In which I rip The Denver Post

Last week I ripped the Broncos fan base for being spoiled, and I included myself in that cohort.  We are exactly that, because in team history, it has never rebuilt.  It initially built for a long time, did well for 30 years, faded, and now needs to be rebuilt for the first time ever.  We’ve covered this, and I feel like my continually talking about the perils and stupidity of unannounced rebuilding has spread the word to others, who are also talking about it.

I believe that Monday may have been the darkest day in franchise history.  That occurred to me within minutes of learning of the firing of Josh McDaniels, and I’ve now spent over 24 hours considering whether I’m being overly hyperbolic.  As I said on Twitter Sunday, my words count in perpetuity, so I’m careful-ish of what I say.  I don’t think I am overdoing it, friends.  Let’s consider what really just happened.

The Denver Broncos entered into a full-scale reconstruction of the franchise in January, 2009.  Literally everything changed, much of it for the better.  The Broncos built a systematic approach to scouting, for the first time in memory.  They rid themselves of me-first players, and actively sought out team-first guys.  They ignored conventional wisdom, which over a long enough timeline, is always a good thing to do.  But they didn’t communicate that they were rebuilding, or ask for patience, or probably even admit to themselves what the situation really was.

Some people will tell you that enough pieces are in place to be a playoff team now.  Those people have a point, and the playoffs were possible this year, if not likely.  That case can be made, but between injuries, bad luck in games, and lapses in execution, mostly by young players, the wins haven’t been up to the maximum potential that has existed.  This happens more often than not; everything could go right, but that doesn’t mean that it will.  There are no shortcuts to setting yourself up to be good even on a mediocre day.  It’s a long process, and it never stops.  The Patriots continue to set the standard in that way.

Back to my comment on the darkness of this day.  It’s more than possible that the Denver Broncos have just entered the realm of the long-term losing franchises.  This is classic loser behavior, folks, and it gets cyclical really quickly.

If I were just an observer, and not a Broncos fan, the thing I would have respected most about the franchise before yesterday would be their history of ignoring the fans and especially the local idiot media.  You can’t come out and say that you’re ignoring them, and you have to glad-hand them now and then, but it’s all a game.  You can never, ever let them affect your decision-making, though.  Josh McDaniels got that uniquely, and it was the very best quality that he got from his mentor Bill Belichick.  When he took the job, I’d bet a lot of money that Pat Bowlen’s history of being calm and patient was the number one reason he chose the Broncos.  Here was an owner who would let him coach the way he needed to coach, right?

Woody Paige is the self-appointed Protector of the Fair City of Denver.  He sort of operates like a two-bit neighborhood mafia chief, and he imagines that everybody should kiss his ring and pay him tribute.  His buddy Gil Whiteley, a local radio idiot, and really infrequent and sparsely followed Twitter user, is like the underboss.  Both guys expect access and respect, and they don’t want to have to work very hard for it.  They deserve it, and if you don’t realize that, you’re going to feel the consequences.  Denver is their town.

Paige has long been the grand poobah in Denver sportswriting, and people inexplicably find his nonsense to be value-adding.  He loves to tell stories about how he advised Josh McDaniels, and about how the young whipper-snapper ignored his advice, which was so benevolently given.  Lose the hoodie, Josh!  Don’t hire Steve Scarnecchia!  Be nicer to the media, because you may need them to be nice to you someday!  This kid ignored all of that  benevolent advice.  He has balls, if not good sense.

Over at IAOFM today, one of the best Broncos commenters in the blogosphere, chibronx, called Mark Kiszla and Dave Krieger professional dullards.  I think that’s my new favorite word, and I’m going to forever after refer to them as Dullard Mark Kiszla and Dullard Dave Krieger.  Dullard will henceforth effectively become both of their first names, anytime I decide to inevitably later regret diving into the cesspool of their worthless writing.  Have you ever been reading the Lard over at IAOFM, and several people will comment on how bad some Dullard Mark Kiszla column is, and you look at it, even though you know you shouldn’t, like you’re rubbernecking by some minor highway accident?  A few seconds later, once you’re past it, don’t you feel like a jerk for slowing down traffic?  I know I do.

