One indication that this could be the case: On Sunday, September 27, Denver got absolutely dissected by a 28-10 score in a home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, now led by quarterback Tom Brady, arguably the most despised opponent in the franchise's history. But rather than lashing out at Brady, the vast majority of Broncos loyalists on Twitter seem so depressed and defeated that they can't whip up any of the old hatred.
Not that this reaction is unjustified. Aside from the amusing sight of nearly 2,000 South Park character cut-outs filling seats at the largely (but not entirely) empty Empower Field at Mile High, the contest was sheer torture for those of us who've lived and died with the squad for decades. If this isn't the bottom of the barrel, you can sure as hell see it from here.
Granted, the Broncos were hardly at full strength. Injuries had already negatively affected QB Drew Lock, running back Phillip Lindsay, promising wide receiver Courtland Sutton, former Super Bowl MVP Von Miller and the pride of every person who ever wore an orange jersey. And after the opening kickoff, things rapidly got worse. A blocked punt in the opening moments gave Brady an incredibly short field with which to work, and he quickly cashed in with a three-play, ten-yard, 43-second "drive" that made the score 7-0 after barely five minutes had passed.
That was as close as the Broncos got for the rest of the game. Substitute quarterback Jeff Driskel managed to manufacture a field goal and a single touchdown over the course of the next few hours, but the outcome was never in doubt. Brady didn't look all that great, but greatness wasn't necessary: Mere competence was more than enough.
Afterward, a few Broncos boosters on social media called for the heads of head coach Vic Fangio and team executive John Elway, but that level of engagement was rare. The reaction overall was glum acceptance that the Broncos, who were supposed to take our minds off the COVID-19 pandemic, have instead become yet another example of why 2020 has been the most terrible year in recent memory.
Which makes the fact that they're scheduled to co-star in this week's Thursday Night Football match-up against the almost-as-woeful New York Jets seem less like a promise than a threat.
Here are our picks for the twenty most memorable tweets about the game.
Tom Brady doesn’t look better this week. The Broncos just suck and will continue to suck for the remainder of 2020.— DVP (@dvanpat) September 27, 2020
Sigh. I’m a lifelong @Broncos fan. After being so used to the rich tradition of winning, exciting football, the last few years really, really suck. What a sorry O line, so many penalties year after year. So many sacks. Not sure @johnelway the pilot we need.— Kevin Raichl (@VisualThinkNW) September 28, 2020
So....the @Broncos suck. I’ve worked every day they played and watched them suck. Even the fans think they suck. How many times can I shoehorn suck into this tweet? I don’t know, how much do they plan to keep sucking? The customers don’t tip unless they win and that super sucks.— MentalModelPunk (@tadcoopermodels) September 28, 2020
The reality is the broncos will suck until the ownership is figured out and elway is out. None of that will probably happen in the next 5 years... @Broncos are doomed— George Costanza (@beckh98) September 27, 2020
The end of planet earth must be near. I am actually pulling for Tom Brady and Tampa Bay. It is in my DNA to hate Brady, so why am I watching him and pulling for TB. I hope my friends don’t see this.— ROBERT Lee (@rel77texas) September 27, 2020
This is hilarious and rad as hell— i turn nouns into verbs (@niceguymolly) September 28, 2020
Southpark residents at the Broncos game made me smile. Keep going back to that when I notice my chest hurting today— Xan (@xannnah) September 28, 2020
Broncos season is so fucked smh— Elmer Ramiro. A (@_elmer303) September 27, 2020
God the Broncos suck— Wyatt Ryan Colloty (@WyattColloty) September 28, 2020
‘Member when the Denver Broncos had the entire town of South Park in the stands? I ‘member pic.twitter.com/zudlQCdxUY— Mets Fan In Chief (@NYMetsChief) September 28, 2020
As a broncos fan I’ve been saying Elway is in over his head and needs to step away. HE CLEARLY SUCKS!!!!!— LetMeSpeak (@LetMeSp79077389) September 28, 2020
Broncos suck lmao won’t see me watching their games— JC (@jlchdz_) September 28, 2020
I am watching the Broncos game...we suck...but we are up against Tom Brady with Tampa...can we score 3 TD's in 6 minutes? f*ck no...we are going to lose...AGAIN....— TLEA (@TLEA21218823) September 27, 2020
@Broncos Another loss. Well, it’s good time to let Elway go. His draft picks are horrible. Can’t pick ‘em to save his life. How many awful draft picks do we need to watch Explode on the field. Step down Mr. Elway.....— Karen (@KMB73) September 28, 2020
Look at the bounce in Tom Brady’s step. He must hate the broncos or something— Buzzy (@ASAPbuzzy) September 27, 2020
i hate to say it i don’t give a fuck about tom brady— briff. (@BRlFFGRAFF) September 27, 2020