The Denver Broncos have fallen far short of their potential in the past few years.
Poor QB talent.
Bad draft picks (sans 2018).
Abysmal coaching of the lowest form.
It has been a rough ride. It is not what our team is used to and is a far cry from meeting what we in Broncos Country know as the Broncos Standard.
The Broncos Standard
I’ve spent time talking to many other fan bases among the SB Nation blogs. Many are fan bases just like ours...a bunch of passionate, fanatic, fun, and very sharp football fans. Some of them though find out that I’m a Broncos fan and immediately bring up how they can’t stand Broncos fans.
I always try to take the time to find out why and the most common answer I get is that our fan base is one of the most entitled in the NFL that doesn’t cheer for the New England Patriots or the Pittsburgh Steelers.
I honestly agree with this sentiment and accept it fully as a fan of the Broncos.
Call us whiny, entitled, or any other term you like with your nose turned down at us...I love every second of it.
We have a standard on this team. Pat Bowlen instilled it in this franchise and for decades we have been absolutely spoiled as a fan base to enjoy the fruits of it.
This team fights for championships. This team has few losing seasons and they expect to be in the playoff hunt regularly.
It is this standard that is the difference between our beloved franchise and a 2nd rate franchise like the Kansas City Chiefs.
Their team, fan base, and organization are all excited as all get out to be in the AFC Championship game. But behind it all is fear...especially for their fans. They don’t know how to win it all. They’ve never seen it and neither has their team since the modern inception of what we call NFL football.
If Denver was in that game, we wouldn’t have fear. We would have proud anticipation of the game. It is a completely different story and it is because of how this team is supposed to be ran and how it is supposed to operate.
The sad reality
Unfortunately, we aren’t anywhere close to an AFC Championship game. Our organization wasn’t up to the task and fell far short of that pinnacle (congrats KC...getting there is definitely a worthy accomplishment).
We have had two years of a joke of a head coach with several jokes of players at QB. The team has talent and even got a huge infusion of it in the last draft. But the engine just won’t turn over and get chugging.
This has caused (and rightly so) the heat to be turned up on John Elway. He’s the President of Football Operations after all. The buck stops with him, right Joe Ellis?
This battleship needs repair
The season is over and this team has been dry docked to undergo some heavy repairs. It is slow, old, and crumbling around the edges in some ways. The Broncos team needs to get stripped down to the bare skeleton, reinforced, and then put back together into something that looks more formidable in today’s NFL.
Our offense has been a hot mess. Our coaching has been sub par. Even our vaunted defense is starting to wear around the edges (well more like the secondary, but that’s another story for another day).
Elway won’t say it, but this is what he’s doing
Elway has brought in a head coach that is instantly going to bring credibility to the position. Did you guys watch his introductory press conference? My No Bull take is that it was the first time I’ve seen a real NFL Football adult talking as the head of the coaching for the Denver Broncos since Gary Kubiak was healthy.
I love the selection of Vic Fangio. And it is more than just “he’s a guy that talks well as a coach.” He’s also a guy like Wade Phillips who will instantly get these players back on point on the defensive side of the ball and dialed in and ready to wreak havoc on NFL offenses moving forward.
I also love the fact honestly that Gary Kubiak didn’t work out as an OC for the team. I’ve seen nothing to indicate that he’s got the goods to run any kind of modern NFL offense. Look what is happening in Minnesota...he’s bringing in the same old assistants he’s always used. Shoot me now. I remember what that hot mess looked like in the 2016 season.
So now we’re actually interviewing a student of Kyle Shanahan as the #1 option to lead the Broncos offense in a completely new direction. It is innovative. It is surely risky as well, but it is the gutsy kind of move that I feel like Pat Bowlen would approve of. It reminds me of what happened when we brought in Mike Shannahan to lead the team on one more charge to try and get John Elway back in the Super Bowl for another shot.
The future is cloudy
I’m not sure any of this will work. Fangio may not be the guy. Rich Scangarello may be a hot mess at OC. We may spend a high draft pick on a guy who is a complete bust.
Anything can happen.
But what I love is that Elway is changing directions. We’re not banging our heads into a wall repeatedly hoping it “just works” one of these days. Elway is going in guns blazing and looking for a way to get this team back on the path to the promised land.
Buckle up, Broncos Country. 2019 is going to be one helluva ride!