It has been nearly four months since fans across Broncos Country collectively held a sense of optimism. With a strong start to their 2017 campaign, the Denver Broncos showcased themselves as a playoff caliber squad poised to make some noise in the post-season; only to endure a series of self-inflicted woes that turned the season's tide toward a far more cataclysmic outcome. When you are a fan of a perennially competitive team, expectations are always going to be high. Despite a complete change in coaching regimes and revamped roster, those lofty goals appeared to be reasonably within grasp, only to have them slip away due to a litany of errors plaguing the franchise from top to bottom.
Even if the Broncos close out their season with a win at home against the Kansas City Chiefs, the major tune symbolic of this year will not change. 2017, in respect to Denver, will forever be known as the dubious deviation from a long-lasting standard of greatness — the Broncos Standard.
It’s an idea often often touted by coaches, players and the brass leading the franchise. A short, but sweet vision described far more easily than it is to realistically obtain: to compete for championships year in and year out. Not many franchises can say such a thing with any sort of realism, but unabashedly so, the Broncos do — and there is a good reason for it.
Since John Elway took the reins at Dove Valley, the Broncos have won five AFC West titles, a Super Bowl (with two appearances) and have routinely been one of the best teams in the entire league. That’s the type of success most general managers could only dream of having, but for Elway it’s been a reality. But it isn’t just recent success that allows such a belief — it’s tradition. Make no mistake, the Broncos are one of the most historic and successful franchises on the planet, regardless of the sport. The team has nearly just as many AFC West titles (15) as they do losing seasons (18). In fact, Denver has only had four losing seasons in the past twenty years.
During Mr. B's 33 seasons as owner, only the NBA's Spurs (.636) have a higher win percentage than the Broncos (.612) in ALL of pro sports. pic.twitter.com/v7pOniFGhL— Patrick Smyth (@psmyth12) February 18, 2017
Even if conventional wisdom and annual swings of the National Football League show otherwise — the Broncos certainly have proven that they are more often than not contenders than pretenders. It's been seven years since the Broncos have endured such an embarrassing season, and the last time they did — things were fixed in a hurry. While last season's outcome was less than desirable, what has transpired throughout this year has a feel that is undoubtedly different. Irrefutably, our beloved 2017 Broncos are the biggest disappointment in John Elway's tenure of leadership. Rest assured, you can bank that a man of Elway's nature won't let this failure become commonplace and one should reasonably expect him to make a multitude of significant moves to propel the Broncos back to the top of the AFC.
It’s always quiet before the storm. Uncertainty looms over Dove Valley and believe me, a storm is coming. While it doesn’t show up often in the media, there is no doubt a large battle in respect to ownership of the team is impacting the direction of the team. If longevity and maintaining the Broncos Standard is a priority moving forward, that is one of, if not the first thing that needs to be addressed — but it’s certainly a messy situation that may drag on for years without resolution. Not only that, it’s almost a virtual certainty that the Broncos will once again be in search of another head coach, their fourth in the past five years. It’s impossible to have continued success in the league with the constant coaching carousel. It negatively impacts player development and the ability for young prospects to realize their full potential.
Ellis and Elway have to get the front office in order before the product on the field will get any better. Having a solid starting QB is a good way to mask some on field problems, but the #Broncos issues go much deeper than just QB.— Adam Malnati (@AdamMalnati16) December 27, 2017
It’s time for the Broncos to find a man who they believe can be here for the long haul. It’s time to find someone who will be freely allowed to coach and do things his way, without anyone above him overreaching into areas where he needn’t be such as involvement with with game day decisions. It’s time to end the pulling of the strings behind the scenes to end. The longer the master of puppets facade goes on, the deeper down the rabbit hole the franchise goes.
Yes my friends, a storm is coming, though you can find solace in knowing that every now and then it has to rain for the sun to shine. If you are a gambler of any kind, don't bet the farm on this year's aberration cementing itself as normality. Keep believing in the Broncos, keep believing in the Broncos Standard. It's what separates Broncos Country from so many others — having and supporting a tradition of excellence that few fans ever get to realize. A legacy that will continue through the years, just as long as the issues at the top are finally resolved.
Believe in the future — it gets better.