Sports News Without Access, Favor, Or Discretion

Why Your Team Sucks 2019: Denver Broncos

Photo: Joe Robbins (Getty)

Some people are fans of the Denver Broncos. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Denver Broncos. This 2019 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the previews so far here.

Your team: Denver Broncos.

Your 2018 record: 6-10. Man, remember when Chad Kelly stumbled drunk into a random house and got chased out with a vacuum tube? That was interesting. Shame he didn’t work out, given how much fans loved his Colt McCoy-esque potential…


In all other aspects, the 2018 Broncos campaign was the kind of placeholder season everyone expected from a team that had a sitting duck for a head coach and Case Keenum (who can occasionally make coaches and fans happy, yet can’t seem to ever truly satisfy them) for a quarterback. So many NFL teams strategically plan around waste, and not in any PRODUCTIVE manner. It’s not like John Elway is in his stable, munching raw oats, cooking up a long-range scheme to stockpile assets in between having his mane brushed. Given Elway’s acumen, those assets would be seized and sold off at a bankruptcy auction later on anyway. It’s just a case of sucking to pass the time. And so many teams do it! They never fire people at the right time. They always keep around shit people they know can’t get them over the hump. THE FUCK ARE WE EVEN DOING HERE, GOD DAMMIT?!

In other news, some local radio pud demanded that punter Marquette King be more like Brandon Stokley. I wonder why! An Emmanuel Sanders taunting penalty cost them a TD and ended up being the difference in a loss to the eventual NFC champion Rams. The head coach elected to kick a field goal down 17-13 to Cleveland with under five minutes left (they would not overcome the gaffe). They lost to the Chiefs thanks to the refs missing a delay of game penalty. They also let Patrick Mahomes complete a left-handed pass. When you’re facing a Vance Joseph defense, suddenly you can open up the whole laboratory. You can toss lefty passes, run a tackle eligible, have the tight end catch a pass while standing on his head … THE ONLY LIMIT IS YOUR IMAGINATION.

In one of his trademark efforts to direct blame for his team’s demise toward anyone but himself, John Elway publicly called out the Broncos for being soft and girly, which is the normal football man way of solving problems.

YOU: Sir, the house is on fire!

FOOTBALL MAN: This is all because kids today get participation trophies. Maybe if kids had to EARN their trophies, fire wouldn’t come messing with us.


YOU: The house is gone, sir.

Elway also took time out from his duties drafting terrible quarterbacks to appear in an attack ad at the behest of the oil and gas lobby, urging voters to vote NO on banning those same companies from slant-drilling their way under area schools and whatnot to suck dry any precious natural gases they please. The ad worked. The proposition failed. HOORAY! Biggest win of the year for you, Bronco Nation. CAN YOU SMELL IT? Smells sulfurous and highly flammable!


The only other bright spot in the season was undrafted rookie Phillip Lindsay emerging as a stud back just before piranhas devoured his wrist.

Your coach: It’s former Bears DC Vic Fangio, who looks and acts like he was airlifted into this world directly from 1982:


Everything about Fangio’s resume suggests a potential Mike Zimmer clone: a well-regarded lifer who was forced to wait far too long to get a shot at a top job. Then again, given their recent QB history, perhaps turning to yet another cranky defensive guy wasn’t the wisest choice:

“Anybody’s who has been a position coach, or assistant coach, they don’t like the music,” Fangio said, via’s Mike Klis. “It makes it hard to talk to your guys... I was an assistant coach and I don’t want to drum out the noise to talk to my players… I don’t like to have to yell to communicate to a player that’s standing as close as me and you are. That makes no sense.”


Good thing real games don’t have any other kind of deafening background noise to make communication difficult! Fangio coached while suffering from old man kidney stones last night. SETTIN’ THE TONE. Your new OC is the delightfully named Rich Scangarello. MADONE. Your new DC is Ed Donatell, who I believe has coached for every NFL team thrice over. And your linebackers coach remains Reggie Herring, who looks like someone who instigated a fight in the prison mess hall.

“Fuck you looking at, boy?”

Your OL coach is Mike Munchak, if only so I can tune into Broncos games, see a shot of him patrolling the sideline, and be like, “Oh god, Mike Munchak is part of this.” Once again, the best-case scenario for this team is one where a mighty defense carries a listless offense on its back to a season that ends with 10-6 as both their final record and their average score.

Your quarterback: STRAP IN…

It’s Joe Flacco, and he’s been grizzlified by 20 percent! Elway traded Keenum to Washington for a fifth-rounder and dealt a fourth-rounder for Flacco, essentially moving down a touch in the ass-end of the draft in order to have, well, basically the exact same QB problem this team has had since Peyton Manning walked away. Getting Joe Flacco when you need a franchise QB is like getting a can of shoe polish when you need to treat your baldness. But at least team MVP and shark hunter Von Miller appears pleased

“He looks like a Super Bowl MVP to me,” Miller said, via the Associated Press. “Today he had a play-action, rolled out to the right and threw the ball from the opposite 20 to the opposite 15. Now, I don’t know how far that is.”


