Fellow Denver Bronco Fans,
As a Bronco fan I've had to endure many painful losses since that fateful day when my family moved from Cripple Creek to Denver and my father took us by old Mile High and proudly stated "Son, this is where the Broncos play"..... Depending on what kind of losses and where we are in the season each loss is different in its own right. As with all self help guides, it's important to identify where you are in the process of coping with the loss(es). I urge you to share this with you wife, family and friends so they can know what you're going through. Perhaps they'll treat you with the tender care you deserve in this difficult time.
No matter the severity of the loss or the point in the season when the loss occured, there is a minimum grieving time. Now, the severity and point of occurance directly impact just how hard you take the loss and whether or not it lasts more than three days... In general, the minimum grieving time is three days. The Broncos lose on Sunday? That means that at minimum you will not listen to sports radio in the morning on the way to work, you won't watch NFL Network, you won't watch ESPN's football coverage for those three days. The shame and embarrassment of seeing any "highlight" is just too much to bear... You know like that jerk Roethlisberger waving that stupid towel around after we lost the AFC Championship in our own stadium (in front of our very recognizable 50 foot plastic bronco atop the scoreboard) in the 2005 season (thank you Sports Illustrated for showing it over and over in your stupid commercials... it was a great way to spend an offseason - ouch). Regardless, expect to hole up for a minimum of three days.
THE BELL CURVE
Now, depending on which loss it is, the severity of the grieving either increases or diminishes.
Loss 1: The first loss is a mere formality. Sure it stings, but really, who goes 16-0 (or 18-1 for that matter! HA!!! EAT IT PATRIOTS!). You're bound to lose one sooner or later, it's best to get it out of the way.
Loss 2: The second loss is more serious. Woah... Dude, we dropped another one. But! It's only the second loss... No big deal, right? That's when the Broncos drop loss #3 on you.
Loss 3: This is what I call the turning point loss. The loss where doubt creeps into your brain. This is the loss that is, for the first time, felt severely for at least those three days and could have lingering effects up until game time the following week. This is the week you have haunting images of Amani Toomer catching a last second TD pass to ruin your season (2005 not 1998 - I hate that guy!). Then comes loss four and five.
Loss 4 & 5: These are ones where you start to call for the coache's head, trade away star players, threaten to bench your rising star QB... These are the ones that test your fan hood. Do you show up to the sports bar in your bronco jersey (Those of you in Denver can trust in your brothers being there for you... I live in LA... Raider Fan is still an ass even when their team is at the bottom of the barrel...)? Do you reconsider that road trip to San Diego you promised to your nephew to watch the Broncos at Qualcomm while he's in town for Christmas? Perhaps I should go with the wife to pick up those table runners she's been blathering about for these last few weeks... Then it happens....
Loss 6: This is the cusp of those that get the wild card and those that don't. Hopefully loss six is week 17 and you're resting your starters to be fresh for the playoffs.... If not, you're in trouble. Go ahead and make those plans for MLK weekend. You find yourself talking to your buddies about the draft... "Man, after next year's draft we're gonna be way better, right dude?...." Then it happens....
Loss 7: It comes and it doesn't hurt as bad. You've accepted the fact that Brian Griese has the mobility of your aunt Ethel and the arm of Julia your niece. Let's look forward to next year...
Loss 8: You're kinda interested to see how bad it gets.
Loss 9: Now it's funny.
Loss 10: I can't tell you. I'm imagining loss 10 and higher might negate my three day minimum theory... I'll have to ask my friend the Dolphin's fan.
BIG LOSS/LITTLE LOSS
My friends and I have debated this for some time. Is it better to lose big and never be in it (MNF - Patriots, Detroit/SD (2007) or have it be close (MNF Indy Game 2002 or so and the 2004 Sunday Night Game against the Raiders) and lose by a fieldgoal in the snow in overtime while we're wearing our fancy orange alternate uni's. All losses suck. They do. But I have to rule that losing big is not as bad as losing in the last seconds. A loss is a loss and there is no glory in great stats if we go home with an "L". At least with the big loss, you know you're terrible and you can start folding laundry or whatever (usually you do that later in the season when you know we're bad/awful/disgusting this is the time also when it becomes humorous to watch the ineptitude). A little loss is the one ala INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM wherein Mike Shanahan growls "KALIMAR!!! KALIMAR!!! KALIMARRRRRRR!!!!!" right before he shows me my beating heart, tosses it to Elam, Rouen, Prater, Kern, Treadwell, Karlis, etc., and they put it wide left of the upright or worse to Brett Favre on MNF (Geez! Are we really that bad on national TV?!) to heave to Greg Jennings over Champ Bailey. It's these moments that no amount of skin on a bikini thread can cure. If it's going to be a loss, let it be one that I can see coming from way off... Like from the second quarter! Thank you Matt Cassell.
THE BYE WEEK
Lastly thank you for the bye week. It's the week we get to turn to our fellow Bronco fans and joke, "Hey, we didn't lose this week"... But we didn't win either... sigh.
Losing is awful. It hurts. It makes you mad for a minimum of three days. Today is day two and I am confident that by tomorrow I'll almost be over it.... Almost... MAN! Are we really that f***ing terrible?!