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Thursday, February 12, 2009
Another shakeup in Denver example of new era

By Bill Williamson
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

The Denver Broncos are shaking up their front office yet again.

Eleven months ago, the shakeup started with the firing of general manager Ted Sundquist and four weeks after that, Denver owner Pat Bowlen said he was holding off hiring a general manager and that vice president of football operations Jim Goodman would be a key decision maker. Today it was announced that Denver owner Pat Bowlen fired Goodman and his son Jeff, while making Brian Xanders the general manager.

Now, the team's future is in the hands of Xanders and new head coach Josh McDaniels. Xanders is 37 and McDaniels is 32. The two are in charge of steering the Broncos forward after Mike Shanahan ran the team for 14 years.

Xanders was part of a three-man decision making crew with the Goodmans. When McDaniels was announced as the new coach, Bowlen praised the three-man crew.

The Goodmans were key parts of the head coach interview process and it was Jim Goodman who informed key players of McDaniels' hiring. Now, four weeks later, the Goodmans are out and Xanders remains the lone holdover. He signed with the team shortly after the draft last year.

In March, general manager Ted Sundquist, who was second-in-command behind Shanahan, was fired suddenly. The Goodmans, who worked closely with Shanahan and who could end up with him again when he resurfaces, were also promoted last year.

The biggest change occurred Dec. 30 when Shanahan was suddenly fired. Shanahan had as much power as any non owner in the NFL. He was the face of the Broncos.

Now, in McDaniels and Xanders, the Broncos' football operations are being led by two men that have been in the fold for a short period of time. It is, indeed, a different world in Denver.

The early word around the Broncos' building is that there was some friction in recent weeks involving the Goodmans and Bowlen finally decided that to just have one front-office leader.

The bombshell happened less than a week before the NFL combine and comes at a critical time. Not only is the team preparing for the draft but free agency looms in two weeks and Xanders will have to make final preparations for free agency and finish deciding on what current players may end up being salary cap causalities.

When Shanahan was fired we knew it was a new day in Denver and Thursday's move is another example of it.