Welcome to the 36th edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where if you’re lucky you have the next five days off work. If not, hopefully you have the next four. If not, hopefully you have Thursday off. I’m feeling festive. Big post, so get to readin.
Before I proceed to the customary sportswriter Thanksgiving column, I have some thoughts on that football game that was played on Sunday night.
That was really something, huh?
In the lead-up to the game, I made a few jokes about how much hype and promotion there was surrounding this game. (“I know NBC and the NFL are struggling trying to promote this one, but the Broncos play the Patriots on Sunday Night.”) All that hype was met and exceeded. During that gut-wrenching final quarter and overtime, I couldn’t help but think how rare it is for a regular season game that is pumped up that much to actually meet the vast expectations cast upon it.
This one sure did.
The huge fan bases of the Broncos and Patriots were obviously going to be locked in, but as the Patriots began that epic comeback you could feel the whole nation turning their attention to this one.
And after all the clutch defensive plays, the ballsy quarterback play, the wind, the coaching decisions, the intense crowd and so many intriguing story lines, the deciding play was a punt bouncing into some reserve defensive back’s leg. For that particular game to end like that was a damn shame.
Either way it was fascinating theater and a whole lot of fun for football fans.
You know what happened. 24-0. Then 34-31.
So what does the meltdown/comeback say about the Broncos? I think it says a few things. They are pretty darn good and so are the Patriots. It’s really not very easy to beat the Broncos, but they are beatable.
I feel pretty comfortable saying the Denver Broncos are still the best team in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE! They have plenty of flaws and I no longer feel like they are head and shoulders above the rest of the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE! But I still think they’re better than every other team out there. Including the Patriots.
If those two teams played each other on a neutral field, some games in good weather, some in “The Elements” I think the Broncos would win six or seven or even eight times out of ten.
One sentiment floating around is the “If it wasn’t for those Patriots fumbles the Broncos would have gotten killed” argument. Yes, the Patriots gifted the Broncos with three fumbles on their first three drives, but then the Broncos turned the ball over four times. Fumbles always have a flukey feel to them. That goes both ways.
There’s one group out there that knows more about what is going to happen on football fields than me or you or anyone on ESPN or even the people in the locker rooms. One group will refuse to overreact the way your talk radio hosts and many Broncos fans will.
Vegas. Vegas knows more than everybody.
According to Bovada, the Broncos (7-2 odds) have fallen slightly behind the Seahawks (3-1 odds) as the Super Bowl favorites. The Broncos are still favored to win the AFC at 5-4 odds, which math tells me is almost 1-1. The next closest team is the Patriots, who are 5-2. That means Vegas still thinks the Broncos are twice as likely to go to the Super Bowl as the chowdaheads from the northeast.
Now, of course, the Broncos were favored to go to and win the Super Bowl last year and we all know how that ended up.
Still, the Broncos are just fine. Choking away a 24-0 lead is a bad look for the offense, defense and special teams. They collapsed. It was unbecoming.
Every team in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE has flaws. Lots of flaws.
Peyton Manning and those three receivers are allowed to have a bad week. Maybe it’s because Manning sucks in cold weather. Or maybe it’s because sometimes good offenses simply have a bad week. And if you’re scoring 31 points during a bad week, you’re probably pretty good. I don’t care if 17 of those points came off of turnovers.
Von Miller looks like he’s starting to round into form as the best defensive player in the game again. Knowshon Moreno is reliable. I still insist Champ Bailey will have a positive impact upon his return. So will Julius Thomas. The sky is not falling. Good teams lose games on the road to other good teams.
Playing these types of games will benefit the Broncos come January. Losses like this will benefit the Broncos come January. They should finish the year 14-2. That will get them the 1-seed in the AFC.
And they’ll be Super Bowl favorites again.
Like I’ve said all year long, the Broncos’ real season starts in the playoffs. They have 20 preseason games. Epic contests like last night make for some great debate on television and radio. They make for memorable evenings.
It’s an unpopular belief because people love to analyze football, but for this Broncos team, Sunday night’s loss really didn’t matter much.
And since it’s Thanksgiving week, I find it a good time to reflect on some sports things and some non sports things that I am thankful for:
The Broncos. Teams that are favored for pretty much every game have been few and far between ’round these parts the past few years. I’m truly thankful that John Elway and company have put together the model franchise in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE! yet again. Ideally, I’d be more thankful if they don’t rip my heart out in January. But still.
Being in attendance for this moment:
(You know I have to squeeze some Helton in here whenever I can).
Jack Graham. He’s not screwing around. If I set my objectivity aside and embrace my Colorado State fanhood, I am very happy an AD is in place who has his mind set on success and vast improvement in all facets of the athletic department.
