© 2024 ALLCITY Network Inc.
All rights reserved.
The comparisons are inevitable.
At this time of year, fans and media alike want to know if a team is better than it was a season ago. Or four seasons ago. Is it better poised to make a Super Bowl run?
Our society is obsessed with comparison; especially when it comes to the wide world of sports. We want to know how this player or team compares to this player or team we watched 15 years ago.
Such is the case for the Denver Broncos on the first day of training camp. Such is the case for an organization that brought back the man who was part of the greatest time in Broncos’ history, Gary Kubiak. They want, must, need to know if he can do it again. Will his offense work for Peyton Manning as it did for John Elway? Will Denver finally clear the last hurdle that seems an impossible height? Will they put the embarrassment of that playoff loss, at home, last season in the past and get better?
“Actually, yeah,” DeMarcus Ware told the media on the eve of training camp. “I did come here to win the Super Bowl, that’s every year, that’s every player’s dream, to win the Super Bowl. And I think this year we are a better team because we have guys (who) have been playing together from last year. We know how we play. Even though it’s another scheme, going from 4-3 to 3-4, it’s still the same; still the same responsibility.”
For those looking for answers on the first day of training camp, hold tight. It is just the first day of a marathon. There is no way to answer any of those questions this early in the season.
Still, one fact is clear: The Broncos have embraced this new change and challenge from Elway, the coaching staff and organization. That’s not a fact you could say with certainty the last four years.
“I think that the bar has been set,” Kubiak said. “Mr. (Pat) Bowlen has had a standard around here for many years. Fortunately, I’ve been a part of that standard before and I chose to be part of it again. We’re here to win a championship. That’s our goal as a football team.”
The prior success of Kubiak and his coaching staff is part of that, but it’s so much more. It’s about how you approach your craft. As cliche as it is, the work the Broncos put in today is what leads to success in January and February.
The players know they best go all out each and everyday in practice, each and every play, or the coaches will call them out.
“There are a lot of new things going on,” Kubiak said. “We have to go master our core offense, defense and special teams. We have to put ourselves in position to be a playoff team. You have no chance of winning it all if you don’t do that. The bottom line is once you get to that last month, you have to be playing better than everybody else. There have been 16-win teams that don’t win championships and there have been nine-win teams that have won Super Bowls in this league. It’s all about getting there and how you play when you get there, but the first step is training camp and I can’t wait to wake up (Friday) morning and get to work.”
As training camp has arrived, hope springs eternal. Fans of all 32 teams have visions of a confetti-soaked Lombardi Trophy celebration at Levi’s Stadium. For the Broncos, the comparisons are inevitable.
Is this team better than one who embarrassed itself against Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts?
Is this finally the year the Lombardi Trophy comes back to the Mile High City?
The chapters have yet to be written on this potential masterpiece but the plot is in place. The characters have emerged. It’s just a matter of bringing it to life.
“To me, it’s never about the numbers,” Emmanuel Sanders said. “Obviously, I want to go out, I want to put up good numbers, but it doesn’t matter at the end of the day. I think that bringing a Super Bowl to this city is what really matters.”