America is the land of opportunity.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the NFL. After all, this is a place where Roger Goodell (the son of a US Senator), Joe Ellis (the nephew and cousin of US Presidents), and Jets owner Woody Johnson (the grandson of the founder of Johnson & Johnson) can rise up from humble beginnings and make their way in the world today with everything they've got.
$9 billion later, these self-made men (and others just like them all across the league) are doing their absolute best to share the milk and honey with the National Football League Player's Association (NFLPA).
If only the nefarious NFLPA would let them.
Goodell, our tired and exhausted hero, has bravely reduced his salary to $1. He's also told fans that the NFL's owners offered several concessions to the players, including five years of "profitability data." In addition, Joe Ellis (Pat Bowlen's trusty sidekick) has been hitting the PR circuit so that Broncos fans everywhere know, without a doubt, the organization's willingness to open its books. Unfortunately, the players listened to an insidious investment bank, which advised the NFLPA that that so-called profitability data neither illuminates true cash flows nor provides insight into wasteful spending.
The demonic forces within the NFLPA listened. Bring in the lawyers.
Just when you think it's safe to turn out the lights, Brian Xanders scares the hell out of you.
Like most Broncos fans, I was beginning to accept that Joe Ellis, John Elway, and Brian Xanders simply won't discuss what Xanders did or didn't do under Josh McDaniels' reign of fire. Despite the fact that Elway and Ellis are now presenting the Broncos as an open choose-your-own-adventure book--complete with Twitter requests for head-coaching candidates--I was beginning to move on with the understanding that the fans are supposed to readily accept that the search for a general manager wasn't going any farther than Arvada. I was even prepared to drink some Xanders-laced Kool-Aid. He can't possibly screw up the 2nd-overall pick, I thought.
But then came freaky Friday.
Still wish the Broncos had Jay Cutler after all this time?
I don't. Josh McDaniels may have done a lot of things wrong, but one thing he got right was to send Jeff George's clone packing.
Cutler could win a hundred Super Bowls and I wouldn't care; the Broncos could finish at the bottom of the AFC West for a decade, and it wouldn't bother me. As long as I'm assured Jay Cutler will never throw another pass for the Denver Broncos, I'll be content.
This recent article from Rick Reilly hasn't received too much attention from Broncos fans, and rightly so. The Broncos have been pretty busy hiring a coach. But just in case there is anyone out there who thinks the Broncos would be better off with Cutler over any of the Broncos' quarterbacks, take a look at Reilly's article.
For those that can't bear to look, I've got some highlights.
Yesterday, my senses failed.
I thought I was ready. I told myself I wasn't going lose my perspective just because the greatest Bronco of all time was now given the position of lower deity at Dove Valley. I was ready to watch the entire spectacle with a critical eye. I would not be fooled by the glitz and glamor of Elway's five Super Bowl appearances.
But then something happened. Elway stood up and showed enough enthusiasm to light the building on fire. He even said the magic words, "Mile High Stadium."
It was a pure mindfreak: a supernatural occurrence beyond comprehension.
I lost all perspective and objectivity. Hours later, drunk off the euphoria of hearing Elway talk about the championship days, I still couldn't bring myself to rational thinking.
I turned on the radio; I wasn't the only one.
Call off the bloodhounds. It appears as if the search for a general manager was over before it even began.
At least you'll have a shiny new John Elway doll to distract you.
Enter Brian Xanders...stage bereft.
According to multiple reports, Pat Bowlen, Joe Ellis, and John Elway will make it their first order of business to give Xanders full control of personnel decisions next week. For an organization set to have one of its worst records in franchise history, this seems a little rash.
Right now the NFL is teeming with hungry and talented GM candidates, but the Broncos already have their inside man.
Within one week of ending the season?
If only the Rooney Rule applied to the search for a general manager. It would at least force the Broncos to interview candidates for the job.
No matter how the Broncos finish, next year you’re not going to have Josh McDaniels to kick around anymore. It’s not that he’s going anywhere. It’s simply that no one is likely to be playing football.
Usually I spend each Monday analyzing some aspect of the previous day's game--a formation, a player, or a play.
Yet, today I'm compelled to discuss something that has received a lot of attention over the past 16 hours. Why did Todd Haley neglect the time-honored tradition of coaches shaking hands after yesterday's game? There are likely many reasons (aside from getting out-coached), but the main one is that Haley didn't like the fact that the Broncos left their starters in the game for all 4 quarters. As we learn from this article from Gregg Rosenthal at Pro Football Talk:
Haley apparently was not pleased with how Josh McDaniels handled a big lead in Denver's 49-29 victory over the Chiefs. The Broncos were still throwing plenty, max protecting, and blitzing on defense with a comfortable fourth-quarter lead.
Haley's response? Instead of shaking McDaniels' hand after the game, the Chiefs' coach pointed his finger at him and turned his back.
Note: Each Monday we take a look at a player the Broncos used in a new, creative, or interesting way from the previous day’s game. This week we’re getting a second plate of not a player, but how bad starts have affected Kyle Orton’s stats.
One criticism I’ve leveled at Kyle Orton is that his statistics have been very hollow this year. The general argument I’ve made is that of course Orton is going to compile some big numbers, because he’s been playing from behind so much—essentially the defense softens and plays a deep cover-4 zone.
While I still feel that the statement is true, I want to say it’s a needless criticism at best. Why?
Because the guy has had no choice.
Note: Each Monday we take a look at a player the Broncos used in a new, creative, or interesting way from the previous day’s game. This week we’re getting a second plate of not a player, but how momentum affected the Broncos yesterday.
If you’ve ever played any sport at even the lowest of competitive levels, you’ve felt the power of momentum.
When the sea of momentum changes against you, it’s palpable; you feel it throughout your body. Suddenly, there goes your mind.
Once your mind goes, strange things happen—records are even set in the process.
After reviewing the first three drives on tape last night, I kept returning to this concept of momentum—not on purpose, mind you. I kept wanting to blame specific players. I kept wanting to blame Josh McDaniels. But I kept coming back to momentum.
Note: Each Monday we take a look at a player the Broncos used in a new, creative, or interesting way in the previous day’s game. This week we’re getting a second plate of not a player, but the Broncos’ Strength of Schedule.
Hope is not enough.
This time, though, it might be, Broncos fans—especially after the Broncos just finished the most carnal part of their schedule.
Allow me to explain myself—without writing the word “carnal” again.
Everything is going to rest on the two games the Broncos play against the Kansas City Chiefs.
While you might have already guessed this by looking at the AFC West standings, I wanted to confirm your suspicions through more than just the prism of a 2-game deficit.