Some people are fans of the Denver Broncos. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Denver Broncos. This 2018 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the previews so far here.
Your team: Denver Broncos.
Your 2017 record: 5-11, but it was a wet 5-11. This team started out 3-1 only to get crushed at home by the Giants. The Giants! The Giants didn’t even DRESS for games last season. The Broncos lost eight straight games in the middle of last season. Offensive coordinator Mike McCoy was shot out of a cannon 11 weeks after the team brought him back from San Diego. The Eagles hung 51 on them. Jay Cutler hung 35 on them. Von Miller cost them a win against Buffalo because, and this is true, he got flagged for doing the SIKE! move on Tyrod Taylor. Down low? Too slow! What the fuck happened to this team? Oh, right…
Your coach: Vance Joseph. Still there! Turns out that letting Wade Phillips go was a mistake, and that the guy who made the Miami defense statistically worse in just one year on the job did the exact same thing with the Broncos defense. WHO COULD HAVE FORETOLD SUCH THINGS? The only time this team played defense last season was when John Elway called them soft:
On the field, they went from fourth in points allowed in 2016 all the way down to 22nd. Joseph was so close to being fired that I think we were ALL heartbroken when the Broncos, in keeping with their time-honored tradition of having no imagination of any kind, decided to keep him aboard. I have no clue why they did this. Maybe Elway has a soft spot for accused sexual harassers. Maybe he was just proud that the Broncos managed to remain incredibly on-brand as the NFL’s dirtiest team under Joseph’s watch. SNATCH THAT CHAIN!
I can’t believe they traded Aqib Talib. I thought Elway would have given him a 12-year extension after this. My man taped that chain to his chest like a moron and Talib STILL got it. He was the most Bronco Bronco since Bill Romanowski.
Your quarterback: If you want absolve Joseph of blame for last season’s debacle (I don’t!), you can go ahead and point out that Elway absolutely fucking boned this team at QB for the second straight year. Last season, Broncos fans were treated to an encore run of Little Engine That Couldn’t Trevor Siemian AND the return of this man:
FUCK AND YES. That’s the thumbs up that people give in movies right before their plane crashes. To cleanse the palate, Elway signed Case Keenum away from Minnesota to be the starter. Von Miller’s attempts to lure Kirk Cousins to Denver with a box of Cracklin’ Oat Bran failed. I’m shocked. I’m not even being sarcastic. If you want that corny asshole on your team, showing him farty cereals is an airtight recruiting plan.
Keenum had a career year last season, which literally everyone else in football besides John Elway knew was an anomaly. In terms of contested catches, Keenum threw to two of the top six wideouts in the NFL last season. Now he’ll be chucking balls up to Emmanuel Sanders, who is always either hurt or driving into highway barricades, and to Demaryius Thomas, who plays like he has fucking sandbags lashed to his ankles. Could Keenum, who is three feet tall and runs around the field like he’s DYING to be concussed, revert back to the mean this season? ONLY TIME WILL TELL. Behind Keenum is this guy…
Paxton Lynch looks like he just showed up at Billboard Music Awards. This man was a worse first-round selection than Tim Tebow. That’s not even a take. It’s a fact. Tim Tebow had an actual NFL career. Twenty One Pilots guy here is two weeks away from never being on an NFL roster again. Behind Lynch is seventh-rounder Chad Kelly. Where do I go to put money on Broncos fans screaming for the team to draft a first-round quarterback in 2019 only to watch in growing horror as Elway drafts a project linebacker? I got $50 I wanna throw down on that baby. It’s very weird to me that John Elway is wasting a great defense all because he doesn’t want to pony up an extra few million at quarterback.
