Right out my window I saw a proud ole horse stumble and fall.
While it is a real “bummer” that the Broncos’ season ended so abruptly and sadly, it didn’t take long for many of the fans and Denver media to start chewing on the carcass of that poor ol’ mustang.
Denver did stink at home on Sunday against the Colts, and, zap, the season is over. It is unfortunate because we staunch Broncos fans didn’t want the playoffs to end this way.
Nearly everyone figured the Broncos would beat the Colts at Sports Authority at Mile High then possibly run into some rough sledding at Foxboro, Mass., against the Patriots.
By Monday morning, the dogs and wolves were looking for the carcasses of head coach John Fox, quarterback Peyton Manning and some were even after former great QB and current general manager John Elway.
Elway did a great job in hiring Coach Fox and in convincing Manning to come to the Broncos in the first place.
But we got home from work on Monday to find out that Fox was already gone. The Broncos reported that Fox and the team split “by mutual agreement.”
It was a nice way for the Broncos to say we let him quit, but really, “we fired him.” That’s OK Broncos. Fox won’t be without a team for long. He is too good.
Now, what Manning decides to do is going to make a huge difference—and it is apparently going to take several days for everyone, including Manning, to figure it all out.
Ron Zappolo, who was the voice of the Broncos when I was a teenager in Boulder in the 1970s and up to and into the new century, said it pretty succinctly on Channel 9 on Monday.
“Denver couldn’t tackle, Denver couldn’t block and Manning couldn’t throw,” he said. “Denver has a lot of questions to answer.
“And we’ve all got to remember that while we have had Manning for only a couple years, he had a pretty major injury, the reason we got him in the first place, and he has already played for 17 years, setting nearly every record there is to set,” Zappolo added. “Peyton isn’t a good player, he is a legend, arguably the best football player to ever play in the NFL.”
Pretty high praise from a sportscaster with a great reputation and ultra-veteran longevity.
Starting with the big loss during the season to the Rams, the Broncos have been a different team.
They quickly made the move to a running game, which surprised opponents the next few weeks, then the Broncos sputtered after everyone started looking for the running game. The only really bright light to come from the Broncos’ ground attack was C.J. Anderson, the only Bronco who actually had a good game on Sunday against the Colts.
All of a sudden, the Broncos found out the running game alone wasn’t going to do it, and the pressure reverted to Manning, whose ability to respond once again is called into question.
In Sunday’s game, Denver often had receivers wide open and had a multiple chances to gain big yards on and beat the Colts. But the Bronco receivers dropped ball after ball, Manning was just inches off the short crossing patterns and he was miles off on the long passes at least eight times. I don’t mean just off the receivers’ finger tips. I mean yards off.
He even had one pass of medium length that he was throwing to one of his receivers —Saunders, I believe—who would have been at about the seven yard line if Manning would have connected with him, but Saunders was only able to watch the pass fly out past the end zone.
Is Osweiler another Manning? No. He isn’t even close to the elite. He isn’t in the same league with a Brady, a Brees, a Favre or a Luck. Few are!
So the Broncos certainly have some questions regarding Manning. Would he benefit the Broncos by returning next season. Who knows?
He certainly has the ability to set the Broncos back another year with a late-season fade or failure.
What about Fox? Fox was good. He was fun to watch. He certainly was no Mike Shanahan, whose playbook every Bronco fan and every other NFL team knew like the back of their hands. That was to get ahead early, then, late in the third quarter, get even more conservative with the offense, go into a preventative defense way too early, and then lose.
Fox kept the Broncos intense. Between him and Elway, the Broncos, I believe, amassed the best defensive personnel in all of football.
When you throw in defensive coordinator Jack del Rio, who was reportedly hired Tuesday by the inept division-foe Oakland Raiders, it isn’t tough to see what the loss of any one of these men would mean to the Broncos.
We’ve seen it between the late John Elway years and the start of the Peyton Manning years. It’s interesting, it is an off-again, on-again run or two for a division title, but it isn’t the fun, entertaining dynasty that Denver has been twice.
Boy, do I hope I am wrong!
I would love nothing more than to continue to remain optimistic.
I would love to be optimistic that Elway makes very few more changes, but I believe that Elway sacking Fox is the first of many big mistakes this Bronco postseason.
And I would certainly hope that Peyton Manning sits down and has a real heart-to-heart with himself to decide if he thinks he really can do it at least one more time and that he delivers—so we go to the Super Bowl in early 2016.
I don’t think it is going to happen. I think these next seven months before the exhibition games in mid-August are going to become a tumultuous time for my Broncos.
But I’m not going anywhere. There have been a lot of ups and downs since I, as a 7-year-old boy, watched the first Broncos football game in Denver in 1960 at Bears Stadium, which was built for the Denver Bears baseball team.
I’ve been a Broncos fan for roughly 54 years and I’m not about change now. There have been some great highs and some below-gutter lows over the years. But I am still pretty proud of the Broncos—and I think they had a pretty darned good season.
I just think the car died a bit early this year.
I knew the end was coming. It just came a few games earlier than we all wanted it to.
She’s been a pretty good horse. Let’s hope she gets up and gallops on!
It also didn’t help my attitude any that my Oregon Ducks fell to Ohio State.
Must admit here that I liked Ohio State’s Buckeyes when I was a kid. I even enjoyed Woody Hayes.
Until he smacked that George Bulldog player in the middle of a game way back.
Since then, I haven’t liked the Buckeyes at all and I’m not a real fan of anyone in the Big 10 or Big 12 or whatever they are now.
My entire life—since I’m from Colorado—I have liked CU and CSU. And I have lived in Arkansas, Arizona and Wyoming, so I took a liking to the Razorbacks when I lived there and Frank Royal and Lou Holtz were coaching; the Arizona Wildcats because they were decent when I was there, but I really liked their basketball team under Lute Olson, and I was there when they won the national championship; Wyoming, when they had a succession of good coaches and made several bowl games.
But about three years ago, I just took a real liking to Marcus Mariota and the Oregon Ducks. They have had an offense I have never seen the likes of.
To make a long story short, I thought the Ducks would tear up the Buckeyes.
I was wrong. Ohio State and OSU running back Ezekiel Elliott were unstoppable. The Buckeyes deserved the win.
But it was a real bust over the weekend as my two teams went 0-2.
Oh well, in both cases, as they say, there’s always next year.
Congratulations particularly to the Meeker High School boys’ basketball team. The Cowboys returned from the holiday break to defeat Paonia and Cedarege, traditionally two very tough teams.
The Cowboys, under coach Klark Kindler, are an undefeated 6-0 after last weekend’s two games, and things are looking pretty good for another tournament-bound year.
Maybe the Cowboys and the Rangely Panthers and Colorado Northwestern Community College Spartan boys, girls, men and women, respectfully, can remain or get on a roll and bring a few more smiles to the Broncos fans in Rio Blanco County.