Newspaper editorialists spend more time opining about local politics and global brinksmanship than they do musing about fun and games. As a result, their occasional forays into sports can feel clunky, odd and forced. But understanding that still won't prepare readers for "Broncos Taking Hits On, Off Field," a March 31 Denver Post editorial that's weirdly timed and borderline loony.
The Colorado Rockies made for a more logical editorial choice on the 31st. After all, the date corresponds to the team's 2008 debut in defense of the National League penant they won last year. Instead, Post types chose to complain about the Broncos finishing the previous season 7-9 (that was news months ago, not now), letting longtime kicker Jason Elam sign a free-agent contract with Atlanta (Elam's been on the decline for at least half a decade and was hardly a long-term solution for the squad's special-teams woes) and filling assistant coaching positions internally rather than looking for outside help (the latter method has been used for years with little recent success).
Granted, these scribes have a point when they grouse about the Broncos raising season-ticket prices following a dismal campaign. But instead of focusing on this tin-eared ploy, they delve into ancient history -- the public financing of Invesco Field.
After noting that the stadium deal was sold as a way of preventing the Broncos from sliding into mediocrity, the editorial's authors suggest that owner Pat Bowlen and his underlings haven't lived up to their promises. Here's their conclusion:
With so many new sports teams in the area, and so many other recreational opportunities available in the fall, the Broncos soon may find those diehard fans who have stuck by the team year after year discovering new hobbies on Sunday afternoons.
No one wants to see a foreclosure sign on that big house we helped build in Broncos Country.
Yeah, sure. The Broncos sold out Mile High Stadium during the days when the team was winning four and five games a season, and they'll continue to do so over the long haul. Besides, Bowlen and Coach Mike Shanahan have hardly raised the white flag when it comes to competitiveness. They made one of the biggest draft moves in recent years to grab quarterback Jay Cutler. If he develops the way experts around the NFL expect, their efforts will pay off for years to come -- and even if he doesn't, no one can accuse the organization's braintrust of sitting on their hands. The team went to the AFC title game just two years ago, and given the weakness of their conference (with the exception of the San Diego Chargers), they've got every chance to return to the playoffs right away.
The Broncos' defense -- particularly the chronically anemic pass rush -- must be addressed during the off-season, and Cutler and young players like Brandon Marshall have to grow into their roles and fulfill their potential. By doing so, they'll guide the Broncos into a new era, and make the Post editorialists look even more clueless than they already do. -- Michael Roberts