The New York Jets and Detroit Lions share the commonality of being regarded as laughing stocks of the NFL. For Jets fans, it’s been close to 11 years since a Mark Sanchez and Rex Ryan led squad nearly came back from 21 against Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship in hopes of their first appearance in a Super Bowl since Joe Namath back in 1969. The Lions while making the playoffs back in the 2016 season have never appeared in a Super Bowl, much less won a Lombardi Trophy.
Now, as the 2021 season comes to a conclusion today against Patrick Mahomes and company, the Broncos now find themselves sandwiched in between the two in the top three of the "longest playoff drought" list after the Cardinals and Bengals snapped their 5 year streaks with excellent seasons. Not a list one exactly wants to find themselves on.
1. New York Jets (11 years)
2. Denver Broncos (6 years)
3. Detroit Lions (5 years)
Bless our hearts that Von Miller and The No Fly Zone were able to nullify the likes of Cam Newton in Super Bowl 50, because I can only imagine how bleak things would look if Peyton Manning never lifted the Lombardi that season and in the bigger picture, his Broncos tenure.
I know I know, if buts and maybes get us nowhere. I’m sure Lions and Jets fans would bite hands off for being able to see their team raise a super bowl. But we’re not the Lions and not the Jets. We’re the Denver MF Broncos, who thanks to figures like Pat Bowlen, Terrell Davis, John Elway, and Peyton Manning are regarded as NFL royalty. We shouldn’t be comparing ourselves to the likes of the Jets and Lions.
Yet since that hoisting of the trophy, our organization has operated with the same dysfunctionality as those teams from coaching misfires (cough Vance Joseph instead of Kyle Shanahan), to instability at quarterback, a one position in which it is pretty much a guarentee that instability will ruin any championship aspirations. Ownership, or better described as lack of ownership is another one to mention, with the Bowlen siblings jostling for control in circumstances that are surely making Mr. B roll in his grave.
6 years and nothing seems to be improving. You can say "we’re a quarterback away" or "a coach away" but then again as said prior, if buts and maybes do us no good. A culture change is needed and whether that starts with the ownership, George Paton at GM, the coaches, or the players, someone needs to be the catalyst to get this franchise on the right track again because at this point in time we’re stuck in the same cycle of mediocrity that is rivalled only by maybe the Falcons or Panthers. If someone can argue for a team in a worse situation than us please go ahead, but the lack of hope within this franchise is unrivalled in my opinion.
In my dream world this offseason the ownership is settled and stable, we bring in an exciting new coaching staff that is more offense focused (Doug Peterson or Kellen Moore are my choices), we go hard after a big name QB in the trade market (Rodgers or Wilson). And I mean hard. Like sacrificing the future hard. If a deal doesn’t present itself, hopefully the new coaching staff and Mr. Paton can evaluate the QB prospects they like and ask the question "how much better will he be than Drew Lock" and if the answer is substantially use an early round pick on the position. Kenny Pickett seems to be the increasing consensus QB1 and I can say I’m a fan from what I’ve watched but it is noteworthy that he will be 24 before the season starts. If the answer is no to the aforementioned question than build up the linebacking core with a guy I love out of Georgia, Nakobe Dean who not only brings talent but also leadership to the position.
All this is easier said than done. I have zero experience running a football team. I’m not in the building every day all I can do is read reports and then watch the end product on the field. That being said, action must be taken or that 6 will become 7 and that 7 will become 8 on the drought list before you can blink.