By now, we have all heard about the Denver Broncos' new motto, "Uncommon", which the players have allegedly chosen to take the place of "Let's Ride" for the upcoming campaign. Following the countless cringe-worthy videos of Russell Wilson uttering the phrase at the wrong times last season, one would think that it would be very easy to find a credo that would be embraced by the Denver faithful. In fact, it would be fairly difficult to come up with anything worse in the eyes of some fans. Judging by the responses I have seen on social media, "Uncommon" has been deemed considerably less than favorable in the eyes of most.
The main reason that "Broncos Country... Let's Ride" delved into the realm of widespread eye-rolling and face-palming last year had little to do with the actual phrase itself and almost everything to do with the fact that the product on the field was virtually unwatchable for a majority of the season. There isn't a collection of words that could have made its way through the lips of Wilson that weren't going to have the same effect. By the time Russ dropped the words once again after a dreadful Thursday night performance against the Colts, the phrase had taken ownership of a new level of hatred.
Would "Uncommon" have been the first choice of anyone you or I know? Of course, it wouldn't. It lacks creativity. It lacks any kind of pop. It is far too easily attacked by the trolls. When a team drops a new word or phrase to live by, and the overwhelming reaction to it is "What is that supposed to mean?", you haven't exactly knocked it out of the park.
Ben Powers recently offered an explanation of the meaning.
"It means winning football in the National Football League is 'uncommon'. It's hard to do. It's why there's not a lot of winners. There's only one Super Bowl champ."- Ben Powers (via Broncos PR)
While the explanation is understood, it doesn't necessarily send an overwhelmingly positive message to a fan base that has been emotionally drained by disappointment in recent years. When the people who root for this team think of the word uncommon, they think of the six straight losing seasons and the seven straight years without a playoff appearance, among other things. They think this because this recent culture of losing is uncommon for this franchise.
However easy it is to irritate Broncos' fans these days, let's not get too worked up about this one. It is merely a word. If you remember, not many people had a problem with "Let's Ride" when it was trotted out last offseason. It wasn't until a few games into the season when people grew weary of the countless three-and-outs, costly penalties, predictable play calling, and gross time mismanagement, that the low murmur of disdain had devolved into a resounding cry of unrest.
While it remains to be seen what is going to unfold on the field this year, I think we can all agree that this team has a much different feel under new coach Sean Payton and the staff he has assembled. Thus, does an adopted phrase or a word that the players decide to wear on a shirt really have any bearing on the way in which they tackle their preparation for the upcoming season? It doesn't, and it shouldn't affect the fans' perspective either. Let's focus on the progression and hope that we can quickly get back to a place where losing seasons were truly "Uncommon."