To all you fans who want to blame one person or say “I told you so” for the nightmare that unfolded on a brutal winter’s night – I say this to you:
“Grow up and be a better fan to your Broncos.”
Whine all you want. Be angry all you want. Call for someone’s job all you want (except for McCoy… he’s a traitor in every sense.) Be a bitter fan all you want. Our team, nor does our fanbase need your negativity surrounding this heartbreaking loss. The truest of fans will no doubt be angry and bitter with the shocking premature end to our season – but they will also appreciate just how much we exceeded expectations, look forward to next year and still bleed orange and blue (once the wounds have healed and we have finished crying the orange and blue tears from our eyes.)
Want to blame Peyton Manning for the interception in overtime, to hand the Ravens the ball within field goal range? At that point, we should have all been celebrating a win while the Ravens were headed back home to Baltimore. This shouldn’t have happened and therefore shouldn’t have mattered, but it did.
Want to blame Rahim Moore for blown (like an atomic bomb, blown) coverage, giving the Ravens 7 points to tie the game late in the 4thQuarter? At that point, Peyton should have been taking his last knee, while the city of Denver celebrated in a sea of orange and blue confetti.
3rd and 7 will live in infamy in Broncos history now as a reminder of all things evil… 21 feet, and we would be welcoming the Patsies – or giving the Ravens more time in regulation, resting our hopes on a defense that failed on more than one occasion this day.
Want to blame the conservative play calling by the coaching staff, not being aggressive enough when they needed? At that point, our Broncos had won 11 straight games without any aggressive play calling… this shouldn’t have been any different, but it was.
Perhaps the coaching staff suddenly forgot why we worked to sign Peyton… 30 seconds, with two timeouts. Or perhaps the coaching staff didn’t want to allow Prater the opportunity to redeem himself. Or quite possibly, the coaching staff was so rattled by the horrid officiating and those damn yellow flags littering the field, they wanted time to regroup in overtime.
Want to blame the bad officiating, and the calls that didn’t go our way – even if number 52 and Harbaugh had a little payoff party before the game? Think of those other games when our opponents were at the receiving end of bad calls and lost. I’m sure we’ve said this before – “Boo hoo, your team had a bad call and lost. Get over it.”
When faced with adversity, the greatest teams get over it and find a way to win. The Broncos didn’t, and lost. The greatest teams take the good and the bad and still win, the Broncos had shown they were not a great team. The bad officiating shouldn’t have mattered, but it did.
Want to blame a future hall of famer in Champ for missing plays late in the game, and looking like someone who has played years upon years of brutal football?
One man can’t do it alone on every single Sunday, or on any given Sunday (Saturday, as this case may be.) Our hall of famer, and arguably the greatest cornerback to have ever played the game, desperately needed help – yet there he was, alone.
Want to blame Prater for the missed field goal? Well… unfortunately, no way around that one. Prater messed that one up pretty good. But it’s incredibly unfair to blame Prater when every other aspect of our team failed on a colossal level. The missed field goal shouldn’t have mattered, but it did.
The bottom line is this. Our team did not play as a team. That’s what caused the bitter defeat in the bone chilling cold of this January afternoon.
NFL games are a full 60 minutes. Four quarters of 15 minutes each. Every single play and every single call has a direct impact on every other play and every other call during the game – the ENTIRE game.
If that wasn’t the case, then each quarter would be considered its own game – when the clock reads 2Q 15:00, 3Q 15:00, or 4Q 15:00, we could start fresh. The very sad reality, is that the above isn’t reality. The team that shows up for the entire 60 minute game, is the team that walks away with the W.
You can blame Peyton, you can blame Rahim, you can blame Fox, you can blame Prater, you can blame Champ, you can blame good old number 52 in the zebra shirt – but you should only do so as long as you look at the entire effort of the team.
And for those of you who want to bring Tebow into this? These words are specifically for you – you are the worst Bronco fan, for you are not a true Bronco fan.
Yes. Tebow delivered us a great season, he won us a playoff game and brought back Mile High Magic. But he’s gone. And much like our current season is gone, we have to pick up the pieces as fans and as a team, and move on.
The Broncos lost. Yes, it’s sad. Yes, it makes us fans angry. Yes, it makes the team angry. Yes, we want to find blame.
But as those white letters painted on a blue brick wall at Mile High read: Your family grows to 76,125 on game day. Those words will still be there next season.
For better or worse – I’m proud to be a Bronco fan, as all true Bronco fans should be. Mile High is our home and the Broncos are our team – lest we forget that, our TEAM. And for those of us who lived and died with every snap, every touchdown, every turnover, every yellow flag along with our players on the field in the bitter cold – aren’t you proud to have been a part of an instant classic playoff game? You should be, I know I am. Win or lose.