I figured it would be prudent to get discussion regarding this topic steered toward a separate thread just in case. The usual rules of this being an inherently political thread and participating at your own risk apply in here.
The subject of how many people visit this site came up yesterday, so I thought it would be fun to share with you the Google Analytics findings on this subject for the calendar year of 2016. Continue reading Thin Air’s Visitors, 2016
When I wrote my offseason road map for the Broncos this year, I did so under the presumption that Gary Kubiak was not going anywhere. That, of course, was incorrect, and the Broncos have already got a head start on achieving goal #1, a cleanout of the offensive coaching staff.
Now that we know that John Elway has hired Vance Joseph as head coach and Mike McCoy as offensive coordinator, I think it would be prudent to revisit some points on my roadmap–specifically the goals that refer to the quarterback and offensive line positions. Continue reading How Should The New Coaching Staff Alter The Broncos’ 2017 Offseason Road Map?
It seems to happen at least once every year: a team who is superior in whatever metric you want to measure–win-loss record, head to head, DVOA, etc.–is sitting on their couches in January while an inferior team is on to the postseason. Perhaps the largest aggravating factor is the requirement that a division champion must not only make the playoffs, but also host a playoff game. Such a champion gets this privilege even if the division was a complete dumpster fire, as the AFC South has been for the past few seasons.
At the very least, I’ve advocated that division champions should not be entitled to a home playoff game, and seeding should first be determined by win-loss record. I’ve also toyed with the idea that teams with a losing record should not make the playoffs at all. (Yes, I’m aware that such teams are 2-0 so far–my responses are “any given Sunday” and “small sample size”.)
Pushback against these ideas takes a few forms. Among the most simplistic are, “Shoulda won your division if you wanna get in”, or “Winning your division is something you should be proud of”. My response to that is, “Shouldn’t playing in a more difficult division give you more credit?” and “Let’s ask teams like the 1999 Jaguars or 2010 Bears how meaningful their pretty division banners really are”. Some will also say that there would be no point in having divisions at all, but I see no reason why you can’t still schedule division rivals twice a year, and also hold claim to division titles, even if every now and then that title doesn’t come with a playoff berth and/or home game.
The more sophisticated argument is that giving division champions playoff privileges helps to create more meaningful games in the playoff race–and in turn, better TV ratings for the infamous Week 17. Surely, the 6-9 2010 Seahawks or the 6-8-1 Panthers would have nothing to play for if it wasn’t for hopes of a playoff ticket via winning their division, right? The NFL has doubled down on this notion by making Week 17 games exclusively division matchups since 2010.
This article will scrutinize this final idea. It will take a look at the playoff picture entering Week 17 since 2002, the year the NFL went to eight divisions and thus creating more of these automatic playoff tickets, and see if there would have been more or fewer games in which teams would have something to play for if divisions were completely ignored for seeding purposes. Continue reading Would Week 17 Be More Or Less Interesting By Seeding Without Regard To Divisions?
Now that the Raiders are thankfully where they belong in January–watching football instead of playing it–I think it’s only appropriate to point out that they, along with the Chargers, could have new addresses in 2017. Since major news on this could come as soon as this week, I’d like to spend a little time thinking about where two of the Broncos’ road trips could be in the future. Continue reading Pondering The 2017 Geography Of The AFC West
My final projection at OTC for the 2017 compensatory picks gives the Broncos two 3rd round comp picks (for Brock Osweiler and Malik Jackson), a 4th round comp pick (for Danny Trevathan), and a 7th round comp pick–the Mr. Irrelevant pick, in fact–for Ryan Harris. You will also find a list of all of the Broncos’ projected draft picks on the sidebar for quick reference during the offseason. Continue reading 2017 Compensatory Pick Projection For The Broncos
ADDENDUM (January 16, 2017): This article was written before Gary Kubiak’s retirement. Please see revisions that have been made to this roadmap in this article.
Suffice to say, I am not happy with writing this annual article in December. Nonetheless, it’s important to get out my opinion on what the Broncos should do in the upcoming months, as the evaluation needs to start right now.
We’ll unfortunately have quite a long time to conduct a belated airing of grievances on what allowed the 2016 Broncos season to unravel, and there’s no doubt improvements in skill and talent must be made. But at the same time, it’s important to recognize that luck plays a factor in football, acting as a bulwark against overcompensating for identified problems.
It should be accepted that the Broncos got some good luck on their way to a Super Bowl title in 2015. That’s nothing to be embarrassed about: every Super Bowl winner has a few balls bounce their way (often, literally). Similarly, in 2016 that luck was less than favorable for Denver. This article will aim to sharpen that perception. Continue reading In 2016, Luck Ran Out On The Broncos