After our first loss, I sent my first "Dear John" letter. For the most part, I was expressing sympathy at your plight, while defending the reaction of fans – especially in regards to the QB situation. If you didn’t catch it, you can read it here http://www.milehighreport.com/2011/9/13/2422904/dear-john-s . (For those of you at MHR who think I’m anti-Orton, you can read that also).
At that point, I was writing to you on behalf of the fans, to defend (most of us) for questioning your behavior and choices. After all, we’re fans. What are we doing if not second-guessing coaches, players, commentators, and the mainstream media?
Now I’m writing to you on behalf of the fans, regarding a much more serious issue.
I’m writing because your actions (or lack thereof) are tearing apart our great fanbase, and destroying our hope for this season.
Sure, fans are often (Some would say always) divided. But this is different. This is ugly divorce divided, and by ugly, I mean Mel Gibson after a big night on the booze ugly. I ugly like Nancy Grace in a bad mood ugly. Am I exaggerating? Perhaps, but tell me which of the following you haven’t seen:-
- I see rational, dedicated, passionate Bronco fans on both sides of the QB argument resort to name calling. (Some are funny names, but still).
- I see rational, dedicated, passionate Bronco fans wanting Orton to get hurt, injured and/or downright fail as bad as the opposition.
- I see rational, dedicated, passionate Bronco fans wanting Tebow QB to get hurt, injured and/or downright fail as bad the opposition, and fall flat on his face, so they can say "I told you so."
- I see rational, dedicated, passionate Bronco fans questioning the motives of their owner, coach, and most famous QB in history.
I see rational, dedicated, passionate Bronco fans hoping we will lose every game of the year, just so we risk everything on *another* QB next year.
Some fans will argue – often correctly – that they don’t really *hate* Orton, or Tebow, they just hate their fans. But it always starts that way. Sooner or later, the desire - generated by the debate and simply human nature – drives a fan to levy that ill-will on the player. As above, there are a number of folk on this site – who want Tebow to fail dismally before he has really begun (if ever). This is guy who – let’s keep religion out of this – is an ideal role model for young fans in terms of humility, dedication, hard work and respect for others. There are a number of folk on this site who want Orton – a humble, anti-arrogance personified, non-nonsesne solid guy, to have his legs broken to just get out of the way. This doesn't make sense. And this is what people do when they see the same results, and no visibility of any hope of a change.
So please, take some steps to show us you aren't simply ignorant of what – in many cases- are open, honest questions. Treat us like adults. If the entire populace of Bronco Country knew Miami was in talks with Orton, don’t treat us like it didn’t happen, don’t use the Eddie Murphy "Raw" defense. - "Wadn’t me". Because in the absence of you guys actually ‘leading’ and reacting to a problem, the fanbase is tearing itself up while you seem to be ignorant of the problems.
These steps can also rectify the other issue I mentioned, that of hope. Hope might be an irrational, illogical thing. But it’s what keeps folk following teams in their deepest, darkest hours. And I don’t think we’re there yet. I’m excited whenever our defense takes the field – even as depleted as they are, they still make plays. Decker is looking great – perhaps I don’t have to keep lighting a candle for DT.
But before people start saying "It’s not all doom and gloom tonks, don’t be so dramatic" - you're right, but let’s all be real guys: during pre-season, there was unquestioned hope for the playoffs, and they sky was the limit. So we’re doing great – but our expectations, on the whole, have been greatly diminished.… and sadly, occasionally undeservedly, we are starting to lose our hope for this season in Orton.
As I said in my last post – I will, and have, cheered for Orton. And I will keep doing so. But it’s getting harder with each game. And here’s why.
Most of us fans are adults. We don’t really have superheroes to cheer for anymore. Football games, as much as any sport, is one of the few areas a healthy male will scream his lungs out in support of another adult male that he’s not related to. So we want our players to be Superheroes. And of all the players we want to be a Superhero, the one we want to come through at the climax, at the critical moment, in the "clutch" – it’s the QB.
Look, we know QB’s are human. But, Superheros screw up too. Look, even Superman forgot about Louis Lane when her car when into the ditch and had to roll back the earth ("Oops!"). At least he could spin the Earth back and… … sorry, I digress.
But for the most part, we should be able to count on the QB to come through in the clinches, to rescue is when the chips are down, to carry the game on his shoulders when it needs to be carried, to be cool as a cucumber, and put the crowd on its feat. If anyone has to be *almost* that superhero, it’s the QB.
Yes, its’ a team sport. But our team just keeps us in the game, and puts our QB in a position to win it. Awesome RB’s can have that impact too, and yes, occasionally you can win on TOs but really, it’s the QB who has the ball in his hands most of the time. This isn’t the X-men, or the three musketeers, or Batman and Robin. So sure it’s a team game, but the QB is the ‘closer’. And the last three games, I’d argue that our team has kept us close. Close enough we should be winning these games.
Orton is simply not that guy, the ‘closer’ god bless him. I don’t get excited when he has the ball near the goal like I should for a superhero – anything can happen now!!! – I get nervous. I get worried. And you know the worst part? I think he does too L
I cheer for him, I will him to win, I want him to succeed, and I *don’t* get disappointed when we do win with him. But rather than feeling euphoria after a win, I just feel relieved. And that’s not really how I should feel. I should feel like "Yeah YEAH, we kicked some BE-HIND – I’m ready for the next guy!" (even if we only win by 2).. not "Oh gawd, I’m so glad we scraped in with that one, My heart stopped 3 minutes go can you pass the defibrillator?" I don’t want to keep feeling like we are about to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
I’m not sure if Tebow is the answer. But for a lot of us, he gave us some hope last year when he played Perhaps he’s not ready to start, but I think even most who don’t want him to start now ‘hope’ he is going improve enough in future that his skill matches his intangibles.
By not putting him in Sunday at the goal line – where even many who are not ‘fans’ agree his record is great – was the first sign that our hopes are perhaps completely irrational. Perhaps Fox really does ‘not like him’. Perhaps he doesn’t have a future here. Perhaps we should jettison our hope. And that’s a sad, sad thing when right now we have more hope than results.
So I’ll keep watching, keep cheering for Orton and the team, and keep hoping. Just one thing – please give us something to hope for, ‘k?
P.S Please cheer for the Mighty Magpies this Friday night in the Australian Rules Grand Final, my ‘other’ team.