What’s new that sucks: You got a new punter! Say hello to former Raider Marquette King, who you will see on the field WAY more often than you could possibly want over the next five months. I know Keenum is a tenacious little fucker, but this offense is … it’s pretty fucking bad. You know how the Broncos usually pull a surprisingly decent back out of their ass every season? Yeah no, that streak is over. CJ Anderson is gone and your replacement is the underwhelming platoon of Devontae Booker and rookie Royce Freeman. The wideouts have the half-life of a hydrogen isotope. Virtually all of this offense’s potential rests with Keenum and the long-term recovery of tight end Jake Butt. Hehehehehe … OFFENSE NEEDS BUTT. I can’t wait for Jake Butt to fumble for the first time. Sometimes the best jokes are the easiest ones.
On defense, the Broncos cornered the market on humorous last names by drafting Bradley Chubb to replace retired pass rusher DeMarcus Ware. Talib was shipped off to the Rams. Defensive end Adam Gotsis was charged with rape. They can’t find anyone to buy naming rights to their dopey stadium. I know you Broncos fans are spoiled little shits who think that 5-11 was a blip on the radar, but John Elway is a horse-toothed idiot whose terminal inability to find decent players in the later rounds of the draft will keep the Broncos down and out for the foreseeable future. In a few years, people will remember that 2015 Broncos’ title as an aberration and wonder if it really happened, like that one title the Bucs won. But I look forward to this team deliberately taking out all the other QBs with head shots and ruining the NFL for the rest of us.
What has always sucked: Is the owner dead yet? No? I guess he’s not dead yet. By the way, there are actual Broncos-related humans who are upset that Pat Bowlen isn’t in the Hall of Fame yet. Like, that’s a serious life concern for them. OH NO! MY FAVORITE DYING BILLIONAIRE ISN’T BEING HONORED ENOUGH! You people are fucking weird. Stop making every owner into fucking Gandhi. Control of the Broncos ownership is currently overseen by a trust, but don’t worry, Broncos fans: Bowlen has SEVEN children who get to fight over his estate. I’m sure that’ll end well. Personally, I’m excited to see what the Colorado version of Jed York looks like! I bet he wears very nice mountain sandals and hates poor people.
As for Denver itself, it is now the Promontory Point of High-End Douchebaggery: a place where all the worst people from the West Coast and all the worst people from the East Coast have converged. It’s nothing but tech bros, tech bros disguised as nature bros, and junior Lance Armstrongs. As a result, Denver is now nothing but high rises for rich dickheads pretending to be hippies and smug native Coloradans complaining about the rising cost of weed. You are L.A. of the Rockies now.
And the rest of Colorado isn’t much better! All of its cities suck now. Denver is a nightmare future tech hellscape. Boulder is like if you took Berkeley but also made it Disneyland. Colorado Springs is a bad mix of weirdo running freaks and meth heads and angry military guys. Fort Collins is a bum-fuck farm town. Pueblo is the meth capital of the entire goddamn world and is routinely overrun by locusts, and yet is somehow the most tolerable city in the state. It’s a goddamn tragedy, is what it is. The state with the most amazing natural beauty in America is otherwise defined by 15,000-seat megachurches where a guy in shorts encourages people to “think of Jesus as your workout buddy.”
What might not suck: Are you ready for the exciting whizzbang offense of new coordinator Bill Musgrave? I’m just kidding, he’s fucking terrible.
Let’s remember a guy who sucked: Aforementioned turd Bill Romanowski, who was a dipshit his entire career but found a whole new level of dipshittery playing for Mike Shanahan. I hate him so much. I can’t believe he hasn’t been given a Cabinet post yet.
HEAR IT FROM BRONCOS FANS!
I live in Cleveland and I tell all my coworkers that the Broncos game against the Browns will be one of the worst games of football this year. I’m willing to bet that Myles Garrett will be the one that blasts through our piss poor offensive line and puts the nail in Case Keenum’s coffin.
The two best things about the 2017 Denver Broncos were Sergio Dipp telling the world that Vance Joseph was having the time of his life and part two of the Talib-Crabtree feud.
