Good Morning, Broncos fans. The Chiefs and Panthers will play their game today as scheduled, some 28 hours after their starting middle linebacker unfathomably killed the mother of his three-month-old daughter, before taking his own life at Chiefs headquarters.
It doesn't feel like continuing with the game today is the right thing to do, yet the league left it up to the Chiefs, whose head coach (who witnessed Jovan Belcher's suicide) and captains voted unanimously to play.
Could they really be equipped to make such a decision? That's doubtful, considering what they are dealing with. Kansas City - the team, and the fans - will go through the habitual motions of a football Sunday, but will anyone really be thinking about football? It's hard to believe they will. Then again, would playing the game tomorrow instead of today make any positive difference? Not necessarily.
Belcher's high school coach and agent wonder what went wrong for a young man they describe as intelligent, hard-working, generous, and caring - a person most of us knew little or nothing about prior to yesterday.
So many other questions are raised, like how the Chiefs can appropriately recognize the loss of a teammate who had committed a heinous crime before his own tragic end (they will hold a moment of silence for victims of domestic violence). Or, whether football played any role in what happened inside this young man's head.
There is, of course, no excuse for what Belcher did - to his girlfriend, his orphaned daughter, or to his own family. But while it's a natural reaction to vilify Belcher in this, we will never truly know what demons he faced, even as details begin to surface. He was a victim as well.
Is it too soon to talk about the role of guns in our society, and thus question why our culture allows today's game to go on as scheduled? The answer is that there is never a good or bad time to discuss gun control; it cannot ever be inappropriately early to have a conversation about the ready availability of guns facilitating the deaths of innocent people .
This is the second time in three years that Brady Quinn has lost a teammate to suicide, following the 2010 suicide of Broncos wideout Kenny McKinley. Quinn is left speculating about what he could have done to help Belcher, and says his teammates are already planning to set up a fund for Belcher's daughter, who will tragically never know her parents.
For Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles, not only is he mourning the loss of a teammate, but his wife is now without her cousin Kasandra Perkins, to whom she had introduced the man who would ultimately take her life.
The Broncos' laudable handling of Omar Bolden's concussion shows that the NFL has indeed come a long way in treating head injuries, even if there's still more to be learned.
Jacob Hester, the newest Bronco, says he's always been fond of Denver and is looking forward to its snow after having grown up in the South and spending his first NFL years in San Diego.
The Bucs need a lot to go their way to pull off the upset, including getting their struggling pass rush going. Contributing to their difficulty is that they've lost several highly paid players to injury this season.
Terry Frei looks back at the career of Broncos legend Otis Armstrong, who will soon enter the College Football HOF.
Mike Klis imagines how a Super Bowl in Denver would play out, if you're interested in Klis-penned fiction.
In his excellent column on quarterbacks and race, Matt Waldman says he thinks John Elway would have done anything within his power to have drafted a more NFL-ready quarterback than Brock Osweiler, had he been unable to bring Manning to town. That's been our belief for about 14 months now.
Chase Stuart's difficult trivia question involves single-season records for pass attempts by players and teams.
NBA commissioner David Stern hitting the Spurs with a $250K fine for Gregg Popovich's Belichick-like decision to rest his stars during a brutal stretch of San Antonio's schedule is just more evidence of both why and how much the NBA blows.