How are you all holding up this season? I know it’s been tough. We aren’t used to seeing our team wallow among the dregs of the NFL, or being eliminated from the playoffs less than halfway through December. That’s on top of the eight-game losing streak the Broncos endured, the one time they were shutout by the Chargers and the fact that they are still winless on the road so far this year. Misery, misery, misery, everywhere we look this season.
Everyone has their own way of coping with this level of losing. Some take to Facebook to openly complain about how much they hate Vance Joseph and how John Elway is long overdue to be fired. Others simply tune the games out and find something better to do on Sunday afternoons, like go for a walk or tend to some household chores (or literally almost anything else). And there are evens “fans” who have stopped supporting the Broncos altogether and have jumped on another team’s bandwagon, such as the Eagles or Rams. To those people, I say good riddance. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out and don’t bother coming back when the Broncos turn things around.
But in case you didn’t notice, the Broncos actually won a game on Sunday, in dominant fashion I might add. This may have felt like sweet relief to you, if you’re tired of watching your team fall flat on their faces every week and want them to end the season on a high note. Or maybe you were completely frustrated because you have embraced the tank and the Broncos are so bad that they can’t even figure out how to get that right. Either line of thinking is alright by me, because it’s your team and your free to support them however you wish.
That being said, it got me thinking about how that was the kind of performance we’re used to seeing from the Broncos, and that one bad season doesn’t change the fact that we are lucky to be fans of a team that has enjoyed so much success over the years.
Dear John Elway,
As we march toward the end of what has been a most trying season, I hope you are in good health these days c, especially considering you are probably not in good spirits. I know it must be hard to watch your team lose week after week, often in embarrassing fashion. It sure has been for me and the rest of Broncos Country. And while I’m confident that you are already thinking of all the ways that you can clean up this mess in the offseason, I thought I’d take the time this morning to offer you some advice.
This is not so much about specific moves or changes. I already covered things that I’d like to see happen last week, and I’m not going to spend time regurgitating those here. No, this is more about an important component that lies at the heart of leading any successful team or organization, particularly one that experiences any sort of regression.
It’s been a long season for Broncos fans. Less than two years removed from watching our team win its third Super Bowl at Levi’s Stadium, it’s become a chore to even sit through an entire game. Vance Joseph was adamant in his belief before the season that these Broncos weren’t broken and just needed a reboot, not an entire rebuild. As loss after loss has piled up, it’s abundantly clear that he couldn’t have been more wrong in his assertion.
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Outside of a few early wins, the Broncos are in the midst of their longest stretch of futility since Josh McDaniels was fist-pumping and screaming at players on the sideline. They’ve already matched their worst losing streak in 50 years and are almost assured to finish the season near the bottom of the league. There is a silver lining that comes with that (you know, embrace the tank!), but while having a good draft pick will be nice, writing these recaps every week has become rather depressing. Watching the Broncos most recent display of vomit-inducing football is bad enough without having to relive it again.
Then this morning, Scotty Payne of Mile High Report posted an article about how the Broncos can reset their organization and get back to their winning ways, which inspired me to more or less do the same thing for my weekly recap. It sounded like a lot more fun than revisiting the rampant ugliness that is Broncos football.
I’ll offer some of my own thoughts on a few of Scotty’s ideas (hopefully he doesn’t unfollow me on Twitter) and present some that I’ve seen from a couple other guys in the Denver media (or “local bloggers,” as Mike Klis would call them). They are good ideas and they need to be shared as much as possible.
It’s official. Pick up your Bud Light and cheers. The 2017 Broncos are getting an extended tour of the Pit of Misery. Dilly dilly!
Was it not that long ago when Peyton Manning told the world that, “I’m going to drink a lot of Bud Light tonight,” to celebrate his team’s victory in Super Bowl 50? Now we’re reduced to making jokes involving Bud’s most recent advertising campaign because it helps distract us from how miserable this season has been. What else can you do to mask the pain of your team losing to the lowly Bengals? I guess you could join me in embracing the tank, but if you’re not down for that then I don’t know what else to tell you.
