As soon as I was sure that the ball had flown through the uprights and that the Broncos run had come to an end I started packing up my stuff - my crock pot full of meatballs, my provolone, my rolls and my artichoke dip. I shoved it all into a Costco box and went outside to have a cigarette.
Even though we had all discussed hanging out for the 'Niners game, when I walked back in everyone was gone. A living room that had been filled with friends and suspense for four hours had simply emptied out. I guess there was nothing to anyone could say. I was certainly in no position to provide any insight. I was in a state of shock. All I wanted was to be alone.
I drove home in silence with the windows down so that the cold air could rush in. I had no interest in listening to anybody’s “take“ on the game so I was not even tempted to tune in to sports radio. I needed to deal with it on my own. The Broncos season had come to a shocking end and it was a very bitter pill to swallow. For every “if” there was an “and but” and there were a hundred plays that could been the last of the game.
Passionately, Broncos / Ravens was an all-time let-down. Dispassionately, was all-time classic playoff game - one that will go down in history and be replayed over and over again. It’s something that Broncos fans will have to live with forever.
People who have read this blog have sometimes commented that my articles are short on analysis. I agree. And there are about 10,000 places readers can turn to for that. I’m not the go-to guy for the break-down. My specialty is emoting - attempting to express the way I feel about my teams and hoping that the things I say are relatable to people.
I didn’t know what to say when the game was over and I don’t know what to say now. A lot was riding on this. Broncos Country was prepared for a Manning / Brady showdown at Mile High. Baltimore was not supposed to do this to us, but they did. This means no more football - no more big games, no more touchdowns, no more Von Miller no more Eric Decker.
Flacco was no ordinary Joe today. He made clutch passes - Super Bowl type plays in impossible situations. The Ravens defense was nasty, too. Even murdery old Ray Lewis got it done. Denver stifled Ray Rice but still the Ravens found a way. This wasn’t a matter of the Broncos beating themselves. They got beaten. The Ravens deserve full credit for winning a tough game on the road.
I hope they go all the way. That’s always what I cheer for when my team gets beaten. But my interest in watching the playoffs is pretty much dead. This was Denver’s year. It’s tough to get this close and not go all the way. There’s no way to be sure you’ll ever make it back. What do I care who goes to the Super Bowl now? It won’t be the top seed in the AFC - the unstoppable Broncos. I’m heart broken.
It’s not going to be easy to talk Denver sports and to write clever articles this coming week. This isn’t like that disastrous Rockies season when the worse they did the easier my job got. The Broncos were a great story. This loss is going to hurt. It will leave a void.
We were United in Orange and now we’re all blue. This week we will mourn the season.
In the coming weeks we will start looking toward the future - to the draft and toward minicamps. We will learn which of our coaches will go - and which our free agents. We’ll speculate about who will be brought in to make the team better in 2013. We will be confident and proud to be Broncos fans even though we’re hurting.