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Without the Broncos, the playoffs are hollow

The expectation is this is the last time the organization and fans experience this.

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Good morning, Broncos Country!

First day of the NFL playoffs in the books, and, yes, they still suck without the Denver Broncos involved.

The one and only positive out of the current state of affairs in the NFL is that Broncos Country doesn’t have the stress. While you’re watching, it doesn’t feel as if you’re giving yourself mini heart attack after mini heart attack. When the game is over, you don’t feel like you just ran a marathon.

The reason this feels so weird is because it hasn’t happened very often. The last time Denver wasn’t in the playoffs was 2010. For those who don’t remember or have selective amnesia from that season, the Broncos finished 4-12 and was capped by the 59-14 home loss to the Oakland Raiders.

Every season since then Denver has been in the playoffs. So the Broncos have no idea what Oakland’s 14-year non-playoff streak is like. On a side note, the other great occurrence from the first day of the playoffs was the Raiders losing to the Houston Texans. "Just one and done, baby."

As Adam Malnati and I vented on the Mile High Report Radio Podcast, the expectation and hope is that this is the last time the organization and fans have to experience a playoff season without Denver. Because as noted at the start, it sucks.

Broncos Tracks

Broncos interview Falcons OC Kyle Shanahan as coaching search continues
A day after meeting with Chiefs STC Dave Toub, Broncos executives flew to Atlanta to meet with Shanahan.

Broncos interview Chiefs' Dave Toub for head-coaching vacancy
Toub has been a special-teams coordinator for 13 seasons -- nine in Chicago and four in Kansas City.

Sacco Sez: It's all about the coaching search
Jim Saccomano weighs in on the topic on everyone's mind.

Terrell Davis sees "ground swell of support" for HOF case
Terrell Davis can feel the momentum in his favor as he tries to break into the Hall of Fame.

Mastermind II: Broncos interview Kyle Shanahan | 9news.com
Regardless of whether they hire Kyle Shanahan as their next head coach, here's hoping the Denver Broncos paid attention during his interview Saturday morning to get ideas on how to run an offense.

Longmont flag football team to represent Denver Broncos at championships - Longmont Times-Call
One flag football practice in a snowy field was enough for We Sport U! coach Tim Tests.

Broncos’ Brandon Marshall tries out Denver police shooting simulator - 7NEWS Denver TheDenverChannel.com
Broncos' Brandon Marshall spent a day learning about the rapidly-evolving situations DPD officers go through every day.

Steve Atwater deserves to be in Pro Football Hall of Fame | Broncos Wire
Broncos Wire makes the case for former Denver Broncos safety Steve Atwater being elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

How missing the playoffs in 2016 "actually might benefit" the Broncos in 2017
The Denver Broncos’ offseason is significantly longer than it was last year. While football will be played for nearly another month, the Broncos won't be involved.

AFC West Tracks

Chiefs linebacker Dee Ford is a man of musical talents | The Kansas City Star
When the Kansas City Chiefs selected Dee Ford in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, they figured they were getting a lightning-quick defender. What they didn’t know was that they were also getting an accomplished musician.

Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith is exceptionally smart and disciplined | The Kansas City Star
In NFL history, only three quarterbacks with at least 150 attempts have a higher career passer rating than the Kansas City Chiefs’ Alex Smith.

Kansas City Chiefs have three reasons to feel confident about playoffs
This is the third time the Chiefs have made the playoffs under Andy Reid, as confidence is sky-high. Here are three reasons K.C. is feeling good.

Kansas City Chiefs have three reasons to feel confident about playoffs
This is the third time the Chiefs have made the playoffs under Andy Reid, as confidence is sky-high. Here are three reasons K.C. is feeling good.

Chargers begin head coach interviews, now head East - The San Diego Union-Tribune
Mike Smith was the first of six known candidates to be interviewed Thursday.

San Diego Chargers RB Andre Williams shows promise in finale
Andre Williams made the most of his opportunity in the season finale, rushing for 87 yards on 18 carries to make a strong impression on the Chargers.

Philip Rivers finishes season healthy, but has to solve turnover issue - San Diego Chargers Blog- ESPN
Veteran QB Philip Rivers says he feels "healthy and strong," and that despite finishing 5-11 the Chargers can be "great" in the next few years.

The Mike McCoy Years: An Era of Underachieving - Bolts From The Blue
The Chargers have not lived up to expectations.

