Some people are fans of the Denver Broncos. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Denver Broncos. This 2014 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group.
Your team: Denver Broncos
Your 2013 record: 13-3, AFC Champions. Highest scoring team in NFL history. Of course, none of that means anything when you reach the Super Bowl and get destroyed the way this team got destroyed. Feast your eyes:
Boy, when Denver decides to lose a Super Bowl, they really go all out. No pussyfooting around. They go directly into the shitter. NFL record keepers went back and vacated every accomplishment from this team after this game was over. I know you Broncos fans think you went 13-3, but you did not. You went 0-16 and you had the 32nd ranked everything ever.
And the worst part is, there's nothing to suggest that anything has changed. This team will again go 13-3 and come up woefully short in the end. Go ahead, Denver. Score a THOUSAND points this regular season. It won't help.
Your coach: John Fox, who was so thoroughly outcoached during the Super Bowl that I'm excited to see how badly he handles the next one. He didn't even tell his team that the Super Bowl might get noisy. Join us in January when John Fox calls for an onside punt in the AFC title game.
Your quarterback: Peyton Manning, shown here:
Consider yourself lucky that Manning was killed in the Super Bowl, because every Peyton Manning Super Bowl win is counted as five Super Bowl wins by the legion of analysts riding his dick. I know that goofing on players for never winning the big one is a tired cliché and a statistical fallacy, but man does it come in handy when you want to shit all over a player who is as relentlessly overpraised as Manning is. If Peyton had won his second title, Phil Simms would have been like JEEM PEETON MANNEENG IS CLEARLY THE GREATEST CARTERBACK OF ALL TAHM! MAYBE EVEN BETTER THAN TOM BREEDY, JEEM. It gets on your nerves after a while.
When announcers endless pump the shaft of a single player, I will find any excuse to counter that praise, rational or not. So when you tell me that Peyton Manning is the smartest QB ever and a "student of the game", all I can think of is the fact that he was godawful in that Super Bowl. The guy couldn't evade an oncoming pass rusher if you gave him a Vespa.
What's new that sucks: DeMarcus Ware! Finally, the last piece of the puzzle: an overpaid, aging pass rusher who spent last season nursing a ruptured quad, a hyperextended elbow, and severe back problems that will never go away. Every time I saw Ware play last season, he was limping, and Cris Collinsworth would be like, "DeMarcus Ware is NOT himself tonight, Al." Here's a spoiler: DeMarcus Ware is kinda through being himself. He's a new himself now, one that is perpetually injured and will probably play a grand total of eight snaps.
Eric Decker is gone to New York, which means that Emmanuel Sanders is here to vulture touchdowns away from Wes Welker and/or Demaryius Thomas just when you reallllly need them. The team also dumped leading rusher Knowshon Moreno and put Montee Ball in charge of running that stretch play that Manning always calls after he's been audibling for 30 minutes straight. Seriously, all that arm flapping and OMAHA shit? Stretch play. It's a surprisingly easy code to break.
After getting destroyed by the Seahawks, the Broncos got rid of both starting corners, including Champ Bailey, and brought in Bradley Roby (via the draft) and Aqib Talib, who was well behaved in New England just long enough to secure the kind of massive free agent contract that will allow him to go back to being a cock again.
Also, Wes Welker is Dark Helmet now.
What has always sucked: Together with the Redskins, who are the worst, the Broncos gave us Mark Schlereth. I will never forgive you for that, Broncos. I will never forgive you for giving birth to a 1990s line that treated itself like a team of honor-bound Navy SEALS while diving at every stray knee in its field of vision, and then allowing Schlereth to have the world's most inexplicably successful broadcasting career. The guy says NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE on camera like it's a blood oath. He subs on Mike & Mike and somehow makes that show even WORSE. Do they keep him in a toilet stall in Bristol and just wheel him out any time Johnny Football gives some guy the finger? God, Mark Schlereth is the worst. He is a stock image on Getty that always manages to turn up even though you weren't searching for it.
