It's times like these that drive Broncos fans to drink.
And to Plato. And Bruce Lee. And Bon Jovi.
One had a penchant for philosophy. Another for martial arts. And the last for hairspray.
But what do the three of these guys have in common?
Like any good (or bad, it doesn't really matter) cornerback left in one-on-one coverage, they all knew the importance of lying to ourselves and going with the flow. And this is exactly what we--as Broncos' fans--need to do for the next two weeks.
Plato was the first to develop the concept of purposely lying to ourselves. His concept of a "noble lie," in which people willingly accept a known lie in order to help maintain social harmony, was in his mind, a perfect foundation for society. So it's in this spirit, I say:
Don't ask. Don't tell.
Don't ask me if the Denver Broncos lost yesterday, and I won't tell you that it happened.
This is simply the best way to deal with a loss to the Raiders. Ignore it. Live a beautiful lie.
First, even if the Broncos did lose to the Raiders yesterday (which I'm not admitting), it doesn't change the fundamental position the Broncos face. They can get into the playoffs with 10 wins and with just a little help, 9 wins will also do it. Second, if the Broncos lost yesterday (I didn't say that they did), it was a division game, which are notoriously unpredictable. So unpredictable, in fact, that even when the Broncos won their first Super Bowl in 1997, they lost to the Raiders, who finished 4-12 that year. Lastly, the Raiders have beaten Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati, and their fans aren't exactly crying. Instead, they are focused on pushing for the playoffs. There's plenty of time for tears in two weeks--if they are warranted.
So get the loss off your chest (if there was one), but quickly bury your head back in the sand. Or have a drink of orange-and-blue Kool-Aid. For the next two weeks, lying is a good thing.
Enter the Dragon
Perhaps you've heard these famous words from Bruce Lee:
Be water, my friend.
If you ever get tired of watching that video, go to the Black Hole. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.
If there ever was a time to heed these words, it is now. Go with the flow, Broncos fans. The truth of the matter is that the 2009 Broncos are not the 2008 Broncos. Different coaches. Different players. Different points differential (which does matter more than our raw emotions right now). Just because the team has crashed and burned the last three seasons doesn't absolutely mean they are going to do so once again. Don't fall for the past-as-future-predictor mentality that is pervasive among beat writers and armchair quarterbacks. Just because they won six in a row, lost four in a row, won two in a row, and lost another two in a row, it doesn't automatically mean they are on schedule to drop these last two. The flow of the 2009 Season isn't over. Not yet. Not even close.
This year's team is not a substitute for 2008, even if you want them to be. If you want to jump ship, alright, but perhaps the time to do it is when they have actually been knocked out of the playoffs. Anything different would be like a kick to the groin--masochistic and interesting to watch, but not particularly useful.
Water can flow or it can crash. Right now, it's time for all Broncomaniancs--from Boulder to Budapest--to flow.
Livin' on a Prayer
What's better than an 80s power-pop-metal song to put the Broncos season in perspective? Absolutely nothing. Walt Whitman was eating his heart out when, perhaps the finest poet of his generation, Jon Bon Jovi sang:
"Whooooaaah, we're half way there. Whooooaaah, livin' on a prayer."
For those so inclined, you can hear Bon Jovi recite this poem here. Prepare to get chills. Or spandex if that's the way you roll.
The point is that even if the naysayers are correct, and the Broncos have little chance of making the playoffs, they've still got a chance. In fact, more than a prayer's chance. They control their own destiny. Two wins and they are in the playoffs. Anything can happen in the playoffs. Denver's first Super Bowl run came from the Wild Card, along with several recent Super Bowl champs. I'm not saying Denver can get on a roll when they get to the playoffs. But I'm not saying they won't, either. All they have to do is get there. This is more than I can say for the Raiders or a handful of other teams in this league.
So there's no need to start a mosh pit. Leave that to the boys and girls (and coaches) from the Black Hole. Get out your lighters, put your girlfriend on your shoulders, and sing with me, "take my hand, and we'll make it, I swear."
The Broncos are playoff-bound. Lie to yourself. Flow like water. Live on a prayer.
In two weeks it will come true.