncos were formally eliminated from playoff contention by Sunday's 10-6 loss at Kansas City.
"My decision to relieve Josh McDaniels as head coach was not taken lightly," Bowlen said in a statement. "I will always be appreciative of his passion, enthusiasm and hard work, and I thank him for his efforts. In the end, I was not satisfied with the results and the direction this team was headed. The decision to make a change was extremely difficult but one that needed to be made for this organization and our fans."
Last week,Bowlen told FanHouse's Thomas George, "I am not interested in making a change" at the head-coaching spot. When asked if McDaniels would be back for the 2011 season, Bowlen replied, "Yes, he will." Bowlen later added, ""I'm very happy with Josh. Josh is doing a good job."
Exactly one week later, Bowlen opted to strip McDaniels of his coaching duties and replace him, at least temporarily, with Studesville, who has no head-coaching experience.
"I am very appreciative of the trust that Mr. Bowlen and the entire Denver Broncos organization have shown in me," Studesville said. "Although the circumstances that this opportunity resulted from are unfortunate, I am excited to lead this football team. We have a great group of players and coaches who are committed to finishing the season on a promising note and making our fans proud of this team."
McDaniels, the successor to Mike Shanahan in Denver, began his Broncos coaching career with a bang, going 6-0. But since then, the team has gone just 5-17. The loss to theChiefson Sunday was their seventh defeat in eight games.
Moreover, the organization was embarrassed over McDaniels' role in a videotaping scandal that resulted in the firing of a Broncos cameraman and league-imposed fines of $50,000 for both McDaniels and the team. A former team employee was found to have improperly taped a49erspractice the day before the49ersbeat the Broncos in a game played at London's Wembley Stadium on Oct. 31.
The ex-employee,NFLinvestigators found, offered to show the tape to McDaniels, who refused to look at it and ordered it destroyed. But McDaniels failed to inform team brass or the league about the matter as required by league rules relating to the integrity of the game, leading to the fines.
McDaniels, who was dismissed after meeting with the media for his usual Monday news conference, also had been under fire for a series of personnel decisions in which he shipped away talented players such asJay Cutler,Peyton HillisandBrandon Marshall.
The Broncos traded Cutler and a fifth-round draft pick to Chicago in April of 2009, in exchange forKyle Orton, first- and third-round picks in 2009 and a 2010 first-rounder. Denver then shipped Marshall to Miami after the 2009 season, following McDaniels' late-season benching of Marshall for disciplinary reasons. And the Broncos unloaded Hillis just prior to the 2010 draft, shipping him and a pair of draft picks to Cleveland forBrady Quinn.