Let's get the basics in order. I'm a Denver Bronco fan. I have been since I was seven in 1962, and I will be the rest of my life.
I grew up living and dying with the team while they languished at the bottom of the Western Conference of the AFL, and later, in the doldrums of the Western Division of the AFC.
I don't go back to Tripucka, but I go back to Jackie Lee, Billy Joe, and Mac Speedie. I want them to win every time they take the field, knowing, of course, that such a goal is unreasonable.
I now live in San Diego, where I put up with much in the way of trash talk from Charger fans. Some of it is good natured give and take. Some of it is ugly and bitter. I try to stay away from the latter, and celebrate the former.
I watched as many Denver games as were broadcast here this season. Like every other orange and blue fan, I was appalled at the collapse to finish the season. I did, however, see it coming the minute Peyton Hillis tore his hamstring muscle. I told my fiance that that was the division, unless somehow Denver could pull it together against Buffalo and come away with a win.
We listened to the Buffalo game on Sirius radio (a great way to listen to Dave Logan broadcast the game). The very instant that Stokely was unable to haul in Cutler's pass at the end of the game, I told Schelly that the division was lost. I knew, of course, that San Diego had been coming on strong and salivating to prove the game up in Denver was both a fluke and stolen from them by the referee's call. The fact that I was proven correct gave me absolutely no joy.
What I want now is what I've wanted since the end of Super Bowl XXXIII: another defensive coordinator who can rally that defense and build it back into something which can be viewed as a force.
The revolving door of DC's in Denver has been troubling to me. I don't think there's been one there who I felt comfortable with since Greg Robinson left. Ray Rhodes and Larry Croyer were good coaches, but they just didn't bring the mail the way Robinson was able to. Whether his departure was a result of some friction between him and Mike Shanahan is unknown.
To that end, I'm wondering if Marvin Lewis isn't one of those incredible coaches who does a remarkable job as a coordinator, but is abysmal as a head coach. Think of Kevin Gillbride, Dan Henning, Cam Cameron, Wade Phillips, Dave Campo, Chan Gailey, and on and on.
Lewis put together an incredible defense in Baltimore, and there have been very few who looked at their Super Bowl season and thought that Billick was the real power behind that championship, instead of Lewis. If you think about those teams, you remember the defense, which was the wheelhouse of Marvin Lewis and not the offense, run by genius (?) Brian Billick. Quick, who was the starting quarterback on the Ravens that year?
If Lewis is let go as the coach of the Bengals, who have suffered through another dismal season of losses, injuries, and dissent in the clubhouse, I'd be thrilled to find out that Mr. Bowlen and Coach Shanahan have hired him as the new DC of our beloved Broncos.
I think the offense in Denver is growing into another power to be dealt with, and when there's a healthy group of running backs, it will be just that. I'm not sure if two egos the size of Coach Lewis and Coach Shanahan can co-exist, but I'd sure like to find out. I can't think it would be anything but great for Denver to have that happen.
I know, I know. It's a dream. So was a Bronco team winning a Super Bowl up until 1998.
Happy New Year everyone!