The Broncos’ Ministry of Truth

Happy Wednesday, friends.  Yesterday, longtime reader Yahmule had an interesting comment that inspired me to write an article:

Not only does Scott Kacsmar dispute Elway's placement on the all time comeback list, he takes the entire Bronco organization to task regarding their method of determining what constitutes a comeback. He seems to have done significant research across a couple different articles. Interesting reading, but maybe not what Bronco fans would like to hear.

You see, Kacsmar is one of these guys who latched onto a specific topic and researched the hell out of it, over a long period of time.  That topic is comebacks in NFL games, and Kacsmar has come to be seen as the expert on the topic in the football world.

In short, Kacsmar does dispute the accuracy of the Broncos’ contention that John Elway had 47 comeback victories.  Not only that, he backs up his contention with significant research, and the only conclusion that an intelligent reader can reach is that Kacsmar is correct, and that the number 47 is false.

I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t even begin to diminish John’s greatness as a player, to me.  All it does is correct the record, and replace a non-fact with a fact.  I’m a Broncos fan, and I love me some #7, but I also want to live in a world where people aren’t entitled to their own facts.

It turns out that the Broncos have a Ministry of Truth, and it’s run by longtime PR guy Jim Saccomano.  You could say that we’re not big fans of old Sacco, here at IAOFM.  He’s just more zealous and dickish than the average PR person, who tends to be plenty zealous and dickish in his own average right. 

This is the sort of thing that an average corporate shill at Coca-Cola would say:

Q: What do you drink daily?

A: I might have a mini Diet Coke while cooking breakfast for my family. After the kids leave for school, I go for a run and then have a Powerade Zero. At work I may have a Diet Coke in the morning and in the afternoon, Gold Peak Tea. In the middle of the afternoon, I may have an 8-ounce Coke. I'd rather have that than a candy bar or cookie for a pick-me-up.

She’s not even exactly in PR, per se, but she’s using the techniques.  Read that whole article, and remember, she’s just average.  She’s nicer about spreading that manure than Sacco tends to be about spreading his.

We’ve chosen not to partner with the Broncos’ PR group, because we feel like we need to maintain a free hand with which to slam the team when we feel like it needs some slamming.  Since we don’t rely on the team’s PR function for anything, they have nothing over us.

I was told by a guy on Twitter recently that Sacco was finger-wagging about how Broncos fans should only read “reputable” (meaning Sacco-approved) sources of information.  I searched through Sacco’s timeline, and didn’t see that tweet, but I’m sure that we’re in his “non-reputable” category.  We’re proud to be there.

When you work at the Denver Post, you can occasionally get away with slamming the team, and running a head coach out of town, by getting the pitchforks-and-torches set all fired up.  Sacco and company know that they can’t get rid of the local paper, and that they have to live with some minor criticism from them, here and there.  When the team is in the middle of going 4-12, and you have a spoiled fan and media base (that’s never lost 12 games before EVER), it’s going to happen. 

You notice, though, that during that episode, virtually all of the DP’s criticism was absorbed personally by Josh McDaniels, and none of it went to Joe Ellis or Pat Bowlen?  Don’t think that that was accidental, and without behind-the-scenes work by the PR department.

(Only some guy named TJ “The Dude” Johnson was really slamming Ellis at that time, amazingly enough.)

When you’re a blogger, though, in contrast to being a paid DP hack, you don’t have any real status with the team, so you constantly have to be careful not to offend Sacco.  In our MHR days, we were on the team’s press release distribution list, and John Bena was regularly in contact with Patrick Smyth, who seems to be much less of a heavy-handed jerk than Sacco is, but who works for him.

In general, John set a tone of being careful not to rip the organization much, and to mostly keep any criticism directed toward a player here or there.  I remember once in 2009 when SB Nation flew John to Denver for some promotion, he asked (pretty please!) if the Broncos would credential him to sit in the press box.

Sacco himself agreed to do it, for one game only, because of MHR’s “professionalism and volume of coverage.”  He made it seem like the order came from the homie Jesus, it was such a special honor.  John was understandably ecstatic at the respect that the Broncos showed MHR, because he wanted to be seen as part of the legitimate media.

Our motivation is a bit different here; we want to be seen by our readers as a producer of excellent content, and we want to inject the most intelligent and interesting take on the team, and on the overall game of football, into the discussion.  We don’t care that much who likes us in the rest of the media, or in the team's headquarters.

So I guess the question is whether you can like the Denver Broncos, and not like their Ministry of Truth.  I think that the answer is yes; you can compartmentalize the two.

Can you like the team, and still accept demonstrable facts, even if those facts disagree with the team’s preferred narrative?  Ask a Republican (like Sacco) that question vis-à-vis climate change, I guess.  To me, you can, because facts are facts, even if they’re inconvenient.  Some people are more aligned with their chosen team than they are with reality, though, and those people need a perspective check.

Try to allow yourselves to separate the man (John Elway) from his art (Sacco’s propaganda), friends.  Consider that maybe true greatness should be allowed to stand on its own, and that just maybe trying to augment it with bullshit cheapens it.  Rather than listening for what you want to hear, hear the truth when it’s spoken, and accept it.

Embrace reality, and reject propaganda, and root on your Broncos as a football team.

Laters the for Ministry of Truth.

LATERS for Jim Saccomano.

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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