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"It was terrible": Marshall compares Broncos to Jaguars for all the wrong reasons

Zac Stevens Avatar
November 25, 2017

DENVER — Until this season, the last time the Jacksonville Jaguars were relevant, the No. 1 song was Beyoncé’s Irreplaceable, Paxton Lynch had just become a teenager and the Colorado Rockies were making historic runs to the World Series. The year was 2007, a decade ago.

Needless to say, in the decade since, comparisons to anything associated with the Jaguars’ organization have likely not been kind.

After they dropped their sixth-straight game on Sunday, one of those comparisons was made to the Denver Broncos. The eye-opener was that it came from within the organization.

“I remember when I was in Jacksonville and we were 1-9, it was terrible coming to work,” Broncos’ linebacker Brandon Marshall said when asked if it’s harder to be motivated when the team is struggling, inevitably comparing the Jaguars’ 2-14 season in 2012 to the Broncos 3-7 start in 2017.

Currently a five-year Bronco, Marshall actually began his career in Jacksonville, making him a Jags insider, too.

“Honestly, you could kind of feel in the stadium there was no energy, even with the fans,” Marshall said reflecting on the unusually melancholy fan base during Denver’s eventual third-straight home loss on Sunday afternoon. “I felt it. I was like, ‘It’s real quiet in here.’”

In Marshall’s lone season with the Jaguars, they were 17th in attendance percentage (96.8) and 20th in overall attendance with an average of 64,984 fans per game.

In comparison, in 2012—Peyton Manning’s first year with the team—the Broncos had more than a sell-out per game average with 100.7 percent capacity at every game, including the fifth-highest average attendance (76,632).

But Marshall was right, on Sunday night, for the first time since the John Elway general manager era began, Broncos Country didn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. At the beginning of the game, thousands of blue seats remained empty, but it wasn’t due to late arrivals, they remained empty throughout the entirety of the team’s 20-17 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Heck, even with the game still in reach at the two-minute warning, the reflection of the bright lights swirling around Sports Authority Field at Mile High were jumping off thousands of empty blue seats in a stadium that had lost hope, not only for Week 11’s game, but for the season.

Although Marshall had a flashback to Jacksonville, Denver couldn’t be further from it, even in a down year. For the first time in a decade, the Jaguars are set for a winning season, yet just a month ago their stadium was nearly 20 percent empty, missing some 10,000 fans.

Yet even with the thousands of empty seats, the Broncos extended their consecutive sell-out streak to 393 games, a feat that dates back to 1970 and is undoubtedly the longest sell-out streak in the NFL—something the Jaguars will never be able to tout.

The last time the Broncos finished the season with a losing record, their head coach, Josh McDaniels, was fired before the season ended, they hired Elway to lead the team and they drafted Von Miller No. 2 overall the following draft. While it’s hard to see the light sitting at 3-7, the Broncos’ organization doesn’t settle for failure, from the executives at the top down to the players and even the fanbase.

“We’ve dropped six, or five, I’ve lost count. This stuff is frustrating,” Broncos’ safety Darian Stewart said, showing the same type of feelings of the fans.

While comparisons to the Jaguars are the most relevant this season, history would tell you they won’t last for long.

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