Memories of the game

A brief background - I grew up in several cities, but I was born in Cook County Hospital and my family moved back to Chicago in the 60's, when I was 10. A friend over on MHR sent me this link (find it here) regarding some of the most memorable players in history. It's no shock that some of the Bears were first on the list. As these things tend to do, memory took me back to the prevailing 35 mph SW wind, the bitter cold in Wrigley Field and the experiences that I had there. i lived most of my life in Denver and Colorado, but with these being Chicago stories, I hope that you can enjoy them. Peace.

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Elway rejoins the Broncos

Some years back in Denver (Doug or TJ could tell you how many), Dan Reeves fired a young coach who was, in fairness, trying to get around Reeves with regard to the type of plays that would be run for star QB John Elway. Reeves was also reputed to have a personal dislike for the somewhat cocky young coach, and despite the value and importance of this individual personally to John Elway, Reeves went ahead and fired Mike Shanahan. Ironically, Shanahan went to the raiders to get some head coaching experience. Oakland is where he found out why so many coaches dislike Al Davis, where Shanahan won a court case that he never bothered to collect on and then came back as a friend of Elway's, as head coach of the Broncos (a job that evolved into head coach and general manager), and won two Super Bowls for a grateful Denver and all of Broncos Country. He holds a very high place in the annals of the Broncos history and in the hearts of many of the Broncos fans who were around during the miraculous period when Denver won 2 super Bowls, one against a heavily favored Green Bay team, a 'team of destiny', as they were being called. He also took apart a pretty good Atlanta Falcons team the following year that was, ironically, coached by Dan Reeves. By a seat-of-the-pants calculation, Mike Shanahan gave well over 15,000 hours of his life to the Denver Broncos and is rightfully a legend in this town. 

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The Dude’s Mail Sack: Eddie Royal, Gerald Willhite, & AJ Smith’s gigantic head

Fat Man blogger TJ “The Dude” Johnson posts The Dude’s Mail Revue on Thursdays, in which he takes your questions about the state of the Denver Broncos. Got a titillating question? Put a dollar bill into the Dude’s G-String and he might answer it—after bowling practice.

TJ, So much has been made of Eddie Royal's sophomore slump.  Recently, Josh McDaniels said that Eddie is smiling again at the thought of becoming more involved in the offense in 2010.  And all of this because he's going to be playing slot receiver?  I have a hard time buying it.  Do you have any definitive statistical evidence that switching to the slot will really help him?
 
--Wesley Reklew, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

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Shout (Out) At The Devil - Thank you, San Diego Chargers!

One should rarely heap praise upon division rivals.     While it might seem like a technically sound thing to do, it simply leaves you feeling a little dirty inside and you fall asleep at night knowing you've probably put bad karma into the world.   

But there's always an exception.

So today, it's time to salute the San Diego Chargers.

The road to the AFC West title just got easier, and not because Elvis Dumervil signed his 1-year tender.

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The Dude’s Mail Sack: Orton, Quinn, Tebow, and…Britny Fox!

Fat Man blogger TJ “The Dude” Johnson posts The Dude’s Mail Revue on Thursdays, in which he takes your questions about the state of the Denver Broncos. Got a titillating question? Put a dollar bill into the Dude’s G-String and he might answer it—after bowling practice.

TJ, it is with great sadness that I write to you to tell you that I did not make the Broncos Cheerleading squad for 2010. Things were going great until I suddenly pulled my hamstring during my routine as I was rocking to Bad Romance from Lady Gaga.  I tried to gut through it.   I tried to imagine I was Kyle Orton, playing through the pain.  But finally, it was too much.  I knew I was done-for when they asked me if I'd rather dance to Katy Perry.  

I can walk away with my head held high, TJ.  I know you and MHR were pulling for me.  Thanks to everyone who believed that a sexually-ambiguous aerobics instructor from Colorado Springs could live the dream.  I can't wait to attend a home game this year and watch those girls dancing so fast that Tim Tebow will want to rethink his promise ring!
 
