Just landed in San Francisco for Sunday’s Broncos-Raiders game. Gorgeous, sunny day in the Bay Area.
And I’m trying to figure out two things.
First, the Broncos this season have played two games in Texas and three in California, including the preseason. The Texas stadiums are sights to see, big-boy football palaces. The California stadiums are landfills with turf.
Why is that?
Second, are Broncos fans enjoying what they’re watching? Case in point: a pleasant gentleman on the flight this morning wanted to talk football. He’s a lifelong Coloradan, an Arvada guy. He said the Chargers game in Denver was a disappointment. I said the Broncos were bad that Thursday night, then asked about the 13 wins. He pointed to the Indianapolis game. I asked about Peyton Manning’s 51 touchdowns. He said the quarterback can’t win in New England.
After two coffees at 6 a.m., I egged him on, of course. But is this where we are? Are we in a place where 13-3, the most prolific offense in NFL history and probably the No. 1 seed in the AFC aren’t good enough?
It’s not always like this. I remember 1999, 2007 and 2010. Do you?
It’s not just the guy in Row 14 on United Airlines flight 1721. The phone lines and comments section light up when the Broncos lose. And that doesn’t happen very often. Since the Monday night comeback in San Diego on Oct. 15, 2012, the Broncos are 24-4. Think about that.
This Broncos season was, and is, Super Bowl or Bust. We labeled it that way, everyone else labeled it that way, the Broncos labeled it that way. But is it still OK for fans to soak in the ride? Win-every-game-or-else seems like an awfully unsatisfying way to follow a football season.
I wrote back in training camp it’s dangerous to take Peyton Manning for granted. I had a hunch the quarterback would do things this season we’ve never seen before. He has.
Here’s another hunch: Colorado’s going to miss him when he’s gone.
It could be a worse, you know. You could be the Raiders, playing in one of California’s crumbling stadiums.