Kickoff between New England and Denver is approximately 60 minutes away, and I am reflecting on this time last season compared to where the Broncos are now. The differences are night and day!
In 2010 through fourteen weeks, the Broncos found themselves with a record of 3-10 and the organization, to be blunt, was basically in turmoil. Josh McDaniels was terminated on December 6, following a 10-6 loss at Kansas City. Running backs’ coach, Eric Studesville, was named interim head coach and, possibly with direction from upper management, chose to start Tim Tebow the last three games of the season. The Broncos won only one of the remaining three games in 2010 and finished the season with a record of 4-12; last in the AFC West. As the 2010 season came to an end, the powerhouse teams of the NFL fought for the right to represent their conference in the Super Bowl, while the Broncos, as well as their fans, wondered what the future held and knew there was only one direction to go since the Bronco organization had taken a nose dive into the cellar of not only the AFC West, but the entire league.
Fast forward to 2011, and the thoughts of frustration, anger, and despair have been replaced with hope, excitement, faith, and team pride. John Fox and John Elway, with their leadership and decisions, have rekindled Broncomania. With the 2011 season on the edge of another collapse due to a 1-4 start, the decision was made to replace Kyle Orton with Tim Tebow. Since then, the Broncos have gone 7-1 and sit atop the AFC West with an 8-5 record. If you turn on the television or go to any website that covers professional football, chances are you will see something about Tim Tebow. I love the fact that Tim Tebow is bringing so much publicity to the Broncos, but I also know that the victories of the last two months are due to a great team effort. The offense, defense, and special teams have all contributed to get the Broncos where they are. It is reassuring to hear the team talk after a game because the unity of this team is definitely evident. For us Broncos fans, despite the heart-stopping games, it seems we’ve been entertained more the last eight weeks than we have experienced the last eight years. As Christmas approaches, the Broncos are thinking division championships and playoffs, rather than offseason vacation and tee times.
Regardless of the outcome of today’s game, and the season for that matter, I sit here astonished at the difference a year makes.
The Broncos aren’t where they want to be quite yet, but thank goodness they are not where they were a year ago.
Go Broncos – good luck in achieving win number nine!