I bet we’re gonna have a lot of good practices this year.
Fuck Josh McDaniels with John Elway’s ground up teeth.
In my relatively short lifetime, I have attended 13 Broncos games. They have won exactly none of them. I went to a regular season game against the Bengals when we had Peyton Manning and they still managed to lose.
I have been saying “defense wins championships” like my dad for the last two years since Super Bowl 50. I have become the sport cliche that I hate. Fuck me sideways.
John Elway has drafted five quarterbacks as Broncos GM. In order from best to worst:
If it were any other GM with that post-Peyton Manning track record, Broncos fans would have dragged them into the mountains and left them to die in a ditch by now.
Our “savior” is Case Fucking Keenum.
Every year John Elway starts to become the uncanny valley version of Gary Busey. He needs to be put out to pasture.
Thanks for winning the Super Bowl and then collapsing into obscurity right as the NFL became completely unwatchable.
John Elway introduced our new QB as Case Keesum.
What a fucking mess, we fucking suck, fucking shoot me.
I fucking loved it when Talib ripped Crabtree’s chain off, but would have been furious and righteously indignant if it had been the other way around. I am what is wrong with America.
I’ll enjoy watching Keenum throw a million shovel passes to the mummified bodies of Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas, who I swear must coat his hands in industrial-grade lube before every game.
At least six times a year, a Broncos fan will tell me that the team would STILL be better off if Tim Tebow was our quarterback. “Yep, we woulda won two or three of them trophies if he was our guy,” says a 68-year-old retired plumber named Doug with a mustache, a new truck with a sticker showing a boy peeing on a brand of truck he didn’t buy, his third wife, his fourth heart attack, and his five kids named Doug Jr., Brandy, Ron, Barbara and Misty.
John Elway is an asshole. He would leave his current position with the Broncos in a heartbeat if Donald Trump allowed him to be his butler.
No other team exists in Colorado. The Nuggets could win a title (lol), but the next day our imbecile sports talkers would be discussing the breaking news of our backup long snapper spraining his pinky.
I haven’t gone to a Broncos game in years because I’ve been surrounded by farting fans every time I’ve gone. Plus, we’ve had so many people move here in the past several years that at least 40% of the fans at any given home game root for the other team — 50% if it’s the Steelers.
Rush hour in Denver now starts at 6:15 AM and doesn’t end until thirteen hours later because everyone here is high and doesn’t know where they’re going but they’re driving 39 miles per hour — in the left lane — to get there. Plus, every mustachioed hipster driving a Prius has a phone in one hand, a Starbucks in the other and the steering wheel is an afterthought.
Housing has gotten so god damn expensive here in the past 10 years that $500,000 in Denver proper would likely buy you an 875-square foot project with an outhouse and a 50/50 chance of getting shivved on your way to the front door.
Sometimes I’m not sure we have any perspective at all. Other times- wait, is that a Raiders jersey? BOO! GO BACK TO CALIFORNIA! *throws empty can of Coors Banquet*
I’m pretty sure John Elway’s strategy for drafting quarterbacks involves finding the ones with the whitest names possible and not giving a shit if they’re actually good at football. We ended up with a Brock, Paxton, Chad, Trevor, and Zac, they all sound like the guy who will immediately back you into a corner with his story about his trip with his ski bros to Vail, and they all throw like a wounded goddamn mongoose.
The only QB we have drafted who has started and won us a playoff game is Tim Tebow.
John Elway is simultaneously the only reason we have three Lombardis and also why we have no chance of adding to that any time soon. At least Pat Bowlen isn’t going to remember any of this shit.
As a Northwestern alum and lifelong Broncos fan, I had somehow convinced myself in the Trevor Siemian era.
The only reason l have left to root for the Broncos? When they win on Sunday, the Monday morning traffic is noticeably better.
I’ve somehow talked myself into Case Keenum. FUCK.