Whoa whoa whoa, are you telling me that Joe Flacco, always known to have a decent arm, threw the ball a long way in a PRACTICE? Holy shit. Al Davis’s cock just sat up in its grave. Elway himself believes Flacco is in his prime, because he’s fucking blind. This is where I note that Flacco’s YPA last season was worse than that of both the man he’s replacing and the man who replaced HIM. Fucking great.

Flacco is due $18.5 million this season, the same lethal devouring of cap space that prevented the Ravens from building anything lasting around him. That’s a hefty price for a dude who’s here to warm the seat up for second-rounder Drew Lock, who looks like the love child of Jay Cutler and Grayson Allen. Then again, let’s have a quick peek at Lock’s game tape, shall we?


Okay, he might need a bit of seasoning. I watched Lock play last night and he was about as accurate at Netflix’s viewership numbers. Lock is here to replace first-round bust Paxton Lynch, who was drafted to replace second-round bust and human stork Brock Osweiler. It’s almost like I see a pattern developing.


What’s new that sucks: Well, Pat Bowlen died. Bowlen was a Hall of Fame owner because ALL owners make the Hall of Fame now. His death from Alzheimer’s has resulted in a sad but entirely foreseeable estate battle that’ll likely live on longer than any of the participants in it. Let’s see what one of Bowlen’s surviving children thinks of the new head coach!

when the only thing you’re high on is LIFE

This is entirely in line with a front office that, for the better part of a decade, has been drunk around the clock. Elway appears to be the only sober one of this bunch and he’s an ASSHOLE who drafts abominably and looks more like Gary Busey with each passing day. Elway is the kind of GOP-bred shitbag who believes his own past success validates everything else he’s ever done or ever will do. That’s why he keeps drafting Browning Nagle clones and inexplicably shooing away any coach who has accomplished something of note under him. Can’t have anyone else steal the glow from poor John’s halo. Why don’t you go feed yourself a sugar cube, you toothy shit?

Pacman Jones retired after getting arrested for cheating at a casino. That all tracks.


What has always sucked: Denver is Sacramento with legal weed and nicer scenery. It’s a cow town that has just about finished up ethnically cleansing itself, and now it has just the right kind of simplistic Big Ten–style football team to fit in with all the insufferable Midwest transplants living there, along with all the spruce-brained hicks rolling in from the flatlands to shake their manboobs and crow about how they’ve always wanted a working-class footbaw team. Well now you’ve got one. Everyone else is copying the Rams and Chiefs. Elway is copying Marty Schottenheimer. And honestly, it’s what these fans deserve. They’re as spoiled and impatient as the dude running things, and for what? A fucking rodeo clown death of a team. You’d think these people were cheering for the Pats, they’re so goddamn entitled.

That is the real core of Broncos culture. It’s a typically 21st century American portrait of a company and fanbase borne out of the Stone Ages, constantly dumping new layers of paint over their fusty arrogance to make it look new and interesting. Did you WATCH the Ravens last season with Flacco at the helm before he lost his job, to a dude who can’t even throw no less? Did you? They were slow. Just like you now! You people are higher on your own farts than you are on any soul diesel preroll they sell at the area dispensary. No place is better than Denver at getting you high and then KILLING that high as quickly as it comes on. Fuck Elway with his own teeth.


That the state is run by a cheerful craft brewery owner who loves charter schools fits entirely too well. [Update: That was the last guy. The new guy’s a gamer.] At least people can hydrofrack under your kid’s daycare center now.

What might not suck: With Demaryius Thomas gone, other Broncos might finally be able to get their hands on a free cruller at the training table.




After Jim Harbaugh left the 49ers, Vic Fangio interviewed to replace him. They went with Jim Tomsula instead.



I honestly don’t want to watch a single game this year.


Elway decided it was a good idea to replace the league’s 28th ranked passer with the league’s 25th ranked passer.



Von Miller is more threatening to sea life than to opposing quarterbacks.


The collective accomplishments of Bowlen’s heirs amount to one No-Contest DUI.


Blake Bortles turned down the Broncos.





Rahim Moore. Him flailing hopelessly is burned into my brain. It’ll be the last football thought I have before I die. It’s Moore’s fault Flacco is our QB now.



Someone has surely made this joke before but Vic Fangio is second to Dr. Acula in terms of terrible vampire aliases.



John Elway’s playing career cemented him as the best QB in Broncos history. His GM work will ensure he never has that title threatened.



This team is never winning again as long as Elway is in charge, which will be until he dies because no one in Denver has the testicular fortitude to tell him to leave.



In a division with Mahomes, Marmalard, and even Derek Carr, I can’t believe my team is making a concerted effort to convince me that Joe fucking Flacco is going to lead my Broncos to the promised land.



We would be off with fucking Jonny Hekker at QB than any sack of shit that Elway has drafted or traded for since Peyton left. Fuck John Elway with his son’s domestic violence summons.



I had started really getting excited for football until last night when my brother texted me, “Can’t believe I’m about to watch a season of Flacco football. I really cannot accept it.”



