Quick blog note. I have had to slow down my posting due to time issues. Mainly, I've had precious little time to write. I post everything in my spare time that doesn't take away from time with my family. It's like a subset of a subset of spare time if you will. So I don't have any real spare time of late and work has made me more busy to where I don't have time to look for terribly written articles at work. So bitching about bad sportswriting is the first thing to go. As terribly written as many of these posts may be grammatically and sentence structure-wise, they do take a little bit of time. It takes effort to write run-on sentences. Sometimes, like writing TMQ and MMQB, they take a lot more than a little bit of time. Finding the right articles takes some time as well and it's just not time I've had recently. So I'm looking to pump it back up to four posts per week and keep coming back to the site.
Denver Broncos beat writers tend to think of some odd ideas this time of year that they believe are necessary to win the Super Bowl. A few years ago, Mike Klis found the key to the Broncos winning the Super Bowl was to lose as many regular season games as possible. This year, Mike Kiszla, with a little help from Broncos legend Rod Smith, says the Broncos can win the Super Bowl by having a little bit more love in the locker room. Ubuntu, if you will, but not calling it that. The Broncos have all the talent in the world, but they need to be close in order to win the Super Bowl. Everyone probably doesn't remember how the 2014 Patriots were seen as an extremely close team and that's how they won the Super Bowl. You don't remember, because I'm not sure this is a real thing that happened. The Seahawks weren't a divided team, but there were differing opinions on the release of Percy Harvin among the players on the Seahawks roster, yet they found a way to be close enough to almost win the Super Bowl. Perhaps it wasn't the fact the Seahawks threw the ball near the goal line that lost them the Super Bowl, but was instead that the team spent too much time playing on their phones during the bus ride to the stadium. That lack of closeness could have lost them the Super Bowl.
It's a cool $70
million contract. But what Demaryius Thomas wants, money cannot buy. He
envies the Super Bowl rings of Broncos legend Rod Smith.
No, literally...money CAN buy a Super Bowl ring.
"He wants a Super Bowl ring. ... And I kind of rub it on his chest," Smith said Tuesday.
You rub it on his chest? Why the fuck would your rub it in his chest? Don't normal braggarts rub things in the face of others?
If the Broncos want
to get back to the Super Bowl and win it this time, Smith offered novel
advice for an NFL franchise he loves like family.
Play in 3-4 playoff games, all while scoring more points than the opposing team in every playoff game? It's a winning strategy. Bank on it.
In the estimation of
Smith, the Broncos have all the talent needed to win a championship. But
the difference between hoisting the Lombardi Trophy and going home
disappointed from the playoffs can often be attributed to the lack of
brotherhood in the huddle.
No Ubuntu, no Super Bowl win for you. This is some high-level analysis here. Here I thought the Broncos could win the Super Bowl by having Peyton Manning not wear his arm out before the season is over or have Rahim Moore jump just a little bit later so he can bat a deep pass from Joe Flacco down.
Denver players need
to stop living inside the cellphone and spend more time finding out what
really makes the heart of a teammate tick.
But Mark, you HAVE to have a cellphone in order to answer this question.
How else does Kiszla expect these Broncos players to get to WebMD in order to find out what makes the heart of a teammate tick if they don't have their cell phones? Bring a laptop into the locker room?
"Put the (expletive)
phones down and have real conversations with people," declared the
45-year-old Smith, so fired up he preached for more than an hour with
passion hotter than the sun dancing in the gray flecks of his beard.
I bet Demaryius Thomas rubs it in Rod Smith's chest that Demaryius doesn't have gray flecks in his beard yet.
"Today, with social media, nobody knows who the hell they're working with.
I know who I am working with better than I ever could have because of social media. I'm friends with some co-workers on Facebook so I get to see pictures of their friends, family, loved ones, quotes they like, political views, the food they ate, and their opinion on a variety of topics. I would actually like to know the people I work with LESS than I currently do. I'm not sure Rod Smith has a firm grasp on how social media works.
You all work
together, but you have no idea what makes him tick. This is the locker
room right now. This is why the locker room is so divided. Everybody
worried about 'likes' versus worried about what (a teammate) is going
through at home.
Yes, because Von Miller is going to open up to Demaryius Thomas about his struggles at home. Perhaps they can talk about male impotence and figure out how to fight this battle together, as opposed to facing this issue alone.
But seriously, again, people put on Facebook the things they are going through all the time. I don't know if professional athletes do this, but I doubt they would open up in the middle of the locker room either.
I need to know that, because I've got to go to battle with this dude. But they're all disconnected."
They are connected through social media.
From linebacker Von
Miller to receiver Emmanuel Sanders, the Broncos sent 10 players to the
Pro Bowl after the 2014 season. They were also eliminated after one sad
game in the playoffs. From the beginning, however, the Broncos were
better at fantasy football than on the field, when the going got tough.
And of course, the reason behind the Broncos not being good when the going got tough is that they weren't close enough to each other. Were previous Super Bowl champions really close teams or something? Is there some sort of proven correlation that teams that like each other win more Super Bowls that I don't know about? Like the Patriots were super-close all year and that's how Malcolm Butler managed to intercept a pass on the goal line?
"The answer is not putting more pieces in. It's taking the pieces you have and putting them closer together."
Yes, but what if the pieces you have don't fit closer together? What if the pieces fit how they fit and success isn't determined by how these pieces fit anyway?
It's a simply
powerful idea: What the Broncos need is not more talent in the locker
room. It's more genuine love for one another.