--Charlie, Colorado Springs, Colorado

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Come on and Rock Me, Trent Dilfer!

"If you haven't played the game of football, you couldn't possibly understand."

--Ryan Leaf, 1998

One of my favorite blogs on the web is Shutdown Corner over at Yahoo Sports.  They don't take football as seriously as your typical Oakland resident and they generally focus on the lighter side of today's NFL--always good traits to have. Recently, they brought us some hard-hitting information on the woman that charged $95,000 on Reggie Wayne's credit card, and previously waxed poetic on Jared Allen's mullet lifestyle.  In short, the kind of stuff that is simply awesome.  

My favorite thing they do, however, is to point out some rather interesting and controversial perspectives of athletes.

Which brings me to a recent quote from Aaron Rodgers.  In the last few months, Rodgers has been feeling a little frisky (or upset that he was chosen behind Alex Smith?)  and has hammered draft analysts like Todd McShay on his Twitter account for, in his opinion, not being well versed enough in the technical aspects of reading defenses.

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I Melt With You - Do the Broncos really play poorly in humidity?

Last week, as I was discussing the Broncos upcoming schedule, I made a comment that you hear from time to time:

Denver, humidity, and early games never mix.
After making this sort of a statement, I realized I was simply making like a member of the Black Hole--offering up an opinion without any data to back it up.  I had heard this mantra before (cold-weather teams don't play well in humidity), so I was simply reproducing something that seemed, at first, to be common sports-knowledge.  Also, I remembered well enough the first game of the 2005 season, in which Jake Plummer (who should just now be retiring a Bronco) led an excellent Broncos team into Miami, only to wilt under the oppressive heat and swamp-like conditions of south Florida.  The outcome was a 34-10 butt whoopin', the likes of which only Raiders teams dare to tread.

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You’re the last in line - the myth of the “tough” schedule

"We'll know for the first time, if we're evil or divine." 

--Ronnie James Dio (Heavy Metal Poet & NFL Schedule Soothsayer)
 
This week I was going to preview the Broncos 2010 schedule and give you a game-by-game breakdown of the brutality of the first six games:
 
9/12 -- at Jacksonville 1:00 pm
9/19  -- Seattle 4:05 pm
9/26 -- Indianapolis 4:15 pm
10/3 -- at Tennessee 1:00 pm
10/10 -- at Baltimore 1:00 pm
10/17 --  NY Jets 4:05 pm

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A pair of pliers and a blowtorch - getting medieval on 3rd down

We interrupt your regularly-scheduled Tim Tebow news, for an important announcement.

3rd downs matter.   

In the 2009, the Denver Broncos were pretty far from okay.  The team's lack of success on 3rd down was more than just a drive staler, it was the black plague of the Broncos season.  Whether through the air or on the ground, rain or shine, throwbacks or alternative jerseys, the Broncos mustered a hideously and perfectly grotesque Raiders-like 3rd-down conversion rate of 36.18%.  

3rd-down conversions are, like turnovers and field position, another critical marker of success in the NFL.  In fact, the team that won the battle on 3rd down in 2008 and 2009 (512 games) won about 70% of the time.  The only team that reached the playoffs last year with a 3rd-down conversion rate of less than 40% was the New York Jets.  And they needed help to get there.

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The Tale of Richard Quinn

Every time Richard Quinn's name comes up, you begin to hear the same Greek chorus - "He's only a blocking back. He only caught 12 balls in college." The second statement is true. The first is up for considerable debate. What many people don't seem to know about Richard Quinn is that before he was a TE, he'd been a WR/TE in high school. He was a good one, too, and highly recruited. Sometimes you don't get the whole story when you only see headlines. Quinn is an unknown quantity to most Denver fans. That's going to change over time, and I'm betting that Broncos fans will like what they see.

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