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To beat the Raiders or not beat the Raiders?

Seriously. I can’t believe this is a question.

Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images

I get it.

Drafting at No. 5 is better than No. 15.

Potentially.

But advocating losing to the Raiders to move up a few spots in the Draft???

I can’t do it.

I’m sorry.

I can appreciate the passion of those of you fans who put aside your competitive desire to win now for a higher draft pick that may or may not result in winning more later.

But I just can’t be one of you.

For one thing, I hate the Raiders. I hate their uniforms. I hate their fans. I hate their fans’ poor grammar.

I hate them - “like good hates evil and evil hates good” (read in your best Samuel L. Jackson voice, please).

I grew up in the 70s when the Broncos were just becoming good enough to beat teams - any teams - and the Raiders were a juggernaut they finally defeated in 1977. And that victory set off decades of great rivalry games between two teams that hated each other.

And it was marvelous.

So it’s just not in my blood to not really care about winning or losing to the Raiders even though the rivalry has been dormant for years.

For another thing, I hate losing. But it’s not really losing the game that bothers me. I’ll be fine by Monday (or latest by Thursday) if Broncos lose on Sunday.

But I hate advocating losing. Even for something good down the road. Because that breeds a defeatist mindset that may not be seen on the roster or the depth chart but will be felt on the field and in the locker room.

Because “something good” isn’t a known entity. Is the rookie we get at No. 13 that much worse than we could have gotten at No. 8? Is the BPA at No. 8 a player at a position we even need? Is the first-round player we get in the draft the only player to turn around a team?

No.

But telling your current team that you’d be fine with them losing is the beginning of an apathetic fan base. And an apathetic fan base can lead to - or influence having - apathetic players. Players who just want to follow the paycheck and will give up hope the minute the team hits a rough patch.

Can you imagine telling Justin Simmons to go out on the field and not play too hard because you’d really like the Broncos - the team he has spilled blood for and is hoping to stay with because he loves the coaches, his teammates and the fans - to half-ass this game and lose ... for a slightly better (maybe) rookie in April?

Do you want to tell Bradley Chubb, who has been working his ass off this season to come back from an ACL injury that kept him off the field all of last year, that you don’t really care if he plays Sunday because it would be better for him if the team lost?

Would you like to tell Jerry Jeudy to drop a bunch of passes this week too and risk his self-confidence as well as his interest in being a team player for this squad for years to come just for a couple more spots?

Be my guest. But I won’t do it.

I do like Vic Fangio’s approach - prepare to win every game, but don’t put too much on single wins OR losses. Even in Week 17.

“I’m a believer in that [a win] will make Sunday night and Monday feel a whole lot better, but I think each and every season is its own entity,” he said. “Teams change as everybody knows. Teams that have great records—their roster changes. Our roster will change somewhat obviously. So, I think each and every season is its own entity.”

Fans are fans in all different ways, and I won’t tell other fans how to feel about this weekend’s game. As I said, I can appreciate the ability to see the big picture for the team and want something better and think that a better draft position is helpful.

And I certainly don’t think that winning Sunday means the Broncos will be destined for a much better season next year.

My big picture includes this current team putting it all on the field Sunday - with backups and setbacks and all - and going into the offseason knowing they fought hard, hopefully came out with the win, and energized to get ready for an offseason of hard-ass work.

Because that’s what really will make them a better team.

Happy New Year, Broncos Country. Here’s to a much better 2021!

Poll

Are you rooting to beat the Raiders...or are you a loser? (LOL...kidding...sort of)

This poll is closed

  • 58%
    F the Raiders. Go for the W.
    (532 votes)
  • 41%
    Lose [for the Draft win]
    (374 votes)
906 votes total Vote Now

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