When Denver brought in Case Keenum I said to a friend that a ‘Case Keenum’ sounds like the kind of thing you have to use a special shampoo on your crotch to get rid of lice. I didn’t realize how right I was at the time.



The Broncos suck, and in the “Von Miller is really good, but our offense is banking on Joe Flacco carrying the offense in 2019" way that results in 14-3 losses against bad teams and 42-3 losses to good teams.



Everybody and their mother knew that Vance Joseph was not fit to coach this team after one season except for John Elway.



The Peyton Manning era truly was a blessing because it’s clear that John Elway can’t evaluate quarterbacks to save his ass. It was easy getting Peyton here: Colorado is a nice place to live. My cat could have made that fucking pitch to Mr. Forehead.

I’m studying for the bar right now. I’d rather keep studying for the next four years than watch Joe Flacco lead the offense to a record number of three-and-outs and then see Drew Lock come in and make Paxton Lynch look like Baker Mayfield.



After Flacco throws his 25th interception in week 6, CBS is going to have a “WELL HEY REMEMBER THE GOOD TIMES?” montage of his career, it’s going to show him lofting the ball over a visibly drunk Rahim Moore during that one godawful playoff game a few years back, and I’ll need to text my therapist again.

Last year, I went to 2 Broncos games in the Bay Area. The Broncos lost both.


Bonus Denver sports story – one year our family went to a Father’s Day baseball game, the Rockies were up by 3 late in the game but the opposing team had the bases loaded. My dad yelled, “watch these idiots hit a grand slam” and of course that is exactly what happened. We left early after getting booed out of our section.



Well, the man with the big fur coat is dead.

I still hate Rahim Moore for jumping that route. I want “Fuck Rahim Moore” etched on my gravestone, so my grandchildren know I care so little for them.



John Elway is still looms over the Denver area like the brown cloud that used to dominate the skyline. The worst part is despite being richer and more loved than God in Colorado, Elway has pimp a local mortgage company because he cannot stand the thought of not being on TV in the off season. John Elway just might be the only person whose head size actually matches his ego.



In 1997 I was living in Saratoga Springs, NY in a 200 sq ft studio, broke, depressed and alcoholic. However I had the Broncos and they were finally not going to shit the bed. The four people in my life who I hadn’t driven away by that point came over to the my pathetic apartment and we proceeded to watch Bill Romanowski try and spear Mark Brunell 109x and either miss and allow Mark to scramble for a first, throw for a first or draw a penalty for a first down.

I was drinking tequila straight from the bottle by the fourth quarter. The game ended, I collapsed and started crying. My friends did a reverse Kool-Aid man in leaving so fast and then I spent the rest of the night throwing stuff against the wall and playing Twisted Metal 2 on the PlayStation while polishing off the bottle.

Honestly one of the lowest points of my entire life. That game hurts more than the SBs win felt good.



The whole “John Elway only likes tall, strong armed QBs” thing became self parody when we traded for Joe Flacco. But it legit stops being so funny when you look at the depth chart… the shortest guy there is 6' 2" and he’ll probably be the one who’s gonna be cut.

Elway has shown zero ability to get a decent QB and I’m still 100% drinking the Kool Aid. Chugging it, in fact. Flacco will thrive in the thin air, Lock will get to learn behind him before taking over. 11-5, easy. THIS IS KNOWN.



Denver sports radio is a 365-day circle jerk of all things Broncos. Nuggets with 2-seed? Who cares, let’s spend the next three hours dissecting how Joe Flacco is somehow an improvement over the blobs Dear Leader Elway has chosen since Manning. Watching a once proud franchise get lapped by a Muppet and the Kool Aid Guy in KC while the owner dies has to be a modern era low point. You wouldn’t know that listening to the Fan in Denver though. They willingly ignore every other professional team in the market to talk about this garbage. It’s pathetic. Every pro team sans the Broncos made the playoffs in the last 12 months.



The fans here still want Tebow back, and claim his 8-8 season and a 15-yard crossing pattern that Demaryius Thomas took to the house was “the most excited I’ve ever been as a Broncos fan,” which is fundamentally wrong.

I was deeply upset when Osweiler spurned the Broncos and headed to Houston. I believe I used the phrase “huge mistake, Elway” on social media after the fact.

Pat Bowlen died this year, and while he did a lot for the city of Denver with regard to building its reputation as a legitimate city and perennial powerhouse in football, you’d think we were burying the father of the city or a fucking president with how the media covered his death and funeral. Sappy, forlorn anchors talking in muted tones about how much this billionaire meant to the city he bought into and threatened to move the team from, fans laying flowers and cards and notes at the foot of his STATUE outside the STADIUM that was PAID FOR BY TAXPAYERS (!!!!), talking to the media about how much he’ll be missed... it was performative sadness and grief at its absolute nadir, and just completely gross.



Fuck Josh McDaniels.


Also fuck Tim Tebow.

Submissions for the NFL previews are closed. Next up: Cincinnati Bengals.

Share This Story

About the author

Drew Magary

Drew Magary is a Deadspin columnist and columnist for GEN magazine. You can buy Drew's second novel, The Hike, through here.