"Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing."
You've all heard the line before. Many believe the iconic phrase came from Vince Lombardi. While he did say it to his Green Bay Packers in 1959, the line itself was first spoken nearly a decade earlier, by Red Sanders, who was the head football coach at UCLA. Sanders was quite a successful coach for the Bruins, amassing a 66-19-1 record and leading UCLA to their only National Championship. It is Lombardi, of course, that gets the credit because Lombardi won much more than that with the Packers, including the first two Super Bowls.
That's the fun with perception - while often considered reality it is usually factually wrong.
The Denver Broncos went to Kansas City on Sunday and beat the Chiefs - in Arrowhead Stadium. This comes a week after the Broncos went to Oakland and beat the Raiders - another tough place to play for the Broncos, or any team. In fact, the last time the Broncos won two straight road games in the AFC West - played back-to-back - came in 1987 when the Broncos beat the Los Angeles Raiders and the San Diego Chargers in weeks 10 and 11. Who knows if it has EVER happened with a trip to Kansas City being part of the equation - even John Elway only won in Kansas City 4 times in his career.
Somewhere, unfortunately, lost in all this winning, are the people that choose to look at the down side of things. You know, the 'Yeah, but' people.
"Hey, the Broncos won!"
"Yeah, but, Tim Tebow only threw the ball 8 times"
"The Broncos beat the Chiefs at Arrowhead"
"Yeah, but, Tebow only had 2 completions"
"The Broncos defense sure has looked great the past couple of weeks"
"Yeah, but, Tebow only completed 25% of his passes"
I think you get the picture. A negative to the 24-hour news cycle is everyone has an opinion - and there are plenty of places to give it. MHR is part of that, of course, but personally I have tried to never veer too far off course. The Denver Broncos won a football game yesterday and I'm excited.
Sure, I'd like the passing game to be sharper - but it's not, and likely won't be this season. The Broncos are getting things done the old-fashioned way, by pounding the ball, playing solid defense and, perhaps most importantly, NOT TURNING THE BALL OVER.
The Broncos didn't throw yesterday because they didn't have to. The were effective running the ball and they were forcing the Chiefs to play into the strength of the Broncos defense - defending the pass and rushing the passer. Take away the Chiefs touchdown drive - that was propelled by a long run by Jackie Battle, the plan worked perfectly. Matt Cassel was uncomfortable all day and we finally got to see what a healthy Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller can look like together. SCHWING!
Sure, I know Tebow had one completion for 13 yards through 3 quarters. The Broncos were winning, however. Does it matter? The one throw Tebow had to make - which came in the 4th quarter of course - he made. A 56-yard strike to Eric Decker. The most shocking part? It came on 3rd and 10 and against double-coverage. In a sport defined by a handful of games each year, that one WON THE GAME for the Broncos.
Think of it this way. Tebow was 2/8 for 69 yards. Matt Cassel threw the ball 28 times - 20 more than Tebow - for just 93 yards. That's right - 20 more passes netted the Chiefs 24 more yards. Personally, I'll take quality over quantity - especially in the passing game.
The opposite is true in the running game. Lance Ball didn't run for a high average after subbing for Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno. But he was effective in pounding the Chiefs defensive front into submission. The number three running back isn't expecting to carry the rock 30 times, but Ball did and like Tebow, protected the ball.
I'm not blind to the challenges the Broncos have in the passing game. At some point, there will be a game that Tebow will need to use his arm to win. What happens then is anyone's guess. Isn't it exciting to be able to talk about meaningful football as we approach Thanksgiving?
"That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet?"
Another iconic phrase, this time from Romeo and Juliet. There was a time when you simply had to score more than the other team to win. That changed somewhere along the line - a win needed to be something more. Not to me. I don't know about 2012 - and right now I don't care. That will work itself out in time. Right now the Broncos are winning - they've won 2 straight for the first time in 29 games - can't that be enough?
I know, for some it never will be. We'll see fancy charts and graphs and essays on why winning isn't everything. Me? I prefer a simpler time. Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing, and the Denver Broncos are getting it done.