Unfortunately every lucky streak — and that’s what it was, don’t kid yourself — must come to an end at some point. After the Patriots game I still thought that the Broncos would win out, make the playoffs, and c0uld even win a playoff game at home.
I see nothing. And if I’m being honest, I have no desire to see this version of this team playing an obviously superior Pittsburgh or New England in the “real season” of the playoffs.
They’re not good enough. And going to the playoffs at this point is pointless.
Getting shelled by a squad that is so obviously better than this team does not have a purpose. Sure, it would be great for the fanbase, and yes, I’m sure Tim Tebow would benefit from “live bullets” in the playoffs. But this is not a playoff team, and if the game in Buffalo on Christmas Eve told us anything, it’s that they’re not even really very close.
Consider: The Buffalo Bills had lost seven straight contests, against both good and bad competition, a freefall that dropped them from playoff consideration in a division that is much tougher than Denver’s AFC West. They beat our asses up and down the field, and ended up getting a lopsided 40-14 victory.
Not only that, but it seems Tebow was more concerned with the birth of his Lord and Savior the next day than he was about Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Buffalo Bills.
So now, with a heart full of Christ and an eye, amazingly, still on a playoff berth, the Broncos return home to face division rival Kansas City and — oh my — former Bronco starting quarterback Kyle Orton, who knows the offense, Tim’s strengths and weaknesses, where to attack the Denver D, and is starting for the Chiefs.
As I said a few weeks ago, Orton getting into a situation where he’s appreciated by the coaching staff, fans and teammates for his ability is exactly what he needed. It’s also what he could have had in Denver.
He didn’t get it. And now he has a shot at taking a wrecking ball to Denver’s hopes.
And honestly? I hope he does.
Call me a bad fan, I dare you. My want for the Broncos to lose this weekend is borne not of hatred for the team, but out of love for a better draft pick which, in time, could result in a better team long-term than the version we’re currently watching.
The difference between making the playoffs and not making the playoffs is about 5 draft spots. If we trade our first rounder, we get more by not making the playoffs. If we stay in our slot and draft, we have a shot at a better player if we don’t make the playoffs. In either scenario, we ostensibly improve the team more by losing.
When Mike Shanahan was the coach in Denver, we were consistently in the hunt until late in the season, then went to the playoffs and got absolutely shelled. We gained nothing from that, except mediocre draft positioning and mediocre results. When you’ve got a lot of holes, you need as much fodder as possible to play with in the draft.
This is a team with a lot of holes. Willis McGahee is 1,000 years old, and can’t stay healthy now that we’re at the end of the season. Brian Dawkins is likely done, and neither of the two safeties drafted in 2011 has made a legitimate claim to the heirship. We need a middle linebacker badly, even a poor man’s Patrick Willis would do. We need depth on the O-Line, and I haven’t even gotten into the need for a legitimate, starting-caliber Defensive Tackle (or two).
Lose, and we can add more pieces, and maybe this team becomes a true contender next year. Yes, breathless Tebowmaniacs, even with Tim playing quarterback.
Win, and we set back our team’s development by at least one year, possibly more.
And if Tim plays next year like he played in Buffalo?
If I’m being honest, on the first day of the off season (which will likely begin on Monday), I call the Jacksonville Jaguars (a team that has such a hard on for Tim that its fans were buying teal “Tebow” jerseys before Tim was even drafted) and ask them what they’d give up to lead the league in jersey sales next year.
Because that is what Tim Tebow brings to the table.
Jersey sales and mediocrity.