Vance Joseph must go.

We, in Denver, already knew this much. John Elway knows this much. Hell, even Booger McFarland knows as Joseph must go.

“How unprepared do the Broncos look tonight?” McFarland asked on Monday Night Football, during Christmas Eve of 2018.

Joseph’s Broncos fell behind 17-0 to the Raiders for the final time the two teams will meet in Oakland on Monday, and everyone knew there was little chance Denver could come back. You only had to see the attempt to down the football at the one yard line, which failed miserably, and turned into a 99-yard return touchdown for the Raiders, to know just how badly prepared the Broncos were.

They, of course, did not come back, losing 27-14 to the absolutely lost and terrible Raiders, who are now 4-11 on the year.

Jon Gruden may have been a great coach 15 years ago, but his lack of leadership boils down to trading away Khalil Mack and the fact that 20 players and staff were on the field late in the game while protesting a call by the officials.

And yet, somehow, some way, the Broncos looked a helluva lot more undisciplined than that same, sorry Raiders team.

McFarland also asserted this loss — filled with 11 penalties — was the nail in the coffin of Joseph’s head coaching career in Denver.

Nope. Not quite. Just another nail in a coffin which should have been slammed shut and buried last year.

Joseph’s tenure in Denver ended last weekend, when he made the worst coaching decision in NFL history — according to — electing to kick a field goal instead of going for it on fourth-and-1 from the 6-yard line and four-plus minutes to go against the Browns.

That pushed his overall record to 11-19, and now with the loss to the Raiders, Joseph’s record falls to 11-20, even worse than Josh McDaniels’.

In a results-oriented world of the NFL, Joseph is now the worst head coach in Denver Broncos history.

How could John Elway do this? The General Manager and basic “King” of the Broncos elected to hire a less smart, less charismatic leader in Joseph than was McDaniels. That’s tough to stomach for fans, and should be even tougher to do so for Elway, who was brought in to right the ship after McDaniels captained it into an iceberg.

The Denver Broncos finished 2010 4-12, their most losses during their NFL era. Last year, Denver went 5-11, the worst record since McD was canned, rightfully. Still, Joseph was awarded another year. Why?

Only Elway knows the answer to that.

Elway was hired in 2011, following the failed McDaniels Era which was filled with losing, cheating and terrible drafts, to bring the Broncos back to prominence.

Only three seasons later — much thanks to Elway’s dynamic impact in free agency, hiring Peyton Manning, Wes Welker and others — the Broncos went to their seventh Super Bowl. But, Denver was dominated by the Seahawks.

Two years after that, the Broncos — under Elway’s leadership and more free agent signings like DeMarcus Ware, Emmanuel Sanders and more — won Super Bowl 50.

Hey Elway, what have you done for me lately?

The last three years represent three straight seasons without a playoff berth, two of those under the watch of Joseph. And now, his 5-11 season has been followed up by this current 6-9 year, meaning the Broncos have struggled through two losing seasons for the first time in 46 years.

As we wrote two weeks ago, the lack of a strong-willed owner in Pat Bowlen has left the Broncos in a vulnerable position. What would “Mr. B” have done? He would have fired Joseph in San Francisco after losing to the 49ers and basically ending Denver’s hopes of the playoffs.

He certainly would have canned Joseph after the Browns loss, and yet, Broncos fans are still left waiting and wondering what comes next.

It was always “Super Bowl or bust” under Bowlen. After three straight busted years, even Elway must be feeling the heat. The Broncos could have a new owner soon, and they’ll likely have to take a long look at Elway’s recent record.

The “Duke of Denver” must realize that this next head coaching hire could also determine his short-term, and possibly even long-term future, as the man in the big office in Dove Valley.

He did it his entire career on the field, and he did it in the front office already once before. Can John Elway bring the Broncos back one more time?

He’ll have to in order to save his job, and to save the Broncos from this current spiral into mediocrity.

Monday night’s whooping at the hands of the repulsive Raiders was a microcosm of these last two years under Joseph. The offense was average-at-best, turning the ball over twice. The defense was uninspired, underprepared and made over-the-hill Doug Martin look elite once again. And the special teams gave up that humiliating punt return touchdown while trying to down the ball.

The Broncos, right now, are bush league because their head coach can’t lead them. This Christmas, all Broncos fans want is a new head coach.