Today's Playoff Team Tracks

Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers playoff history | Miami Herald
Sunday’s game between the Miami Dolphins and the Steelers in Pittsburgh will mark only the fourth playoff meeting between two tradition-rich franchises that combined for six Super Bowl victories in a six-season span in the 1970s.

Heavy-favorite Steelers look for revenge against Dolphins - Pittsburgh Steelers Blog- ESPN
While the Steelers are surging and primed to succeed in the playoffs, the Dolphins could pose a threat since they already beat Pittsburgh this season.

Steelers need 'cold-weather quarterback' Ben Roethlisberger to conquer the elements - AFC North- ESPN
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has shown throughout his career that he's comfortable playing outdoors in snowy and windy conditions.

Sunday will be cold, but that doesn't mean the Steelers won't throw it | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The high is forecast to be around 20, which could make the Steelers-Dolphins game among the top-five coldest games at Heinz Field.

Despite lack of playoff experience, Dolphins are loose and motivated - Sun Sentinel
The Miami Dolphins only have 13 players with playoff experience, but they remain loose and confident heading into Sunday's game against Pittsburgh Steelers.

Despite lack of playoff experience, Dolphins are loose and motivated - Sun Sentinel
The Miami Dolphins only have 13 players with playoff experience, but they remain loose and confident heading into Sunday's game against Pittsburgh Steelers.

Deciphering if the weather will be a factor for the Dolphins vs. the Steelers Sunday - Behind the Steel Curtain
The Pittsburgh Steelers have home-field advantage Sunday in the AFC Wild Card game, and part of that advantage is going to involve the weather forecast.

Dolphins Face Daunting Task At Pittsburgh - The Phinsider
Miami and Pittsburgh will face off in a Sunday Wildcard showdown.

New York Giants veterans deliver playoff message to young players - New York Giants Blog- ESPN
Of the Giants' 22 starters on offense and defense, 16 of them have never played in the playoffs.

Giants’ ‘sudden player’ can quiet Rodgers — and pound Packers | New York Post
The dream scenario for the Giants is Aaron Rodgers on the sidelines, frozen with helplessness and anxiety, watching the kid run the rock over and over and over again.

Sullivan: Consistency, not a "magic button," helps Eli Manning in playoffs - Big Blue View
Giants’ offensive coordinator looks toward Green Bay game.

Can Packers keep running the table vs. 'Playoff Eli' and Giants' D? - Green Bay Packers Blog- ESPN
The Packers and Aaron Rodgers have won six straight, but Eli Manning can be tough to beat. Sunday's game could come down to the quarterbacks.

Dougherty: Giant obstacle for Packers' offense
Get the latest Green Bay Packers news, features, commentary, scores, photo galleries, video and audio at PackersNews.com.

How does Aaron Rodgers stack up against Brett Favre in the playoffs? - Acme Packing Company
Rodgers is about to hit a key comparison milestone. Let’s look at how he stacks up to his predecessor.

NFL Tracks

NFL MVP tracker: Falcons' Matt Ryan decisive winner on final ballot
The race might not be as close as it seems, as USA TODAY NFL team decisively tabs its 2016 winner.

Los Angeles still feels like home to the Raiders, so the NFL should make it official - LA Times
It was a season during which the NFL finally returned to Los Angeles, all the buzz surrounding one team, all title hopes pinned to one roster, many of the fans.

Chip Kelly 'wouldn't rule anything out' with next job - NFL.com
Chip Kelly is out of a job, but will he be for long? The former San Francisco 49ers head coach says he wouldn't rule anything out in terms of his coaching future, including a return to the college game.

Olivea, once signed by Giants, took 125 Vicodin a day in NFL - NY Daily News
A former Ohio State football player whose NFL career fell apart because of a painkiller addiction says he wants to become a college coach.

What it's like to play in the NFL playoffs - 2016
It's win or go home, and everyone knows it. That's why prepping for -- and playing in -- an NFL postseason game is a different animal for coaches and players alike.

NFL Ratings Declines Ease After Election - WSJ
While the NFL season started off with a steep drop in ratings, the audience largely rebounded after the election, leaving full-season ratings down an average of 8% from a year ago.

Coach-needy teams are waiting to learn status of Bill O'Brien - NFL.com
While the Houston Texans face the Oakland Raiders, six teams are engaged in a competition to find a new head coach. And many of them appear to be waiting on the future of Houston head coach Bill O'Brien.