This week’s poor excuse for a game was preceded by John Elway, the architect of this disaster, calling his team “soft” in public. Some players took that comment as constructive criticism while others took it personally, but regardless of whether or not such a comment was warranted, Elway isn’t wrong.
When you drop six games in a row, that’s the reputation that you earn as a team and everyone is to blame. The coaches, the players, John Elway, everyone.
It seems like every week, I come on here and highlight some significant issues that the Broncos need to correct if they want to avoid another loss. And yet every week, without fail, the Broncos go out and commit all the same blunders and miscues en route to another pathetic loss. I’ve got to hand it to them. They are consistent at making their fans miserable.
Last night was no different. The Patriots came in and devastated the Broncos like we all thought they would, and with any hope at the playoffs all but gone, now there are some very serious questions to be answered over the last seven games. Does this coaching staff even survive to see 2018? Should the team fight for what little dignity it can muster or should it fully embrace the tank and play for next year? And how many punts does Isaiah McKenzie have to muff before he gets benched? I guess time will tell.
In the meantime, while I hate watching my team lose as much as the rest of you, I’m fully in support of embracing the tank. Anyone with a pair of eyeballs can tell that the Broncos have several glaring issues on their roster and if they want this dumpster fire of a season to be a one-time occurrence, then they’re going to need some quality draft capital. If that’s too hard for you to stomach, then my advice would be to spend a little more time at the Pepsi Center and Magness Arena until April.
That’s where the competitive teams in Denver are playing.
Last week, I spoke at length about the Sunk Cost Fallacy, and that moving on from Trevor Siemian at quarterback was in the best interest of the team. No matter how long the Broncos believed he was the answer at that position, it was better to wash their hands of the problem now rather than continuing to try and salvage it.
After watching the Broncos get annihilated in Philly on Sunday, it’s become rather clear to me that these sunk costs exist all across the roster, and the Broncos’ brass are going to have to decide just how long they’re willing to put up with them before they blow the whole thing up and rebuild it from scratch. Brock Osweiler is not saving the season. Vance Joseph appears to be in way over his head. The defense, while still very good, is worn out from carrying this team for the last three seasons and has some of the same crucial weaknesses that have been around for what feels like forever.
John Elway’s motto was always that he didn’t only want to win now, but from now on. The Broncos aren’t winning much right now and things may very well get a lot worse before they start winning again in the future. Maybe the motto should be, “Everything is terrible, who wants a shot of Jack?”
You may not know this about Kevin, but he studied economics and is something of an expert on the subject. He recently introduced me to this concept called the Sunk Cost Fallacy, which is essentially a person’s refusal to abandon a resource because they don’t want to waste it, even though they are never going to get a full return on its value. I’m probably paraphrasing just a tad, but basically if I have tickets to a concert and can’t sell them or find someone else to go, I’ll still go to it myself to avoid having to eat the tickets.
And that’s where the Broncos currently find themselves with their quarterback situation, particularly as it relates to Trevor Siemian. Sure, it may not have cost them a whole lot to acquire the seventh rounder out of Northwestern, but they have certainly devoted a lot of time and energy into making him the starter for this team. He’s started 21 games for two different coaching staffs and seems to be regressing more with each one.
Moreover, the Broncos displayed a disconcerting amount of support for a player who didn’t deserve it based on his performance, and that’s where the Sunk Cost Fallacy kicks in. Saying things like “he’s our starter” or “he’s a young player and could get better” are highly irrelevant compared to what is actually happening, especially when everyone outside of Dove Valley could tell that Siemian is not the answer at quarterback.
And when you find yourself at a crossroad, the choice that you make could very well define the rest of your season. That choice for now is going with Brock Osweiler to try and salvage these last nine games. The Broncos may not fare any better with Brock at the helm, but they were going nowhere with Siemian. Kudos to the team for finally abandoning their sunk cost, even if it’s a bit overdue.