My mother’s sweet potatoes. About seven or so years ago my mom tried a new recipe for sweet potatoes that changed my life forever. She puts pecans and brown sugar and probably some other stuff on them and oh dear Lord. I only get them twice a year and oh dear Lord.
High Definition televisions. The technology has changed the sports world more than anything the past 10 years. For the better. For the much, much, much better.
The “mute” button. I don’t understand why or how you all listen to commercials. I’m a professional muter. I would put my muting skills up against anyone in the world. If you can’t improve upon silence, shut up.
GIFs. They’re great. Just look at these:
Coors Field. It can be almost ruined by the drunk 21-year-olds trying to start the wave and the Rockies’ perennial ineptitude, but let’s be honest, Coors Field is a great, great place to spend an afternoon or evening.
Chipotle Fridays. I’ve gone to Chipotle every Friday for about seven and a half years. It’s the only way to start the weekend. I wish it was Chipotle Friday right now. (I also enjoy hot wings, cereal, sunflower seeds, the Cambridge Skillet at the Egg & I, New York Strips, honeycrisp apples and stringcheeses.)
The drive-through liquor store that is a block away from my house. I can go buy 30 cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon for about 20 dollars without putting on a shirt or shoes.
Christopher Columbus. We all know that Christopher Columbus was the pilgrim that taught the Indians how to eat turkey and grow corn. If it wasn’t for him and those kind Indians he befriended none of us would get to stuff our faces and drink enough to tolerate our weird relatives all Thursday long. That’s how it happened right?
All of my loyal readers. I wouldn’t be making millions off of this blog if it wasn’t for the hundreds of thousands of devoted followers that read and share my posts every Tuesday afternoon.
Stud of the week: Tom Hilbert. I’m going a little off the board this week. The Colorado State volleyball coach saw his team win two road matches last week and is now ranked 9th in the nation. They clinched their fifth consecutive Mountain West title and have established a legitimate dynasty. I know not many people care about women’s volleyball, but CSU’s volleyball program is probably the best college sports program in the state. And the main reason for all that success is their stud coach. Tom Hilbert: Stud.
Douche of the week: Alex Rodriguez. Again. I’ve already outlined his douchey history. He added to that this week when he “stormed” out of the MLB hearing regarding his suspension because he was so “upset.” He immediately released a statement and made a “surprise” radio interview. In typical A-Roid fashion, the whole thing was a complete joke. Completely scripted and poorly executed. Who are the people coming up with these bizarre ideas? Anyway, I’m very glad all this happened because it produced this incredible YouTube video.
(Background here: Mike Francesa has a huge, New York based radio show and the volatile host kind of fell asleep during an interview a couple years back. Put that together with Rodriguez’s odd performance and you have video gold.)
I was literally in tears. Alex Rodriguez: (Still a) Douche.
Tweet of the week:
This of course, came when things were going well for the Broncos against the Patriots and referenced this classic “We Are Killing the Patriots” moment. I don’t care if things went a little poorly in the second half. That’s a great tweet.
What to watch the next seven days:
- Colorado State will beat Air Force for the first time since 2005 (How crazy is that?) at noon on Saturday. With the win, the Rams will earn their first trip to a bowl game since 2008 and make my season-preview prediction off by only one game. The Rams opened as 14.5 point favorites. Yeah, Air Force is really bad this year.
- Broncos vs. Chiefs. Third must-watch in a row. Broncos open as 3.5 point favorites. They’ll cover.
- The Maui Invitational is usually pretty sweet. It’s taking place all week long (mostly on the ESPN family of networks) and the teams are a combined 30-0 going into the tourney. Also read this great article on the history of the event here.
- Auburn is ranked fourth in the nation. They host #1 Alabama at 1:30 on Saturday in one of the nation’s most intense rivalries. Should be awesome.
- New Orleans plays Seattle on Monday night. Should be awesome.
The Boston Celtics have a lot of new players and aren’t nearly as good as they’ve been in the past few years. Maybe that’s why I thought this GIF of Rajon Rondo reading the night’s statsheet was so damn funny.
Who the hell are these guys?!
Kickers aren’t real people.
Ron Burgundy had a great appearance on Conan. This was the most funny part.
This article about the athletic and academic culture at Florida State in the wake of the Jameis Winston sexual assault allegations is generating a lot of conversation online. It’s well done and you’ll feel sorry for both the instructors and the privileged athletes. I think it’s worth your time.
If you have the opportunity, I really recommend watching the HBO Real Sports piece on Nuggets coach Brian Shaw. Set the DVR if you can. It’s a heartbreaking story that is really well done. You can watch a couple minutes of the segment here.
And finally, I’m 99 percent sure this is a set-up, but it’s still pretty darn cute.
Happy Tuesday everybody. Have a great Thanksgiving weekend; it’s a truly underrated holiday. Give thanks. And thank you for reading. See ya next week.
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