I bet Broncos fans adore him, because Broncos fans aren't the cool, pot-store opening Coloradans that most people are familiar with. These are the Coors Light mountain bros repping the Broncos at your local Buffalo Wild Wings. You won't find a more ungrateful fanbase out there. These are the guys who won't stomp humping their horsebro, John Elway. And they basically ran Jake Plummer out of town, which is why poor Jake is a weirdo bearded handball player now.
These are the guys who keep Woody Paige and Mark Kiszla employed. These are the guys who ate up the Mile High Salute because they are the most humorless band of assholes on the planet (one letter I got called the Seahawks the Suckhawks, which counts as clever in Denver). These are the guys who probably run out and buy a shitty Papa John's pizza when Peyton tells them to. Papa John is basically an honorary Bronco at this point. There's a lot more aggressive bro-ishness in Denver than the town gets credit for. Go out in LoDo on a Saturday night and you're gonna get chested up by an MMA enthusiast within five seconds. And pot is legal in Colorado only because most people there are loony, paranoid, gun-loving pot smokers and not fun pot smokers.
Also, this state gave America The Fray, OneRepublic, and the Lumineers. You people deserve to lose in the playoffs again and again until Manning's neck finally explodes.
What might not suck: The AFC is somehow even more imbalanced than it was a year ago (I say it's a deliberate conspiracy to keep Manning and Brady relevant), which means that Denver will again be able to cruise to a division title without having to play anyone. I've seen massage patients face a more rigorous uphill climb.
Hear it from Broncos fans!
My mom before the game, "You know usually when the number one offense and the number one defense meet, the defense wins." Yep. You nailed that one, mom.
I interned in the Broncos ticket office one summer in college. Aside from stuffing envelopes and crap, my only real responsibility was answering the phone if I happened to be standing next to it when it rang. Once, I picked it up to find former Three Amigo Vance Johnson on the other end. He told me who he was and that he used to catch passes from Elway and asked if I could score him some tickets. When I told him that I was just an intern and I didn't really have that power, he hung up on me.
You broke my heart, Vance.
At the Colorado History Museum, about 25 feet from a heartbreaking exhibit about the Japanese internment camp that was located here, is a display about Barrel Man. With barrels you can wear yourself.
My family and I went to the Super Bowl. It was a great atmosphere and so much fun. Then the game started. Everything starting going downhill three seconds into the game. The stadium ran out of beer in our section, so we couldn't even drink our sorrows away.
We left the game five minutes early to try and beat the rush. The trains didn't start running until after 30-40,000 people had already flooded out of the stadium. We had to stand in line (if you can call a mob of people pushing to the front a line) for 2 hours before we got on the train, and we were some of the lucky ones who got out of there in "decent" time.
Once we finally got back to Manhattan, we were walking back to our hotel (in all of our Broncos gear of course) in complete silence since there was really nothing to say about that performance by our team. A homeless man on the streets of NYC started talking shit to us about how bad our team was. He was living on the streets...in February...and yet we were more miserable than him.
Ronnie Hillman may be the only running back that fumbles more often than Trent Richardson.
For the Super Bowl, my friend and I decided to watch the game at this shitty Minneapolis dive bar a few blocks away from my house. You know, one of those places where you walk in and immediately see 5 different health code violations. About 20 minutes before kickoff, after we ordered drinks, I feel a searing pain in my lower chest, as if the alien from Alien was going to pop out. I sprinted to the bathroom, which is a tiny little hellhole with zero leg space and a toilet crushed up against the sink. And as I released...well, everything, in the most gutbustingly painful way in this horrible place, the only thing I could think was, "Man, I really hope this isn't an omen."
I walked out of the restroom, looked up at the TV, and saw Manny Ramirez chucking the ball past a confused and very surprised Peyton Manning.
Watched the whole thing. Couldn't tell you why.
When the Broncos are good, you are a front runner or an Ex-Colts fan (especially when your team signs the forehead as their QB), and when they suck it is miserable.
Another great aspect of being a Broncos fan is that people generally believe you may be mentally impaired, because of the other fans that feel the need to chant incomplete the whole game or the ones who think God is Broncos fan because of the color of the sky.
For most of the 90s and early 00s, the Broncos were the hipster cowboys: they had fans all over the country who had no connection to Denver or Colorado, but who liked to jerk off about zone blocking and the genius of Elway or whatever.
