The Message

Ticket Not to Ride

Too bad his fortunes turned south shortly thereafter. "The following Friday, I started to feel the football game inside me again," Dobbs says. "I had developed an internal infection down there, and they had to open me up and do everything all over again." This surgical sequel severely stressed defenses already drained by the initial procedure, and "they couldn't staple or sew this big incision shut," Dobbs says. Finally, on January 21, Dobbs was told he could continue his recovery at home, as long as he could deal with the inconvenience of a gaping chest packed with gauze. He eventually convinced physicians to use oversized Steri-Strips -- "surgical Band-Aids, really" -- to give him at least some degree of adhesion.

"I'm not bedridden," Dobbs declares. "And my insides are working, although I have to think it through a little bit. It's not automatic yet." By the end of January, he'd recuperated enough to risk some fast food. "I had a Whopper," he confesses. "I just needed to have something normal, to remind myself that there's life out there. It's a sad state of affairs when life is represented by a Whopper, but there it is."

Dobbs has more strength to gain before he can get back behind KNRC's microphones and in front of the cameras at Channel 6, where he hosts a weekly discussion program called Colorado State of Mind. He's grateful to both of these stations, as well as to fill-in personalities such as Channel 6's Cynthia Hessin and KNRC sub Reggie Rivers, who'd all but sworn off talk radio following a contentious stint at KHOW ("Many Rivers to Cross," February 7, 2002). Still, Dobbs hopes he won't have to accept their largesse for much longer. "It's slow, and I'm not patient," he says.

"I'm not a spiritual guy, but I'm counting my blessings."

Elway or the highway: The Broncos didn't participate in February 1's Super Bowl, which helps explain why the Denver media showed less than the usual interest in what turned out to be quite a contest. Instead, local sports scribes and broadcasters spent the days before the game building monuments to retired Broncos QB John Elway in advance of his predictable but well-deserved January 31 induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That journalistic spectacle was infinitely more desperate than the glimpse of Janet Jackson's hooter seen during the Super Bowl halftime extravaganza.

When it came to Elway hype, there was more blowing going on than during his three Super Bowl defeats -- catastrophes that were rarely mentioned throughout the grotesque gush-fest. Rather than putting his stumbles into a context that would have made his subsequent championships seem sweeter, TV types, in particular, concentrated on tedious replays of Big John's greatest hits. Likewise, the off-the-field tension between Elway and former coach Dan Reeves was disregarded despite its relevance to the overall story. During a radio interview, Channel 4's Gary Miller justified this omission by saying the Elway-Reeves stuff had been covered extensively in the past -- as if "The Drive" against the Cleveland Browns in 1987 had been severely under-publicized.

Although The Fan's Lou From Littleton, who's already pimping a trip to Canton, Ohio, to watch Elway's enshrinement in August, was the ickiest hagiographer, he had a surprising amount of competition. Had Elway come up short in his first year of eligibility, the spectacle of these boosters having to explain themselves would have been poetic justice. Then again, they'd probably still be whining about the unfairness of the vote, to the displeasure of all. Either way, the sane sports aficionado was bound to lose.

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