Elway is Colorado Trump (down to the fat orange face), but I’ll probably be buried in his jersey when I die of some easily preventable disease that becomes rampant once Trump Care is enacted.
The Broncos are the worst team in this town and get 99% of all the attention. Because of this every fan here thinks they can judge NFL talent like they were Tom Landry. “I don’t like the way Ron Leary’s footwork has developed...” OH MY GOD SHUT UP.
People in this town want Denver to be viewed as a major city that demands respect but act like Genghis Khan is invading because 13,000 new people move here every year. They talk about the traffic like it’s Mumbai because it took 45 minutes to drive 30 miles.
Once you leave Denver the entire state is basically one big MAGA hat that hates immigrant sunless they’re paying them under the table to work for them. From 2014-2017 Denver Police had (TEN) wrongful death shootings that cost $14.5 million in settlements. Brandon Marshall knelt during the anthem and he got more shit then if he had shot John Elway in the face.
John Elway is 58 years old and still chews tobacco.
Our best head coach in a while resigned after two years because the organization was too much of a health hazard to deal with, so we hired one of the worst defensive coordinators to replace him, fired the best defensive coordinator in the NFL, did nothing to address the QB position, then were shocked when we barely won any games.
I’ve never been less excited about an upcoming season as I am this year. My belief is that Elway is so fucking fragile and neurotic that he only took the job in the first place to thwart any possibility of another QB gaining half the accolades he did. Fuck the Broncos’ fans with Tebow’s baseball bat.
The quarterback is a journeyman whose resume is inflated by the worst missed tackle in Saints history. The coach is a soft-spoken nobody who couldn’t control a high school locker room. The owner is bedridden while his children and trustees openly fight over control of the team. The GM can’t make a decent draft pick to save his life but avoids any and all criticism because he once rode a stacked team to two titles and schmoozed Peyton into doing the same thing.
The worst of it all is I’m still cemented in with the captive audience to this garbage. My growing hate for the NFL won’t stop me from flipping on sports radio and getting tingly at the report of “Case bringing real leadership back to the team!” The Broncos suck and I helped.
Arguably the team’s biggest weaknesses last year were QB and O-line. The solution? Sign Case Keenum and not draft any O-linemen until the 6th round. Pardon me while I wet my pants with excitement.
I legitimately cannot understand how Vance Joseph kept his job after last season.
Remember that episode of South Park where the Broflovskys move to San Francisco, where everyone is so full of themselves that they fart into wine glasses and sniff if? That’s Denver now.
Fuck Raheem Moore with the giant satanic horse statue out by the airport.
Our horseface of a GM wouldn’t fucking dare consider bringing in Kaepernick lest all the trash that live in Douglas County and Co Springs stroke the fuck out.
I’m going to my first live Broncos game in about 25 years this year, but it’s not at Mile High. I’m flying to Los Angeles to see them play the Chargers in that MLS stadium because a) no one in LA gives a fuck about the Chargers so tickets cost basically nothing; b) the novelty of seeing an actual NFL game in that small a stadium should be fun; and c) it’s a nice excuse to get out of town and see warm weather friends in November; and d) it’s far preferable to heading down to Mile High on game days overstuffed with drunk steakheads, fat hump suburbanites, and every other deluded dickface in this town who thinks “there’s a reason God made sunsets orange and blue.” I suppose it’s no better or worse than most other stadiums in America, but the idea of getting up close and personal with it reminds you generally of how awful NFL fandom is. Give me the empty soccer stadium.
Last year’s losing streak was actually the best thing that ever happened to this team, at least in terms of game day experience. Going into week six, when it all started, the Broncos were 3-1, and looking like a potential playoff contender. With the 0-5 and spiraling Giants coming to town, and with a national TV audience watching, we were ready for the rout that was going to put the rest of the league on notice. So when the Giants jumped out to an early lead that they would never surrender, things in the stands turned ugly fast. Guys in the bathroom were cursing at the walls, a few demanding to know what Von Miller had done for the team lately and demanding that he be cut. The concourses were full of people just looking to start swinging. Brock Osweiler’s dad almost punched the guy sitting next to me. We got the hell out of there at the start of the fourth quarter, unwilling to see what would happen in the parking lot after that fiasco.
