Watching the first round of the NFL playoffs this weekend, one thought kept flashing through my mind: Thank goodness the Broncos aren't playing.
Don't get me wrong. As a Colorado native, Broncos fandom is part of my DNA, and after the team shocked me, and the rest of the football world, by winning its first six games this past season, I was walking around in a pleasant daze, like the world's happiest concussion victim. But this fast start was followed by a long, excruciating fade that saw the squad lose eight of their next ten matchups, including a season ender against Kansas City that inspired fans to shred giveaway team photos. Which is how my guts felt, too.
Cut to this past weekend, when I was able to watch games without the slightest bit of anxiety. Sans any specific rooting interest (in the AFC, at least; I'm a diehard Packers backer, too), I was able to appreciate the fact that the New York Jets and the Baltimore Ravens -- the two outfits that qualified as wild cards instead of Denver -- deserved to be there much more than the Broncos did, as they proved by winning their games.
Would the Broncos have done likewise if given the chance? Doubtful, since they already used the one miracle they were allotted for 2009 during the first week of the season, when they defeated Cincinnati on the fluke of all flukes.
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Whatever the case, I can now sit back and watch the rest of the playoffs without a care in the world, knowing there's no way the Broncos can add insult to agony. So thanks, guys, for cratering. The next several weeks of football-viewing are going to be much more enjoyable because you did.