It’s Time For Me To Work On A Football Transition

Thin Air will continue as it has, and it always will so long as I have the ability to do so. And by definition, I will always have some role in this site. However, what my role precisely is might change. I can’t say with such precision what that might be: if I knew, by all means I would tell you. But in deep consideration with the confluence of where I am and where the Denver Broncos are, I feel that it is prudent to explore something that’s possibly different, one that I hope will be beneficial.

Where I’m at, and what’s my future?

I’m quite hesitant to even say this, as many, many more people have had it far worse than me, and I always want to show proper humility in comparison to such plights. Nonetheless, truth be told I have not felt fully happy over the past couple years. The brutal pandemic, with the miserable, dehumanizing restrictions that lingered far too long instead of getting serious on getting everyone vaccinated, took quite the toll on me. Inherent in this was the cruel reality that it was downright unsafe to be around people, causing most friendships to be severed.

In this aftermath, it has proven to be very difficult to rebuild and reconnect with these friendships, and it’s furthermore left me in quite the state of flux on where my life plans should go next. I know there must be plenty of things I have on the bucket list, but what, precisely, are those going to be? And undergirding that is also, who do I want to do those things with? These have proven to not be easy questions to answer. And whenever I do answer them, will all that allow me to fit in an expertly heavy diet of watching the Broncos and the NFL?

What’s also coincidental is that my uncertain path is running parallel with an uncertain path for the Broncos.

Where the Broncos are at, and what’s their future?

I don’t think Broncos fans, even those at peak coverage of the team, are fully grasping just how consequential an upcoming event will be for their favorite team. Success in professional sports always starts with ownership. It’s overarching all operations of a team, and it tends to be very long lasting.

Who the NFL and Joe Ellis choose to become the new owner of the Broncos will have the biggest ramifications on where the team goes. If they choose wisely, and get an owner that is on the caliber of Hall of Famer Pat Bowlen, the Broncos are likely to retain status as a premier franchise, both on the field and in how the team is run as a whole. If they choose poorly, and get an owner on the caliber of Dan Snyder, I don’t think I have to elaborate on just how devastatingly bad that would be for their prospects.

For a long time, even before starting Thin Air, I have felt that my fandom of a team is quite contingent on ownership, and that when it became clear circa 2014 that Alzheimer’s disease was going to unfairly rob Bowlen of several more years of stellar ownership, the reality of that contingency steadily grew. Ellis and John Elway were able to delay this reality due to their intimate knowledge of how Bowlen ran things.

But that delay is over. There will be a change of ownership soon, and I feel that calls for preparation on my own personal front.

So, what’s the transition?

In the short term, nothing will change. There will definitely be no sudden IAOFM style moment. You’ll still see me here chatting about the Broncos, making gratuitous references to The Simpsons, ranting about transportation infrastructure, and so on. In the long term…perhaps nothing substantial will change either. Perhaps it’ll effectively be business as usual, perhaps it’ll be something else. We shall see.

But the transition I’d like to explore is one where I’m less of a fan of the Broncos, and more of an observer that takes a transparent and fair look of what the team is doing. To be clear, I don’t expect the extent of that transition to happen quickly—hell, I’m planning on doing what’s needed on attending the Seattle game in my Ryan Clady jersey, and that might not be the only Broncos game I attend, either. And to also be clear, I hope it’s fair to say that I’ve always strived for a healthy ratio of both fandom and observership. I just may end up rebalancing that ratio a bit, and with this change in ownership coming, I do not think I would do myself right without preparation for it.

I heavily doubt that there will ever be a time where I just flat out stop following the Broncos in some extent—nor do I think would that be a responsible thing to do, either. With nearly twenty years of intense following, and many more rooting for them, I’ve built up a knowledge base that I feel is unique enough to offer something special to the Broncos and NFL community. It would be terrible if that knowledge base just went to waste.

Therefore, in the coming months of the dead season, I’ll be working on executing a plan that I think will serve that offering well. I’m looking forward to sharing it with all of you when it is ready to go. When it comes to any big life plan, there should regularly be a complementary sense of both excitement and nervousness. That’s what I clearly feel right now, but I think I would not be doing myself right if I didn’t give this a try.

Thank you so much for providing good companionship on a shared interest to all the regular commenters, as well to all readers. I hope this journey is productive for the Broncos and myself, and that we have much more time to enjoy the journey together.