Let’s face it: We may not be as bad as Yankee fans (God help us if we ever reach that point), but Bronco fans still have a powerful entitlement complex. With a record that is expected to remain above .500 at all times and the anticipation of making the playoffs year in and year out, the Broncos are like upper-middle class parents who, out of the best intentions, spoiled their children and turned them into whiny pissants. “It’s not fair,” we moan, “our team is supposed to be better than this.”
One result of our perennial high hopes is the belief that any season not culminating in a Super Bowl Championship is an abject disaster. Two years ago we finished no worse than fourth in the entire NFL and what did we do? Traded up for a new franchise QB and wide receiver. Granted, I was as excited as the next guy when we plucked Cutler off the draft board and stole Javon Walker from Green Bay for a second round pick. But look at us now: Outside of our veteran offensive lineman and fullback Cecil Sapp, there are literally no starters on offense who played in 2005 AFC Championship game. We signed a ridiculous number of free agents in the off-season, a move befitting desperately broken teams, not those in need of minor adjustments. Compare that to the consistency of the Colts and Patriots, who, while making some key additions, have kept the core of their teams together and whose star players were largely brought up in the system through the draft.
The Broncos have been consistent as well, but when you throw out the 2005 season, there’s nothing too memorable about the recent years in Broncoland. We won a lot more games than we lost, but all the victories kind of blur together, much in the same way the Browns past five years are a blur of defeats. Do you remember how ugly all the wins were during the first half of last season? Of course not, they were filed away, along with the time you lost your virginity, in the category of embarrassing victories.
Four years from now, however, when we next play the Lions, you’ll remember the absolute dismantling handed down to us last weekend. Any trip up to Buffalo will rekindle memories of the fire-drill field goal and who you were watching it with. And the heartbreaker against the Packers will undoubtedly be featured in a commemorative “Best of Brett Favre” DVD that will be released when he finally retires after the 2014 season.
So please, feel free to bitch and moan about the lost season, criticize Shanahan’s play calling and personnel decisions, and complain all you want about how, “it’s not supposed to be like this.” But the 6-10 “d’ohs” will be better for our team in the long term than the 9-7 “mehs”.
Thanks to - not in spite of - our ineptitude, this will truly be a season to remember. -- Mark Schiff