Interim head coach Jerry Rosburg, in two games taking over the Denver Broncos from Nathaniel Hackett, did the unthinkable and breathed life into a team that so noticeably seemed dead in the water.
After a 51-14 Christmas beatdown at the hands of the Los Angeles Rams, Hackett was let go, Rosburg was elevated, and not only did he nearly lead the team to a win over a Super Bowl favorite in the Kansas Chiefs followed by a win over the playoff-bound Los Angeles Chargers, but he had the team playing hard, with confidence, and like they enjoyed the game they are being paid to play.
Following the win, Rosburg would use the term “meaningful accomplishment” to describe the team’s win and its significance.
That is something, that even in the four prior wins this season, seemed to elude the Broncos.
Even the moments that shined brightest always seemed to be overshadowed by the glaring deficiencies that plagued the team.
QB Russell Wilson looking like an utter bust...receivers dropping passes left and right...penalty after penalty...an unprecedented amount of injuries...and a defense that could only carry the load for so long before the weight of the responsibility became too much to bear.
Yes, the only accomplishment that seemed meaningful throughout the season was that Nathaniel Hackett accomplished the task of proving himself completely unworthy to be anywhere near a head coaching position, and the meaning behind it was that Broncos ownership would have a fire lit under them to make sure the same mistake would not be made again.
Yet, as meaningless as it was, a win in week 18 over the Chargers does have a sense of accomplishment to it. Rosburg put it eloquently when addressing the media postgame.
“It’s a beautiful day in Denver, Colorado,” Rosburg said. “I just got done talking to the players and coaches and staff in the locker room. I was hoping we could come back to the center of that locker room and share the joy of meaningful accomplishment and we did that. We came together and celebrated. You saw smiles, you saw hugs, you saw an incredible display of unity.”
Leaving the season on a positive note against a playoff team who played their starters nearly the entire game should not be brushed off as easily as some may want to do.
This is two weeks straight the team faced off against a postseason threat and stood tall the entire time. It’s a team who lost a ridiculous number of games by just a possession simply because Hackett had no idea how to walk and chew gum at the same time.
While there are certainly a number of players who won’t return next season, players like Russell Wilson, Jerry Jeudy, Pat Surtain II, and others will. These past two weeks showed that despite everything that happened in the first 16 weeks of the season, they still have what it takes to win games. Now, they just need the right coach.
No, Jerry Rosburg will not be considered, and that is most certainly a mutual decision, but for stepping up like he did and getting this team’s confidence back, he should never pay for another drink or meal any time he visits Denver. And based on his postgame comments, he seems to feel like if this is last coaching gig, he left on the highest note he possibly could leave on.
“That’s why you do this,” he said. “Joy is hard to get. You have to work through something with one another and figure out how you’re going to get one another, and then you get there, and it’s a whole different thing than having fun or being happy. It’s just incredible. It’s hard to describe the feelings I have for those guys.”
Has there every been a coach or player who only was in a position for two weeks to get a spot in the Ring of Honor? If not, Rosburg should be considered to be the first.