The Denver Post started writing about how the Patriots hiring of Josh McDaniels didn't seem right even before New England actually hired the former Broncos head coach, before Denver even advanced to its divisional round trip to Gillette Stadium.
But the paper has continued to fuel the "unfair" fire in the early days of the week leading up to Saturday night's prime time battle between Tim Tebow and Tom Brady.
Mike Klis, who wrote the original blog entry on the Denver Post web site, again broached the McDaniels hiring in the paper on Wednesday, in a story headlined: "Does Patriots' hiring of McDaniels violate spirit of fair play?"
Writes Klis this time around:
"Once again, Belichick has found a loophole in the rulebook by hiring McDaniels as an offensive assistant coach the week before the Patriots play McDaniels' former team. And the NFL has plugged its ears and covered its eyes to a move that would seem to at least violate the spirit of fair competition.
"There is nothing wrong with the Pats rehiring McDaniels, who worked under Belichick from 2001-08. When Mike Shanahan was fired as the Raiders' head coach four games into the 1989 season, he rejoined the Broncos as an offensive assistant coach later that same season. What makes McDaniels' case unique is he just completed his 2011 season with the Rams. The season carries on only for playoff teams. And yet McDaniels is able to join the Patriots in time to help them gain a competitive advantage not only against the Broncos, whom he knows well, but five other playoff teams — New York, Green Bay, New Orleans, San Francisco and Baltimore — whom his Rams played this season."
Even Denver players question the move.
"I didn't know that would be legal," said Broncos defensive end Robert Ayers said to the Post."
But Klis' complaint wasn't the only one making the rounds in the Denver media. Controversial Post columnist and ESPN talking head Woody Paige also has a major problem with the McDaniels hire.
In a morning Post piece entitled "NFL should put kibosh on Josh McDaniels' return to New England Patriots" Paige writes:
"What's to keep the Broncos this week from temporarily using fired Dolphins coach Tony Sparano, who faced the Patriots twice this season, as a consultant? Or McDaniels' recent boss in St. Louis, Steve Spagnuolo, who has been dumped? Spagnuolo coached the Giants' defense in the XLII Super Bowl victory over the Patriots. Why can't he work for the Broncos on Saturday?
"Because that's not right.
"The Broncos did rehire Mike Shanahan as quarterbacks coach in 1989 a few weeks after he was fired as Raiders head coach, and weeks before the Broncos played the Raiders a second time. The personnel decision made by owner Pat Bowlen, not coach Dan Reeves, in midseason also was wrong. But it was not as blatantly shameless as the manipulative maneuver by Belichick."
Both columns take shots at McDaniels' time in Denver and overall resume. Both conclude that everything he's done in his recent coaching history has been anything but successful.
"What does McDaniels know about stopping Tebow anyway? When McDaniels was the coach here, he didn't know enough about Tebow to play him," Klis concludes.
But strangely, both are very much up in arms over McDaniels joining the Patriots for the remainder of the postseason in a move that, by all accounts, is completely within the rules and the spirit of competition in the NFL.
Looks to me like the Denver press is setting up early excuses for why the team that ranked No. 27 overall in the final Wilson-Hart Power Index and backed its way into the postseason on a three-game losing streak is going to lose to New England on Saturday night.
Why wait till after the game to start making excuses when you can start the week before?