It's a powerful idea and it's a very anecdotal idea that lacks the anecdotal evidence for me to even believe it. In fact, the very idea a team won a title because they were close is too anecdotal for me to ever believe. It seems too much like "Here is a result and let's fit in a narrative that explains this result."
while lamenting these
kids in the league today don't know the meaning of true commitment,
there's an expectation the final exclamation in his rant will be: Get
off my lawn!
Despite the growling,
what makes Smith a cuddly bear is knowing he was the same curmudgeon
while earning his first trip to the Pro Bowl at age 29 that he is now in
This isn't a "Get off my lawn!" rant because Rod Smith has always wanted people to get off his lawn.
To this day, there's
not a soul in Broncos Country who wants to see Denver back on top more
than Smith. To help the cause, Smith has served as a mentor to Thomas,
first in the refinement of receiving skills and later in the development
of the quiet, unassuming D.T. as a leader.
Maybe Rod Smith and Mark Kiszla can help create a fictional "Broncos Way" and then state that is why the team will win the Super Bowl. Then any variation away from this "Broncos Way" will result in a few columns churned out about how the Broncos have lost the "Broncos Way" because failure occurred.
"As long as Peyton Manning's here, it's always going to be Peyton Manning's team," Smith said.
"Thanks," says Gary Kubiak.
But here's my theory: Since the Broncos signed Peyton Manning in
2012, the team has leaned so heavily on his Hall of Fame ability that
when former coach John Fox told me for the umpteenth time that Manning
raises all boats, I began to wonder who was in charge of this clambake.
So Mark Kiszla's theory is that the Broncos leaned on Manning so much that Kiszla wondered who was really in charge. His theory is that he has no theory but a question that he's wondering about. My theory about this column is whether it is really such a slow news day that writing about how the Broncos need to love each other more seemed like a good idea.
they raised him to
such mythical status as a leader that Manning has lost touch with the
common grunt in the Broncos locker room.
PEYTON MANNING IS THE HILLARY CLINTON OF THE NFL!
I've listened as too many teammates speak about Manning with hushed reverence, as if Manning were Santa Claus,
Yes, the same hushed reverence that Santa Claus receives in most NFL locker rooms.
What an odd statement. Santa Claus?
"I've listened as too many teammates speak about Demaryius Thomas with pure amusement and joy, as if Thomas were Dora the Explorer..."
omnipresent and the final arbiter of who's naughty or nice.
This is stupid to call Santa Claus the final arbiter of who's naughty or nice. Everyone knows that person is Roger Goodell.
When all the best
plans go to pieces as the snap sails over the QB's head at the Super
Bowl, however, there needs to be a strong voice that can rally
Hey, how about the quarterback? I mean, the offense goes back to the bench and Manning can be a strong voice to rally his teammates.
while Manning sits on the bench and studies the All-22 photographs to analyze how it went wrong.
Ah, I get it. In order to become a close team, the Broncos offense should exclude Peyton Manning from any leadership opportunities and sneak off to meet while he's reviewing film from the previous drive. This, undoubtedly, will bring the team closer together. It moves the pieces closer together, almost like Manning and the rest of the Broncos offensive players are the Santa and Mrs. Claus of the NFL.
When Thomas insists
his lucrative contract only makes him hungrier, it's music to the ears
of Smith. His hunger is for championships. To get that ring, Thomas
must instill the hunger in teammates.
This hunger must be instilled. And obviously "this hunger" is directly related to "being super-close with your teammates." It's pretty much the same thing, you know, since this entire column is about how the Broncos should be closer to each other and now Mark Kiszla is randomly discussing how the Broncos need to be hungrier.
"It pays off,
honestly, when you're down in the fourth quarter and you've got a minute
and a half left to win the game," Smith said.
Like when things got tough in the Super Bowl and the Broncos needed a first down, so John Elway ran for the first down to keep the drive alive? So when the leadership came from someone who happened to be the quarterback?
That's more than leadership. That's a band of football brothers, sharing the love.
Put down the phone, get to know your teammate, then win the Super Bowl. What happens if all 32 NFL teams do this? Will they all win the Super Bowl?
The best part of this column is one of the comments from a "macomment" who says in a very articulate way:
I think Rod has a good point. Drop that twitter, facebook, instagram,
snapchat, tumblr crap for the season and focus on football. PLEASE! I
dumped facebook a couple years ago and never looked back.
And "maccomment" won the Super Bowl THE VERY NEXT SEASON. Coincidence? Probably not. He dumped Facebook and his life became much more fulfilling and obviously this anonymous Internet commenter's professional life is analogous to the professional life of an NFL player.
It's great not
seeing ugly baby photos and closeups of your neighbor's dinner while
being bombarded with focused advertisements.
You mean seeing things that help you to know more about your neighbor and friends? Those things that Mike Kiszla says the Broncos need to do more of by getting away from social media?
That being said, Fox
showered the Broncos with love.
Yes, ugly babies aside, AND WITH THAT BEING SAID...
These guys don't need that kind of love
Not the John Fox kind of love. More of a tough love. Perhaps love bordering on the edge of child abuse. Instead of taking pictures of an ugly baby, go out and beat the shit out of an ugly baby until it chokes on it's pathetic baby tears and can't breathe through it's stupid baby mouth. THAT is the kind of love the Broncos need.
they need the type of love that Adrian Peterson delivers to his 4 yr
old son so that none of us ever has to endure a half-baked effort like
that playoff game against the Colts.
I agree. In order for the Broncos to play better as a team, they should all be beaten with a switch. I mean, obviously this is something that should occur. Nothing will bring the Broncos together closer than to know they each have the same scars from where Gary Kubiak bent them over his knee and beat them until they bled with a switch.