As I reflect on the 2009 Denver Broncos, I find myself both a little empty and strangely satisfied at the same time. I’m not sure exactly how it got to that point. But it is what it is.
If someone had told me four months ago that the Broncos would be 8-7 with a chance to make the playoffs heading into the final regular season game, I would have gladly taken that. While I certainly wasn’t in the group of people that thought the Broncos would win four or five games, I figured they would be in the seven to nine win range and wasn’t sure they would be a playoff team.
But after a 6-0 start, a return to the playoffs seemed to be merely weeks away. The great beginning raised expectations and made eight or nine wins seem but a formality. An AFC West title, a first-round bye, a magical run and palm trees in Miami began to creep their way from imagination to possibilities.
Now, however, a 2-7 stretch has long since tarnished the luster of the Broncos’ terrific start and the cold reality of this NFL December is that the Broncos could very well be playing their last game of the season Sunday against the Chiefs.
Even if the Broncos beat the Chiefs and get into the playoffs, I find myself wondering how a team that started 6-0 can find itself scrapping for a postseason berth.
The biggest question to me is simply, “What happened?”
Was it the timing of the bye week? Did other teams catch on to what the Broncos were doing? Did they overachieve in the first six games? Why haven’t they been able to recapture their success early in the season? Why couldn’t they have defeated the Redskins or the Raiders and avoided being in this position?
The questions are too numerous too list. And the fact is, I don’t have any answers. I don’t know if anyone, including Head Coach Josh McDaniels, has the answers to the many questions pertaining to the 2009 Broncos season.
The Broncos are 8-7. They are teetering between the playoffs and the off-season.
It is what it is.
And you know, I’m fine with that. I don’t mind not knowing why the season unfolded the way it did. Sure, I wish the Broncos had won more games and I wish I could figure why they didn’t.
But regardless of what happens this weekend, I’ll take the big picture and be satisfied that the Broncos took steps forward in 2009. Once their season has come to a close, whenever that is, I’ll offer additional thoughts on that topic.
A colleague at work sent me a chart this week that listed the 64 possible won-loss combinations for the games involving the teams in the AFC playoff chase (the Broncos, Jets, Ravens, Steelers, Texans, and Jaguars). Depending on those teams winning or losing, there are 26 combinations that would get the Broncos into the playoffs. Denver doesn’t even have to win to get in, provided the certain teams also lose.
By the way, every scenario that involves the Broncos advancing to the postseason includes the Jets or the Ravens losing.
I have no idea which of the 64 combinations will be the one that comes about. It will be fun to watch it unfold.
Then we’ll know whether the Broncos made it in or whether they’re waiting until next year. Even though I would like to see the Broncos advance, I won’t get worked up if they don’t make it.
It is what it is.
Time for you to weigh in if you’d like to. Do you think the Broncos will beat the Chiefs and do you think the Broncos will make the playoffs?
Thanks for reading and posting.
Best wishes to all of you for a blessed New Year’s Day and a wonderful 2010.