Then there’s Captain Obvious Jeff Legwold.  It seems that he’s hired to be a half-assed analyst, but he lacks the knowledge of football to do any sort of interesting analysis.  He misuses the same terms in the same ways as everybody else, but he acts like he somehow knows more than them.  Captain Obvious is a little better than his more-negative former Rocky colleague Lee Rasizer, but he writes in a really Villager-like, Very Serious Person tone.  You know, the Broncos could put it all together, and have a great game, and he’d have some Very Serious Concerns to write about.  I guess the style of most everybody who writes for other people gravitates to some existing archetype.  There’s nothing new under the sun, right?  I don’t know what my archetype is, I guess, but WTFevs…

Mike Klis is kind of a self-loathing reporter/columnist, who seems to wish he was covering baseball.  His work  never includes any insight on anything, and he’s mostly a repeater of the narrative set by Woody and the Dullards.  He’s so thoroughly uninteresting and irrelevant that I have nothing else to say about him.

Finally, Lindsay Jones is the beat reporter, and she does a solid job.  The best thing about her is that she reports, and mostly stays out of the narrative-setting business.  She knows me, and pretty clearly doesn’t like me, but that’s pretty well-earned, so I don’t mind.  (I’ve never hit her personally, per se, but I have gone after reporters in general, plenty, and you now know how I feel about her clown-ass colleagues at the DP.)  Despite her silent enmity toward me, I will now say something nice about her.  She has moderate writing talent; not as much as Woody does when he feels like writing something good once or twice a year, but far more than anybody else at Team Post.  (Which didn’t starve Monday night, thanks to Jimmy John’s, according to Lindsay.)  She also seems to work hard, and avoid grinding personal axes, and she seems to be learning some football as time goes on.  Believe it or not, Lindsay understood and told the world on Valentine’s Day of 2009 that there was a rebuilding job underway.  In any case, Lindsay is the one credit to the Denver Post Broncos staff, and in true The Way The World Works fashion, I’m sure they pay her peanuts.  With our bad luck, they’ll soon get rid of her for committing acts of quality journalism, like that VD09 piece, and not being more of a team player.

I keep getting away from the reason why Monday, December 6th, 2010 is the darkest day in team history, and I’m going to try to focus now, and get that under control.  If I had some ritalin, and I was 18 years old, and in the process of failing out of Keene State College with style and debauchery, I’d do some lines of it to get my head straight.  Since I’m 33, and doing very well in an MBA program, and I’ve been drug free for more than a decade, I’ll just have to do the other thing.

Losing teams stay losers because they have bad ownership and upper management.  The main trait that those people share is short-sightedness, and the willingness to listen to people who should be ignored, like fans and the media.  Yes, even people like me, who know what the hell I am talking about.  I know football, but not the intricacies of their business, so I should be taken as what I am; a qualified guy who is looking at things from a high level, but doesn’t, and couldn’t possibly, have the full picture, unless I was working for the team, and was given access to it.

I’m no particular fan of Ronald Reagan (despite his being a fraternity brother of mine), but he had at least one thing right.  He patted the extremist religious types on the head, listened to what they had to say, smiled, hugged them on their way out the door, wished their wives and kids the best, and ultimately ignored them when it came to making policy.  My approval of that approach, while probably biased by my desire not to have religion imposed upon me, carries to anybody who handles extremists with a deft touch.

Focus…. So, yeah, short-sighted ownership/executive management groups listen too much to external, un-knowledgeable voices, and make rash and stupid decisions based upon it.  The teams they run start doing a dance called the See-saw of the Losers.  For the Broncos, I fear that it started in about 2006, when they started canning defensive coordinators every year, and thereby helping to plant the seeds for this debacle.  Then Mike Shanahan got fired in early 2009, and Pat Bowlen and Joe Ellis hired Josh McDaniels, who was dramatically different than his predecessor.