I wore a John Elway jersey to a World Cup game this year (I'm that asshole)... and pretty much every person that recognized the jersey somehow alluded to Tebow.
The Broncos are 0-4 in the Super Bowl when they wear orange. 27-10 against the Cowboys, 42-10 against the Redskins, 55-10 against the 49ers, 43-8 against the Seahawks. That adds up to a horrifying 167-38 overall. They just get absolutely fuckpunched every single time.
And we Broncos fans love the color orange. We had the Orange Crush. Our motto last year was fucking "United in Orange." The Broncos have gotten their balls kicked every which way on the biggest stages of television history while wearing the goddamn color, and Broncos fans should get PTSD flashbacks every time we see even an orange-ish sunset, but we don't. We love it. Because we're idiots.
The people of Denver are still latent racists, the drivers are still atrocious, and everyone is still pretending like we don't have a massive homeless population (predominantly vets).
Please note how half of the Denver Post article on TJ Ward getting an arrest warrant for throwing shit at an all-nude bar is actually about the Broncos secondary.
Fuck John Fox and his "Not Too Shabby" attitude.
Peyton Manning needs things to go EXACTLY to script on offense at all times or else he turns into Ryan fucking Leaf.
I remember watching an episode of Tosh.0 a couple years ago when he was discussing Tim Tebow at the height of his bullshit playoff season in 2011. I can't say that I remember anything noteworthy from the Tebow talk of it, but one thing Tosh mentioned was that Tebow was entertaining a stadium full of "chanting hill people."
Being a season ticket holder, I go to nearly every home game, and we are indeed a group of fat, stupid hill people. I don't know why, either. Look up the stats; Colorado is one of the healthiest states in America. There aren't nearly as many obese people here as there are in God forsaken states like Alabama or Mississippi. Go to an Avalanche, Nuggets, or Rockies game, and generally speaking most people look like respectable human beings.
Not at Broncos games. The fans you see at Mile High Stadium are morbidly disgusting people. It's like a Broncos jersey instantly adds 30 pounds to everyone wearing them.
Go to any Denver Broncos forum and you'll find at least 10 people still wondering if we could get Tebow back….
You know why the Broncos suck? Peyton Fucking Manning. He goes out in Mile High, tells all of us to shut the fuck up at a goddamn football game so we can hear him yell Omaha 65 times. Peyton Manning fans (which should be distinguished from Broncos fans) seem to get a kick out of this and love to shush me during his drives. They look at me with a curious face when I continue to WOOOOO!!!! as loud as I can, no matter what Peyton Manning thinks. I do this for one reason: So when we get to the Super Bowl and there are fans acting just like me in Seahawk jerseys, Peyton actually has a little practice dealing with noise and the fucking ball doesn't fly over his head on the first play of the game.
Peyton is like a colicky baby. If you're quiet and let him sleep, it's heaven on Earth. But if you're loud your whole Sunday goes to shit and even the coldest beer can't make the pain go away.
The media in Denver is terrible. Woody Paige and Mark Kiszakskakalalala are so uncomfortable on camera it looks like they're a colony of ants wearing human skin, and they both failed the Reilly school of corny dad joke bullshit.
As a Bronco fan, I know this team is going to get the holy living dogshit kicked out of it at some point. And it'll probably be once everyone's nice and happy and complacent, so when John Fox suddenly reverts to playing Marty Ball when there are actual stakes, the pain will be for maximum damage. Fun seasons get punctuated with an intensely deflating and remarkably thorough defeat.
Also, someone a couple years back noted how people here stop on highway on-ramps instead of merging like they're supposed to. Having driven here for the last 15+ years, I can confirm this, and I fucking hate it. Denver drivers are objectively terrible.
The same fans that flocked to get on Welker's nuts last year are the same people calling Eric Decker disloyal.
Fuck Champ Bailey & that defense with a boat oar.
We 'toughened' up on defense by adding a guy who was knocked out of a game by Wes Welker.
Our fans set a NFL jersey sales record. For Tim fucking Tebow.
Circle November 2 at New England. It'll snow 3 fucking feet, Manning will remember that he can't play outside in the cold, and Ball will fumble 4 times in the first half.
