The Harder They Fall

You may have caught the subtle impression in the season finale that I don’t like the Denver Broncos, or Peyton Manning for that matter. Obviously, they’re a good team, and Manning is one of the all-time great QBs, a first-ballot Hall of Fame pick. But like with Brady and the Pats, it just gets old, and it felt like Denver was piling it on, flandersrunning up the score for no good reason, in that final game.

So the past few days in Donkeyland have been great fun, watching a division rival fall flat on their faces, go one-and-done in the playoffs after a 12-4 regular season run. After four consecutive division titles, and just a year after their disastrous Super Bowl appearance, Denver’s coaching staff is gone, Manning may retire, and several key players in their prime, such as Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas, become free agents (and you can bet that the Raiders will make an offer to one or both of them).

And Jack Del Rio may very likely wind up coaching the Raiders; we’ll probably know one way or the other within a day or so. Regardless, it’s a lesson in how quickly fortunes change in the NFL, where a team can be riding high one day, and rebuilding  the very next day.

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