(With deepest apologies to Maya Angelou for the cheap title.)
I am really not kidding when I write that I have been a Denver Broncos fan since I was very young boy. I used to have a football signed by most of the 1971 Denver Broncos, and a Cubscout jamboree booklet personally signed by Floyd Little. Such artifacts have been sacrifised to nostalgia as I've moved from phase to phase of my life. But still, my love of the Broncos has never wained.
In truth, I've gotten spoiled. With the trade for John Elway in 1982, the Broncos entered the elite ranks of the NFL. Oh, they've had poor seasons, even losing seasons; but they have always been a threat to take the AFC West and go deep into the playoffs. No team has a better record against the Brady led Patriots than the Broncos. For decades, they have not been among the poorest in the league ... until now.
I remember the seasons when the Broncos were the joke of the AFL. They were the first AFL team to win against an NFL team (Detroit, in exhibition, ironically enough.) But they sucked. They played the Raiders and the Chiefs and generally stank up the place. And then they didn't. They have played epic match ups, and gone toe-to-toe with the best teams ever. They've gone to 6 Super Bowls, winning 2. They've played every AFC champion for a quarter of a century, and played them to the wire, regardless of post season or season. And now, they're just bad, again. They are among the worst of the NFL.
So, I grieve. Allow me to move through the stages.
Denial: Isn't Orton one of the best QB's in Football? Don't they still have Dumervil, even if he isn't playing? They still have Dawkins and Bailey. They can win, can't they?
Anger: What kind of an idiot would trade Payton Hillis for Brady Quinn? BRADY F'ING QUINN! You've got Kyle Orton! Why in the hell would anyone trade the future of the team for Touchdown Jeebus? WHY? Seriously. Tebow? WHY?
Bargaining: We have a newish defensive coordinator. That's the same as we have for 6 years. Let them do something better, something epic. Maybe we can attract Shanahan back. Maybe if we trade Tebow, we can get the Ravens defense in it's entirety. That would work, right?
Depression: The secondary is old. They're really old. Dawkins, yeah he's good. Bailey was one of the best and he'll make the Hall of Fame. Yeah. But man. 2 and 8. Write this season off. Just forfiet the rest of the games. Better draft pick. ~sigh~
Acceptance: You can't win at football firing your defensive coordinators 6 years in a row. You can't win at football with a coach who thinks that a great quaterback will overcome all odds. You can't change the nature of your offensive line personel and expect them to play well with a new scheme. You can't expect a premier style running back to gain yards when your offensive line is in dissarray. You can't expect a defense to have the proper folk when there is no history for what they need to do. The Broncos should suck, because they've done everything wrong over the last 4 years.
We're goig to be waltzing in the wilderness for a while. I think I've come to accept that. But then, I'm a fan. There will come a day, oh yes. There will come a day ...