Flash forward a month or so, to the Bengals game. By that time, the season was completely in the toilet, and the team was playing for draft position. And I had a great time. There was very little stress in the stands. People were courteous in the beer lines. We all cheered wildly the few times that the Broncos managed to do anything positive, and laughed it off the many more times that they didn’t. By the end of the game, when a few Bengals fans snuck down to the front few rows of our section to try to mug for the crowd, no one paid any attention. Maybe it was the weed cookie I ate on the way into the game, but it was easily the most pleasant afternoon I have ever had at that stadium.
If this is another bad season and we get more afternoons like the Bengals game, I’m actually fine with it. But given that we got that psyched up for a team on year two of the Trevor Siemian experiment, we’re probably a good first quarter in week one away from Mile High turning back into the anxiety producing mess it used to be.
I have lived here for two years now and I am convinced that the “smell” that people complain about is really the young professionals enjoying the smell of their own craft beer farts.
Our CTE-ridden, hyper-conservative legend of a former-QB elected NOT to draft a sure-thing QB prospect merely because Josh Rosen has interests other than memorizing the Broncos’ shitty play-book of HB dives and roll-outs. Now I have to watch Case Keenum follow in the footsteps of Trevor Siemian, Brock, Paxton fucking Lynch, and the half-corpse of Peyton Manning. It’s like the Broncos are content to waste the prime-years of a historically terrifying defense until Belichick finally cuts bait with 43-year old Tom Brady, who will cure his 19th concussion by injecting Rocky Mountain water directly into his asshole.
You got no idea how delusional Bronco fans are, they have a 24/7 radio station fully dedicated to the Broncos and these motherfuckers spent HOURS explaining why Brock Osweiler was actually good and had a chance to beat the Eagles in Philly. I ended up watching that game at a Philly bar, of all places, and had a much better time than every other time I interacted with Broncos fans. THEY MADE PHILLY FANS LIKEABLE.
Every brewery here is overpriced and they all taste the same.
Our fanbase is made up of three distinct groups of people:
+ Trump nutjobs that are blacked-out by halftime and spend the remaining parts of the game slurring deragatory remarks about the Raiders (still, fuck the Raiders)
+ Gloryboy Denver transplants that claim to be legacy Denver fans but never knew a time when weed wasn’t legal and Josh McDaniels was fucking our roster with the half-baked, knock-off principles of the Belichickian dynasty
+ Fans like me that are too embarrassed to be associated with the former two groups
Fuck this team, fuck that turd Goodell, and fuck me for wasting every Sunday on this game
During the time I lived in Colorado, a good friend of mine was involved in a biking accident, and suffered a traumatic head injury. (He’d have walked away if he’d been wearing his helmet. Please wear a helmet when you cycle!) I took his fiancée to see him in the hospital soon after the accident, and the sight of my friend then is not one that will ever fade. The doctors seriously didn’t know if he was going to live or die. (He is doing great now.)
The next day, with his life in the balance, I picked up my friend’s parents at the airport so they could be with him and his fiancée. My friend was still unconscious. I approached the information desk to ask how to get to the ICU, with two somber, desperately worried people on either side of me. After the woman behind the desk gave me directions to the ICU, she added, cheerily, “And the Broncos are winning!” I remember that my hands fisted up after she said that shit—I was actually in fight mode, and I have never been in a fight in my entire life. I had to tear myself away from that counter, because something bad was going to happen if I didn’t.
And that, dear Drew, is the story of how I almost punched a nun.
Submissions for the 2018 Deadspin NFL previews are now closed. Next up: New York Jets.