The McDaniels era has been prematurely, recklessly, and illogically ended after less than two seasons, and the speculation is that the Broncos want to bring in somebody from the old Broncos era, like a Gary Kubiak or a Troy Calhoun.  Kubiak will go from coaching a soft, undisciplined team in Houston that doesn’t win enough, and the same thing will likely happen in Denver.  After two years, when the team is still losing during the next unannounced rebuilding process, Woody and the Dullards will be calling for a change again, and they’ll get the worst elements of the fan base all riled up again.  Then, we’ll get somebody else who’s totally different.

This is what happens with losing teams, folks.  It gets cylical, and it’s caused by the local media.  If you let them do it once, which the Broncos have now clearly done, they’ll believe that they can do it again and again, and they’ll try.  It becomes their favorite sport.  You don’t believe me?  I’m a Mets fan.  I’ve been living with it all my life in that arena. The media negativity unduly affects team operations, and lessens their ability to be effective, time after time.  Ask Doug Lee, he’ll tell you.

How about another example?  I have lived in Cleveland since January of 2002.  I now live easy walking distance from the stadium in downtown Cleveland.  The media here couldn’t wait to get Eric Mangini canned a year ago, after only ONE season.  That’s utter madness, but the only way Mangini saved his job was by going 4-0 down the stretch, and giving Randy Lerner cover to effectively de-ball his coach by hiring Mike Holmgren as team president.  That was probably a good idea, but the point is, Lerner felt like he HAD to do something, one year into a new coaching regime.  He’s the owner; he didn’t HAVE to do anything.  The word patience doesn’t have any standing here, because the media and fans know that the owner will absolutely never show any if the howling gets loud enough.

That’s what we’re facing now, y’all.  A terrible new world in which the owner doesn’t effectively own the team anymore, and Woody and the Dullards do.

For all his mastery of X’s and O’s, McDaniels never fully understood this team was a civic treasure not meant to be treated as a frat house, where the music was cranked to 11 during practices and his buddies pulled crazy pranks like making a secret videotape.

That’s from Dullard Mark Kiszla’s Tuesday column.  Do you believe that?  It’s a civic treasure, and not an asset of the guy who owns it.  We own it, not you, Pat!  And we don’t like that newfangled rock and roll music!  (Side note:  Please don’t call fraternities “frats.”  It’s disrespectful and crass, and it says more about you than it does about them.  I don’t call my country a C U Next Tuesday, and I don’t call my fraternity a frat.  Thanks.)

But McDaniels didn’t create the mess at Broncos headquarters. He threw open the doors for everybody to see there’s no authority figure to provide the franchise with perspective or a steady hand during a crisis.

Woody Paige is now the authority figure, you got it, old man?  We’re…. I mean, he is calling the shots!  If he’s on vacation, your boy Dullard is the man in charge.  I’m the deputy up in here!  Sit down and let us experts tell you how it should be done!

We built the Broncos owner the stadium he desired when the money flowed and victory parades rolled in this city.

What a self-righteous jackass Dullard is.  The stadium was built by a combination of an increase to the local Denver sales tax, some of the early proceeds of the lucrative naming rights from Invesco, and Pat Bowlen’s own cash contribution of more than $90 million.  I have news for you.  That’s a better contribution than many new stadiums get from the owners or their future revenue streams, Dullard.  Check this out:

You got that?  The Cowboys additionally got $150 million from the NFL, and the Giants and Jets got $300 million from them.  Denver residents came out just fine in their deal, from the perspective of the dollar contribution they made, relative to the rest of the NFL.  Our pal Dullard would have you believe that all of the money for the stadium came out of his personal pocket.  Give me a break, okay?  Move to Indianapolis, if you don’t like it.

I really hope I am wrong, but I don’t think I am.  This team is headed for the see-saw, and it’s because they let the media and fans push them into making a stupid move.  Joe Ellis practically admitted that it was all stupid today!  I’ll have some thoughts tomorrow-ish about getting the right people in to fix this football product.  I have some original thoughts about coaches that will surprise some of you, and not others.  For now, I’m going to bed, because it’s 1:11 AM Eastern, and I’ll try not to dwell on this too much.

Originally posted at One Man Football

1.  I’m not in the arguing business, I’m in the saying what I think business.
2.  I get my information from my eyes.

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