Imagine my surprise yesterday logging onto Twitter and seeing virtually every Broncos’ analyst and writer discussing the Broncos’ Field Day that occurred instead of them having one final practice ahead of Training Camp.
While Broncos have yet to post photos/videos from today’s team-building event, social-media posts from players reveal basketball and laser tag among Field Day activities. Had to figure Hackett would go for fun. Guessing DEN line will move from 4-pt to 5-pt faves vs SEA. #9sports— Mike Klis (@mikeklis) June 15, 2022
While I won’t give the person who ignited the controversy any more attention and link it, suffice to say, it was quite a foolish opinion.
There’s no controversy here at all. The Denver Broncos having a field day and enjoying spending the day off having fun with each other is something that should actually be celebrated, not debated and discouraged. These guys work tirelessly for weeks with blood, sweat, and tears pushing themselves to the brink to make the team better so that the fans can enjoy it. These vapid thoughts on them not being able to blow off a little steam instead of a single day of practice are quite literally silly and unserious.
It’s not exactly out of the norm for teams to do this sort of thing either. The New Orleans Saints have done an annual paintball competition for years under Sean Payton, and Sean McVay with the Los Angeles Rams has embraced football being fun and encourages all sorts of downtime activities. Teams across the NFL are embracing doing activities like this to give the players some downtime.
There’s a rather novel concept called Esprit de Corps, which is French for “spirit of the body”. It’s a term used to describe morale between people. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as “the common spirit existing in the members of a group and inspiring enthusiasm, devotion, and strong regard for the honor of the group”. Succinctly, trust between people in a group.
These guys have to push themselves through a grueling now 18-game season, and oftentimes when the pads are on and players are whizzing around your head, the trust between you and your teammates is the only thing stopping or creating a big play. Players go through tragedies in their personal lives, and that bond helps keep them grounded. Celebrating the joys of winning without that bond in the locker room just isn’t the same.
The team I played on growing up was pretty terrible. We went my entire first season without winning a single game. About halfway through the second season, however, they won (I had retired off of a torn ACL but was still pretty involved with the team) the very first game. I still remember that feeling of joy and absolute triumph a decade later. That bond that came through the struggles, despite us all being young, made it that much more special. I’m still good friends with teammates from that team.
The Broncos, who have embraced being more forward-thinking in their process, should be lauded for having these activities. In fact, they should happen more often across the league. One day more of OTAs isn’t going to be the difference between a winning or losing record. Forging that bond between teammates will.
Feels appropriate to post this clip from @jsimms1119 presser describing how team bonding is the “biggest component” of OTAs.— Ryan Edwards (@redwardsradio) June 15, 2022
If you’re struggling with the #Broncos decision to cancel today’s final practice maybe consider listening to the actual players describe what’s important pic.twitter.com/96aptkEVRQ
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