Brandon Marshall Traded to Dolphins as Alienated Broncos Fans Sigh

Chaz MattsonAnalyst IApril 14, 2010

DENVER - OCTOBER 04:  Brandon Marshall #15 of the Denver Broncos celebrates after the final play against the Dallas Cowboys during NFL action at Invesco Field at Mile High on October 4, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. Marshall caught a game winning 51 yard reception late in the fourth quarter as the Broncos defeated the Cowboys 17-10.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

“…and there are some things happening in sports that will make your brain fall out of your skull.”  -  Ron Burgundy, The Anchorman

Brandon Marshall has found his way out of Denver and back to the South Florida fun in the sun. He leaves as a young star in full bloom off of his fourth NFL season which placed him in the top three of all NFL receivers.

Waiting on the other end of this break from Denver is a new deal with his new team in the Miami Dolphins. The Fish are apparently eager and ready to offer him all the money he was never going to get in Denver.  Some figures being laundered in the media airwaves put the figure in the tens of millions of dollars. 

Realistically it could reach $30 million plus in guaranteed money, the overall deal is over $40 million.

So that leads us all to this next point and somehow the footballs fans at large and in particularly of the Denver Broncos are supposed to make sense of this move.

Perhaps it was essential to eliminate B-Marsh from the Broncos for a number of reasons, all of which have been well documented. B-Marsh has had a slew of domestic issues, turmoil in the club house under two head coaches, and he was unfortunately involved in events that lead to the untimely death of his Broncos teammate Darrent Williams on January 1, 2007.

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Since D-Will died as a victim to gang violence, the Denver Broncos have struggled as a franchise in finding their identity as a team.  Additionally the predominantly orange and blue have shown a lack of purpose in the most competitive professional sports league on earth.

This is a situation that was never handled lightly by the Broncos franchise and they should be commended for that.  It has been a troubled time in Denver as prosecutors sought justice in the Darrent Williams case.  As recently as the last week in February Brandon Marshall was put on the stand in the trial of Willie Clark who was eventually found guilty in the death of Darrent Williams.  It was a dark cloud for the city, the Broncos franchise, and the players, especially if you are a player close to the situation.

With that, there has been unrest inside the Broncos franchise ever since the passing of D-Will and the heinous way in which he died.  It’s probably the fallout from that season that really did not sit well with Pat Bowlen.  His team was only one season removed from the AFC Championship Game that should have landed the Broncos back in the Super Bowl. It was Jay Cutler’s first season and there was much hope and anticipation behind his move to the starting role ahead of Jake Plummer.  Ironically the Broncos could not even back into the playoffs on their last game against the 49ers, the last few hours of D-Wills life.  Some have speculated that had Coach Shanahan stayed the course with Jake Plummer that team would have made the playoffs, but there can’t be any denial about Jake’s implosion that season.

It’s an unfortunate chain of unfortunate events.

It’s something that led to the mental implosion of the starting quarterback, not to mention a professional football franchise as well.

Here it is 2010 a full three plus seasons removed and the franchise has further eliminated Mike Shanahan, Jay Cutler, and now Brandon Marshall among countless others.  Still there is no clear cut vision in place for where this football franchise is, what it is, where it is going, or what the expectations of this team should be.

So what are the fans to expect moving forward?

Well the Broncos franchise won’t come out publicly and tell the fan base, so it’s time to draw the line, with an accompanying timeline.

The 1997 NFL season saw the momentum of the Broncos Super Bowl push end in a World Championship.  However that was also the same season Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen chose to get new uniforms and down play ‘Denver’ and the ‘D’ on the teams merchandise.

It was a power-play to get a new stadium and make the team seem more viable to other markets.

The reality is however, Denver has been one of the strongest professional football markets since the 1977 Orange Crush squad landed in Super Bowl XII.  Mr. Bowlen would have been a fool to move the Broncos even without a new stadium in Denver.

In spite of Mr. Bowlen’s hiring of focus groups and the like to push the product forward on and off the field, he never entirely won the full respect of the fan base because of those marketing decisions.  Those sorts of business moves lacked tact, target market knowledge, and even the element of class, something the franchise supposedly focused heavily on in the Mike Shanahan era.

So the fans and franchise rode a wave of new hardware, acceptance of new things, and the eventual approval for a new stadium by the fans.  Those same fans that helped to build the community were now ousted by the Broncos franchise despite their efforts to secure the team a new home in Denver.  In other words there was some kicking of the fan base to the curb despite the fans coming through in the pinch for the team.

Pat Bowlen remains ashamed to say his team is the ‘Denver’ Broncos.

It’s time for the fans to demand greater out of their owner.

If this were a new high school program, they would have to start with bland jerseys and start without the letters or logos on their helmets.  The Broncos are in that same state right now.

Whatever happens from here on out, the franchise needs to earn their place within the city.  It serves as a great reminder that these are very challenging economical times nationally and locally.  The Broncos fans are even selling their seats to rival fans at an alarming rate that is probably at an all-time high.

The harsh fact is the Denver Broncos haven’t earned anything since the fan base granted them a free stadium.

It’s time for the Broncos franchise and top brass a.k.a. Mr. Pat Bowlen to stand up in front of the Denver media and start answering directly where this franchise is at.

Where are the Broncos at now that they have relinquished Mike Shanahan, Jay Cutler, and Brandon Marshall?

Where are the Broncos at fiscally?

Where are the Broncos going with the new approach?

How aware is the franchise of itself and what a laughing stock it has become around the league since Josh McDaniels has been the head coach?

Brandon Marshall was responsible for a large percentage of total offensive yards for the Broncos last season, the reality is on tape, and at times he was all they had.

Now the last great hope on the offensive side of the ball is officially gone.

The Broncos now have no more prima-donna players on this team, with that this professional football franchise has officially run out of answers.

It’s time for the owner, the coach, and new regime to be held 100 percent accountable for the new direction.

The results have fallen not just short but off the charts.

Pat Bowlen should address the media himself and serve the fan base with his real influence and take on a number of these moves.

He needs to enlighten the fan base behind the decision making of late, as it appears to be an entire lost generation of football talent.  It’s now a former generation thrown under the bus and all for not.

He should meet with the local media and address the hard issues straight on.

There has been an isolation of the Broncos franchise from the community over the years and it has always been given a pass.  This is the year when a new relationship should be forged between the team and the local community.

If the owner himself can’t bring himself that far, he should look himself in the mirror and ask if he can spare another lost generation of Denver Broncos fans?

That’s the only way any of these B-Marsh moves will ever level with the fans.


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