Maybe Next Year, Denver

Sickafoose

Back when I was young and naive, I prematurely told another person that I loved them. The comment was followed by empty stares, an awkward silence and heartbreak you were able to feel just by hearing about it.

I would trade the feelings that I currently possess for the emotions of that moment without a single bit of hesitation.

The sun barely came out in Denver on Saturday’s bitter cold afternoon. As what little amount vanished behind the front range of the Rocky Mountains, it took along any hope of a Denver Broncos championship with it.

Without the laws of science, I would have been fully convinced that it would never rise again.

My game day was spent in a house filled with my Broncos family. An event that sometimes entails setting the house on fire or dropping your buddy while holding them over a keg, but always includes the same group of passionate Denver fans and (until today) a Broncos victory.

The majority of the game consisted of slapping high-fives and yelling at a television set so loud, it’s a wonder how the police weren’t called.

But in that definitive moment, when Broncos safety Rahim Moore got burned by Jacoby Jones for a 70-yard Ravens touchdown in the final 30 seconds of regulation, I swear you could have heard a needle hit the floor.

My jaw dropped. My beer took a spill. The grip I had around a Broncos Pillow Pet named Miles instantly clenched so tightly that if it were a real animal it would have shrieked in pain.

If I didn’t have any grey hair before, the 16 minutes and 18 seconds that followed decided now was a good time to start.

My mind was beyond my own body at that point. I didn’t know whether to cry or try punching a hole in my best friend’s closet door. The answer wasn’t either one, it was confusion.

Is it really over? Peyton Manning isn’t a robot bred for perfection? Baltimore who?

The harsh reality is that it’s all true. There is no way to sugarcoat the tragic end to such a promising season. It’s time for us and coach John Fox to face the facts, and start drawing up X’s and O’s of hope for next year.

On January 26th 1998, when the Broncos won their first Super Bowl title, it was time for Denver owner Pat Bowlen to address the football nation. Most NFL owners fortunate enough to be in this position spend quality time developing a heartfelt, lengthy speech to be delivered while fighting back tears on national television.

However on this night, Bowlen raised the Vince Lombardi Trophy while simultaneously giving his four word speech that sent shivers up and down the bodies of every person who was tuned in.

“This one’s for John!”

I wonder what Bowlen would have said this year given the same opportunity.

Who would it be for, Peyton?

Nope. This year didn’t belong to any one specific man, but an entire community. This one was for any person who has continued to wear blue and orange through the good, the bad and the ugly. This one was for the Broncos nation that has been patiently waiting for another shot for years.

This one was for me.

Quentin Sickafoose is a junior Journalism & Technical Communications major. He can be reached at sports@collegian.com.