Good Morning, Broncos fans! From our vantage, only one result yesterday had the potential to (ever so slightly) reduce the sting of Denver's loss to the Ravens - a Patriots blowout, and the notion that New England would have won in Denver last night.
Unfortunately for all of us, that couldn't be farther from what actually happened, as Baltimore turned over the Pats three times, Joe Flacco threw a trio of touchdown passes, and Bill Belichick channeled his inner John Fox, all resulting in a 28-13 Ravens upset at Foxboro.
So, we're instead left to think forever that the Broncos would have advanced to their seventh Super Bowl as a franchise, and would probably be favored against the 49ers, who came back from a 17-0 deficit to beat the Falcons 28-24.
Rather than a showdown between the NFL's most experienced starting quarterback (Peyton Manning) and its newest (Colin Kaepernick), we'll get a two-week assault of Harbaugh stories.
As with Ravens/Broncos, the game was decided by big plays and turnovers, but also similarly, the losing coach made some puzzling decisions, although in Belichick's case, they were rather uncharacteristic.
The Hoodie punted twice from around the Baltimore 35-yard line, once more from the Ravens 45, and opted to kick a field goal on 4th-and-2 from the Baltimore 12 early during a scoreless game. Like Fox did last week, Belichick smartly went for it on a single 4th-and-1 and was successful, but as always, it's not the conversion that makes that decision the correct one.
Even golden boy Tom Brady did his part to screw things up for New England, by horribly mismanaging the clock at the end of the first half.
Perhaps there's some solace in knowing that even the super genius Belichick makes meek and dumb decisions at times, and that Brady makes massive mental mistakes at times, as Peyton Manning did on his overtime interception. And there is, of course, the sadness of Patriots fans to make us feel a tiny bit better.
But none of it is nearly enough to make up for the enduring sense that it's the Denver Broncos who were the AFC's best and most balanced team, and that they should be the ones representing the conference in New Orleans.
Mike McCoy is obviously gracious and grateful in speaking about his time in Denver, and he praises the team's promotion of Adam Gase to replace him.
James Merilatt talks down the most unreasonable overreactions floating around Broncos Land over the past week.
Legwold is just getting around to the practice FG attempt taken by Justin Tucker last week, which we all know isn't permitted but is only subject to penalty in the case of a delay of game.
Jerome Boger will be the head referee for the SB, but it appears the process used to select him for the position was highly flawed.
After the recent set of HC changes completely shut out minority coaches, the NFL is expected to tweak the Rooney Rule to include coordinator and assistant HC positions.
Oakland is in talks with former MSG president Scott O'Neil about becoming their team president; let's hope it happens, and that he'll get his tentacles into the football operations.
Tom Moore will rejoin his own former assistant Bruce Arians in Arizona, where he'll be Arians's assistant head coach/offense.
Michael Vick and new LOLJets OC Marty Mornhinweg are reportedly not interested in reuniting up the Turnpike in New Jersey; after interviewing with the LOLJets, former Broncos "GM" Ted Sundquist "says" Sticks Johnson "claims" that ACQUIRING the Ultimate Teammate™ was not his own harebrained idea, but rather that of fired GM Mike Tannenbaum.
In typical Bus Cook (agent for Brett Favre and Jay Cutler) form, he reportedly demanded the Seahawks give QB Russell Wilson a raise, even though that's completely impossible under the terms of the current CBA. Oh, and remember how the greedy players were being so unreasonable with their demands? Right...
Matt Ryan's shoulder injury was a sprained AC joint that will not require surgery.
Here's the updated order for the first round of the 2013 Draft.
Andy Benoit, Mike Tanier, Matt Bowen, Bill Barnwell, George Bretherton, Will Brinson, PFF (AFC, NFC), Shutdown Corner (MVPs, LVPs), Football Outsiders, Mike Silver, Don Banks, Peter King, John Clayton, Scott Kacsmar, and Jason Cole recap yesterday's games and look ahead to the Harbaugh Bowl.
Belichick blew off CBS at the end of the game, prompting Shannon Sharpe to blast him in the postgame show.
While it qualifies better as trivia than meaningful stat, that Tom Brady was 67-0 at Foxboro with a halftime lead prior to last night is absolutely insane, and a real testament to the Patriots' greatness.
This will be the first Super Bowl featuring a pair of starting quarterbacks without experience in the big game since Peyton and the Colts won in 2006.
Matt Waldman and Jene Bramel look over the top prospects attending this week's Senior Bowl.