Hello everyone; I'd like to thank you all in advance for taking the time to read this FanPost of mine and for doing your part in making Mile High Report the single best online community imaginable. Like many of you, I've had the pleasure of watching every second of our team's amazing 5-0 start this year. Through it all, a single sentiment stands out above all else: isn't this a great time to be a fan of the Denver Broncos?!
Our beloved franchise went through a stunning metamorphosis this offseason and, though the changes made were both necessary and ultimately for the best, that process lead to a great deal of understandable tumult within our fanbase. It also ignited a firestorm in the traditional media which, in equal measures, was fueled by and further fueled that upheaval. Now, however, we are welcoming back with open arms those brothers and sisters of our extended Broncos family who were previously distrusting of the new administration in Dove Valley. Moreover, only the echoes remain of the once deafening vitriol of the hopelessly ingnorant pundits and self-proclaimed experts that beset us for far too long.
Denver now stands among the mere handful of remaining undefeated teams in the National Football League, proudly, as one should among equals. There is no expiration date for this success, no limit to their potential and no reason for us fans to restrain our optimism with caution. The Broncos have done so many things so well, that it would be exhausting for me to write and for you to have to read through it all. Furthermore, others here at MHR have done a brilliant job of pointing some of these out and elaborating on them that I could not even hope to have my work rise to the level of redundancy. That said, there are some unique things that I've noticed that I would like to share with you all, if you would be so kind as to continue reading below the fold.
- Giving Nothing Away: I am a firm believer that, moreso than any other statistic in football, turnover margin has the single greatest corrolation with wins (if positive) and losses (if negative). The concept of limiting mistakes is one stressed by Josh McDaniels at every turn and it really shows in the team's performance on Sundays. The Broncos offense and return units have turned the ball over to the opposition only four times through five games this year, a number that coupled with the defense's penchant for takeaways has yielded Denver huge gains in field position and momentum. If you take a closer look at those giveaways, however, you will find another even more impressive stat: opponents have scored a paltry six points off of those four mistakes! While one (Kyle Orton's lone interception) did not provide the other team a legitimate opportunity to convert it into points, the other three occured in Broncos territory with plenty of time on the clock to cash in. In those three drives, the defense gave up a combined one first down, two field goals and caused a turnover of their own. That is absolutely incredible!
- Mile High is Back: Ever since Invesco Field became the new home of the Broncos, Denver seemed to have lost some of the magic that helped the old Mile High Stadium become the single greatest homefield advantage in the National Football League. Sure, the building never had the benefit of hosting a true Super Bowl contender with the possible exception of the 2005 squad and the team had become thoroughly mediocre after that, but it always just felt different. This year, however, the place borders on frenzy in a way that you almost never see in pro football and you can tell that it's lifting the players to a higher level. There isn't a team in the league that will ever look forward to facing Josh McDaniels' Broncos, but even more than that, they should certainly dread having to do so in Denver.
- Cohesion: Our new head coach isn't one to indulge is "coach speak", which is refreshing. That said, it sometimes sounds like it when he's talking about the team in more general terms. When he speaks to preperation, about the full team effort required to win in the NFL, of approaching the season one game at a time, etc. you can tell that what are normally cliches out of other mouths are true beliefs and plans of action for him. What's even more telling than that is the fact that his players are all starting to sound like him. When asked to elaborate on an individual accomplishment, these Broncos deflect the praise onto their teammates... all of them. When proded in an attempt to look at the "big picture", they instead reiterate the importance of their focus. What we have in Denver is a team, one that's learned how to spell "winning" without a single "i". As a fan, that's an absolute joy to watch. For others, it should make them difficult to root against. For the sport, they provide a shining example of the right way. Win, lose or draw, this is a group we can all be proud of. Doesn't it feel like it's been far too long since we could honestly say that?
- Franchise Quarterback: I supported the decision to trade Jay Cutler, as well as the deal that brought in Kyle Orton to replace him. To be absolutely clear, I will say that I still believe that Jay is the single most physically gifted QB in football today and that when he's on, he is arguably one of the very best regards of what metric you may chose to judge the position by. But I love Orton in a way that I could never have loved Jay. Kyle is everything you could ask for in a QB without being greedy. He can make all the throws and does make all the right decisions. He's a great teammate and a true leader. He's a good guy. And, yes, he's an underdog. He's also just 26 years old, playing lights out and only going to get better. Maybe we shipped a franchise quarter back out of town this offseason, but we definitely got one back in the move.
- FUNdamentals: If you wanted to teach young men about football, then I suggest you start stocking up on tape of the 2009 Denver Broncos both on and off the field. They are the example of how doing all the little things right will get you farther than highlight reels ever could. They are living proof that the sum can be greater than its parts and the demonstrate it at every level and in every way. They're evidence that winning can be a byproduct rather than the goal or the end-all be-all that it's sometimes made out to be. They're imperfect, but their record is flawless. And what's more, they are a joy to watch. I'll ask it again, one last time: isn't this a great time to be a fan of the Denver Broncos?!
Wow! I did not expect this to become a marathon FanPost, but - what can I say - I guess I was inspired. To those of you who made it through any or all of this piece: thank you so much for indulging me. As always, I look forward to our continued conversation in the comments below if you would be so kind as to share your thoughts with me and the other members of our wonderful community here at MHR. I sincerely apologize for any typos, ommisions and/or oversights I may have been guilty of, seeing as the time stamp should belie the insomnia that sparked this writing.
Five games down, one to go and so on and so on until there are no more games left to be played. Thanks again for giving me some of your time and, as always, go Broncos!