The 2011 season was hardly as conventional as the Broncos’ 8-8 record might indicate. It was a season of ups and downs. It was a season during which the unexpected became the routine. And it was a season that leaves fans eager for 2012.
Through all of the drama, the Broncos definitely took steps forward in their efforts to build a championship contender. No doubt, it is a process. The Broncos are one step farther along in that process.
Several things stand out from the Broncos’ 2011 season.
1) THE BRONCOS HAVE THE RIGHT LEADERSHIP IN PLACE. Vice President of Football Operations John Elway made a smooth a transition to the front office. He was in charge of the process that brought a quality head coach to Denver. He was in charge of the draft, which turned out pretty good. He stepped to the fore and was present when the quarterback situation got, well, interesting. And he’ll only get better in his position.
In addition, head coach John Fox did a masterful job at establishing a new culture and maximizing the production from his new team. I said it during the season and nothing has changed my opinion: John Fox was absolutely the right coach at the right time for the Broncos. He did a terrific job. While the Broncos will have another defensive coordinator next season, Coach Fox’s presence and his previous working relationship with new coordinator Jack Del Rio should mitigate the loss of Dennis Allen.
2) THE BRONCOS GOT BETTER. Yes, they were up and down. I, however, focus on the big picture. They made the playoffs. They won a playoff game. I didn’t think they would do either one this year.
Despite many changes to the roster, a major shakeup at the quarterback position and their fair share of injuries, the Broncos battled. In many ways, they overachieved. That is to their credit. That speaks to their toughness and their resiliency.
Many people will point to the job Tim Tebow did and believe that is the reason the Broncos improved. Tebow was a big part of it, to be sure. But the defense got better as the season went along. Young players contributed. The success the Broncos had was a due to a team effort.
3) THE BRONCOS GOT THE BANDWAGON ROLLING AGAIN. There is no denying that fans are rejuvenated and re-energized. They should be. They were able to follow a team that not only turned around a season going south, but did so in dramatic fashion. They did so by relying on an unconventional offense and a defense that found a way to make plays in big situations.
All of that is worth getting excited about, not to mention as thrilling of a playoff win as one could imagine. The Broncos got the fans excited again. They got them dreaming of what could be.
The Broncos gave people a taste of success they haven’t had for some time. The fans want more.
The good thing is, so do the Broncos.
2012 can’t get here soon enough.
What stands out for you from the 2011 season? Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.
Tags: Mike Rice