Today's missives were sparked by Brandon Marshall's "holdout" from the first required minicamp. This event triggered a nostalgic escape into the past where I began to think about the differences between "then" and "now".
Today's NFL is a different beast from the one I grew up and...ahem, older with, staring with the 67 Floyd Little era. Then it seemed men played more for the love of football than money. Yes, it was a business then for the owners, like now, but the old era was more about drawing revenue from building football teams to get more fans into the stadium than squeezing nearly obscene dollars from concessions, fan memorabilia, and, now, even practice jerseys. In other words, like much of the rest of our society, it became more about money than the love of football.
For me Floyd Little epitomizes the concept of playing more for the love of football than the love of money. Floyd was the first high profile signing I remember and the point at which a general curiosity about pro football morphed into an ever grown passion for anything Bronco. In those days our fan base was primarily blue collar workers whose knowledge of football was arguably the best in the nation. The Broncos may not have had the best talent in those days but we fans reveled in the "team" effort men like Floyd exhibited when he decked one of his offensive linemen in the huddle for lack of effort. We didn't buy teams through free agency we took men who wanted to play football for any price and original NFL cast offs and built teams through "coaching them up" as McDaniels might say.
Personally, I like McDaniel's focus on building a "team" rather than catering to "stars". Cutler and Marshall have demonstrated/are demonstrating that money comes before team. Refusing to communicate with the boss (Bowlen) or refusing to attend required minicamps both appear to be immature and individualistic perspectives prone to promoting the destruction of the team concept. I'd rather go back to the days of mediorce win/loss records where all out efforts to win every minute of the game was the norm rather than watch a bunch of self-focused stars celebrate a touchdown with the latest coreographed moves. If Marshall continues to refuse manditory camps I say move him too. We could trade straight up for a nose tackle that I'm sure wouldn't have a clue how to dance but would love to set up tackles for his teammates.
Whether Marshall stays or not we will have an exciting team on both sides of the line this year. They will be fun to watch! Mark these words: our offense will be unpredictable, diverse, and chocked with examples of individuals contributing to scoring for the team. whether they carry the ball across the goal line or not; and, our defense will be ball ball hawking turn-over machine.
The prices of tickets and beer may not be coming back but the team concept is!!!!