1) Before the start of 2012 when Nike took over Jersey design, we were 0-4 wearing Orange as our primary color jersey in Super Bowls, so we decided to switch back from our Blue primary jerseys (2-0 record in Super Bowls). We are now 0-5, and in the games actually wearing the orange jerseys in the super bowl, we are 0-4 with a combined score of 167-38. The Denver Broncos should never wear orange jerseys after Thanksgiving.
2) On Facebook the day that Erick Decker left for New York, my feed was full of girls that were swearing off the Broncos to become Jets fans.
3) We have people convinced that John Fox is a good coach
4) We actually have an offensive coordinator, do you know his name? Hint: it's not Peyton Manning, and he'll probably be the coach of [Jets/Panthers/Bengals/etc.] next year
5) After every incomplete pass, our fans yell IN-COM-PLETE in chorus, to acknowledge to the defense that we are in fact comprehending the events unfolding before our very eyes
6) A larger-than-you-would-think contingent of fans were genuinely upset that we got Peyton Manning, because that meant we were getting Tebow
7) We once believed Jay Cutler to be the second coming of Elway, so much so that we benched our Quarterback who took us to the AFC Title game the year before. We were 7-4 and only needed to go 3-2 to make the playoffs. We did not.
I firmly believe that Peyton Manning's asshole dad persona makes everyone on the team (coaches included) suffer from extreme performance anxiety. The game takes a turn for the worst, and dickhead dad furrows his gigantic, red forehead and the game is all but over. No one knows what to do because you've disappointed the team's father figure. This would explain why the Colts only managed to win one Super Bowl.
I'm convinced Brock Osweilycoyoteburger is John Elway's secret lovechild. He roomed with Elway's son at ASU, Elway drafted him way higher than he should have, and he is solidly the backup and future despite taking awful sacks and routinely getting outplayed by Zac Dysert.
Because Fox can't talk without sounding like he is drunk. I'm pretty sure that gum he chews during games is laced with booze or ecstasy (knowing our front office, this is probably encouraged).
Because Rahim Moore is still on the team, notwithstanding his compartment syndrome, a symptom of which must be forgetting how to play prevent defense in the playoffs. I don't care how many good seasons Rahim Moore has from now on, or that he's a good guy. Fuck Rahim Moore.
Because our fans don't realize you need to shut up when the offense has the ball unless Peyton tells them to. They're also the worst drivers on the planet.
There were honest to god Broncos fans who thought bringing in manning over Tebow was a mistake. When the Broncos lost to the Ravens in a divisional game because Rahim Moore misjudged a ball, I heard people saying things like, "We won a playoff game with Tebow". On NBC they always talk about how loyal Broncos fans are, how there are Broncos fans in Montana and Idaho. It's bullshit. The Broncos haven't been bad for any stretch of time for almost 40 years. Really we've been awful once in that time and good to great the rest of the time. The consistent competitiveness of this team masks the fact that the fans don't know a god damned thing about football.
I graduated from high school this year, and my high school yearbook has a 2013-14 "What Happened" this year section. Now every time I open my yearbook, I'll be reminded of the 43 soul tearing shits the Seahawks dumped on me in the worst football game of my life.
Fuck Richard Sherman.
Pat Bowlen had to step down due to Alzheimer's. He always tried to win, hated Al Davis and while he made mistakes (sticking with Reeves too long, taking control in the Wade Phillips years, Josh McDaniels) he owned up to them.
Now John Elway, who adroitly rebuilt the worst roster in the league into a contender, will answer to Joe Ellis. Wormtongue Ellis was responsible for turning the best home field advantage in the league into Invesco Field an open air yuppie wine bar.
I attended the preseason match up last year against the Broncos with my wife. Right in front of me I saw a girl yell at her husband or fiance saying "GO GET ME A CHEESEBURGER!" When the guy said no, she took of her ring and slapped it right in his hand and told him to take it back.
I can't remember what happened at that game.
In the absence of any other relevant, defining symbol, the city chose to place this terrifying statue outside the airport:
Denver: come for the mountains, stay for the Satanic horses. Also, aggregate Superbowl point differential: -126. So there's that.
