As we head into Week 9, a great deal of the focus has been on the upcoming contest between the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots. Pretty much everyone in the group has become -- at least on some level -- a Broncos fan. While each one would like to see his or her own team win, there is also a fascination with seeing just how far the Peyton-led Broncos can go. Everyone in the group believes that the Broncos defense is so much improved -- to go along with an already devastating offense -- that the only way the Broncos won't win the Super Bowl will be if they manage to beat themselves. So, with that in mind, and without further ado, here are a few thoughts from the Water Cooler Quarterbacks as we head into Week 9:
1 -- Picture the scene
The serious-eyed quarterback lines his team up. He quickly scans the defense in front of him. It is fourth down and a one-yard completion will gain his team a first down. He barks out his signals and sends his team in motion. The receivers all take off . . . racing for the end zone. He stands resolute behind the line for a five-count then as a rusher charges down on him, he heaves the ball with all his strength after his rapidly dwindling receivers. The ball falls short of any of his teammates by a good three yards. He begins to yell at his teammates for not looking to see where he was throwing. They yell back that he should have thrown farther. Meanwhile, one lone receiver stands all alone, one yard away from the quarterback, no-one around him, hands raised palm-up beside his shoulders . . . nearby the teachers all stand with their faces in their palms. Welcome to the world of middle school flag football and the problem of trying to get kids to not imitate highlight reels (we even had one student practicing an end zone dance in anticipation of catching one of those long bombs).
2 -- Not one but two 500-yard games
Big Ben of the Pittsburgh Steelers became the first quarterback from 1960 to the present to throw for over 500 yards in not one, but two games. Thirteen other quarterbacks have managed the feat in just a single game -- and interestingly enough, seven of those huge efforts came in losses.
3 -- A good way to start
The Broncos have started a season with a 6-1 record nine times in franchise history. They won the AFC Championship in five of those seasons and have won one Super Bowl following a 6-1 start. Here's to not only a good start but a powerful finish.
(2)4 -- A fond farewell to a champ
The NFL and Broncos fans in particular are bidding a fond farewell to Champ Bailey who has announced his retirement. He will undoubtedly be a first-ballot Hall of Fame addition after a stellar 15-year career (10 of which he spent in the orange and blue). During that remarkable career, he recorded 52 interceptions (most by a cornerback from 1999-2013) and 235 passes defensed (most by any NFL player during that span). A fond Mile High Salute to a stalwart player.
5 --The choices of television broadcasting
It has always amazed us what decisions are made regarding the NFL games fans get to see on CBS and Fox in the Los Angeles area. There have been 24 games broadcast thus far, featuring 22 teams. San Diego has been in 6 of them, followed by Dallas with 4, Green Bay/San Francisco/Denver/Seattle with 3, Oakland/New York Jets/Kansas City/Arizona with 2 and twelve teams with a single appearance. It would be interesting to know how the NFL and the networks determine which games should be aired in which areas (blackout rules not withstanding).
6 -- Scratching our heads yet again
Our attention was caught by the story of the man who went to the Broncos-Chargers game with his son last Thursday night, disappeared and was not found until the following Tuesday -- 118 miles to the south in Pueblo. His explanation: he'd had his fill of football and decided to go for a walk. We're glad to hear he is safe and hope the media will respect his family's request for privacy.
What can we say? It was something of a slow week, discussion wise. Several of our group were caught up in the MLB World Series -- we had one avid Giants fan to go with an equally avid Royals fan. Some of our other members were caught up in deep discussion regarding the new "College Football Playoff" system -- they weren't seeing much (if any) difference between it and the former BCS (other than the new system has two fewer teams in the mix).