We're one Chris Clark block away from having Brock 'Team Cullen' Osweiler lead us to mediocrity.
Also, fuck Rahim Moore with a rusty screwdriver. Forever.
Because we always have to chime into the best QB of all time discussion, and we don't do it gracefully. We linger on the edge of the convo and as soon as someone mentions Joe Montana, BOOM: "You know Elway played on a worse team."
I once saw this bumper sticker that said, "If God isn't a Broncos fan, why did he make the sunsets orange?"
As someone that lived through three out of four of our Super Bowl disasters, right as that snap sailed past Manning's head, I literally said out loud, "Oh, it's another one of those huh?"
For the first time, since I was 10 years old, I got to watch my team make it to the Super Bowl. No more Brian Griese. No more Gus Frerotte. No Plummer, No Cutler, No Tebow. We had Peyton Manning. His neck was fixed. Still had that laser-rocket arm (his words). But then, there was Manny Ramirez. I played football in high school. I played center. I was too slow and had hands made of stone, but shit, I could count. There was only one time in my life I snapped the ball early. And as I did, my coach drilled me in the head with a ball from the sideline. Right in the ear-hole. I remember that moment distinctly, because that is exactly how it felt to watch that game.
I had waited 15 years for the Broncos to make the Super Bowl again, and one quarter later I'm doing my taxes because it was way less depressing.
Also there's a portion of the fanbase who still rides hard for Tebow, whose mystique came exclusively from a year where the rest of the AFC West was eating paste and a playoff game where the Pittsburgh Steeler secondary channeled Ralph Wiggum.
Also: fuck Rahim Moore.
I attended Super Bowl XLVIII. Apparently John Fox didn't appreciate me emptying my bank account, since he apparently spent the two weeks prior to the game teaching the Broncos how to jerk off in their own hands.
When we let Percy Harvin take a kickoff 87 yards to the end zone just to start the second half, 40,000 people in that stadium all said in unison, "ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!" Seriously, check the tape - you can make it out on the broadcast. Being at that game was like watching one of those Ken Burns Civil War documentaries: it all happened in sepia tone and I pictured Eric Decker writing home to his wife about how war is hell while our offensive line had their limbs amputated without anesthesia. I blocked out the rest of the game, because a mental haze of light beer was more entertaining than what happened.
And now we're supposed to just pretend that didn't happen?
Also, superfuck Josh McDaniels.
God bless you John Elway. Go fucking fuck yourself Josh McDaniels.
I saw people here in Denver wearing fucking Tebow Jets-Broncos half-and-half jerseys back in 2012.
Manning won't win it because our receivers can't beat press coverage against leprechauns. Our linebackers are Von Miller and a slew of orange road cones. Our running backs dip their hands in Crisco before every series.
For extra fun, I'm a Bronco fan living in NYC, so all this means is I get to spend the season hearing from every braindead Giants fan how Eli is better with his two rings (while we all watch him throw 700 interceptions before the bye), knowing full well there is no vindication coming.
The Broncos have lost more Super Bowls than anyone else.
We have lost the most Super Bowls. Three of the top five Super Bowl blowouts were against us.
I guess it gets pretty annoying being even minorly associated with all the Colts fans/part-time Bronco fans who rub their junk through their jeans whenever they see Manning sell a Buick.
Fuck Josh McDaniels.
Their 22-point halftime deficit at last year's Super Bowl was the third-largest in Super Bowl history, ranking only behind the 1990 Denver Broncos and the 1988 Denver Broncos.
Motherfuck Josh McDaniels. Boy Wonder can shit a pineapple in reverse.
AFC South: Titans | Jaguars | Texans | Colts
NFC South: Falcons | Buccaneers | Panthers | Saints
AFC West: Chargers | Chiefs | Raiders | Broncos
NFC West: Rams |Cardinals | 49ers | Seahawks
AFC North: Steelers | Bengals | Browns | Ravens
Wanna be part of the Deadspin NFL previews? It's simple. Just email me and give me ample evidence of why your team sucks: personal anecdotes, encounters with fans, etc. I'll throw any good material into the post and give you proper credit. Next team up: St. Louis Rams.