"Banks, I hate-respect you" - Jack Donaghy
I've hated the Denver Broncos for a quarter century. Aside from my family, I've never had any sort of connection to another person for that long, and frankly, I know the Broncos better than I know most of my relatives. I hated their barf-orange old unis, and I hate their "modern" nike clothes. I hated John Elway in the 80s and 90s, and I hate Champ Bailey today. I hated Mike Shanahan's smug ratface. I hated Dan Reeve's suits. I hated every player who ever suited up for the Orange Crush. Hell, I still hate the soda Orange Crush.
But... I also (grudgingly) respect them. Why?
Even as the Broncos kicked in our skulls year after year, they also were what we aspired to be: a team from a (non-California) western town that beat back the NFL Establishment and East Coast Bias to become an annual Super Bowl contender. For the entire span of the Seahawks' existence, we saw our Colorado rivals take on NFL Superpowers from Pittsburgh to Oakland and win... until the games had Roman Numerals. Then it was loss after blowout loss.
I reveled in those losses, and mercilessly taunted my Denver-rooting classmates after each one... But still, I could see that we had something in common, and after the Broncos broke through and won two championships in the late 90s I hoped it would inspire my Seahawks to do likewise.
No such luck yet, huh?
For all the various grievances and grudges us Twelves have against the Broncos from our days as divisional rivals, my biggest source of enduring hatred is the 2005 AFC Championship Game.
I love alternate history. What if the Cuban Missile Crisis had gone another way? What if the Japanese had never bombed Pearl Harbor? and so on... But what if the Broncos had defeated Pittsburgh that day back in January 2006?
XL would have been a "normal" Super Bowl. The city of Detroit wouldn't have gone into uber-swoon mode over Jerome Bettis' "homecoming" for two weeks, and the crowd wouldn't have been a mass of yellow-hankie waving Yinzers, intimidating Bill Leavy and his band of cowards and incompetents. The usual Supe crowd would have been there in Detroit: Some Seahawks fans, some Broncos fans, and an ass-ton of distracted VIPs. It would have most likely been a boring blowout that the country would have turned off by the middle of the 3rd quarter...
But there would be a Vince Lombardi Trophy in the lobby at the VMAC right now.
The Broncos had not lost a home game yet in 2005, and a week before had knocked off the defending champion Patriots at Mile High. There was every reason to think they would defeat 6th-seeded Pittsburgh and advance to XL, but Denver decided to hand the Steelers four turnovers, including two "I have regressed to my Arizona Cardinals form" interceptions from Jake Plummer and his mustache of doom.
Pittsburgh won 34-17, and we know how the 3rd act of that movie goes...
The football gods have handed us a chance at revenge, however. His name is Josh McDaniels, and his incompetence is a gift to Seattle on the level of a stack of Glenn Garry leads... If I didn't know better, I would think he was trying to bring down the Denver organization from the inside. Beyond the Cutler and Marshall affairs, there is his mind-boggling decision to trade Denver's 2010 first round pick to us last April.
That is why I am here, Field Gulls faithful. Every week I will bring you news and analysis of Denver's inexorable collapse, and the glorious, precious high draft pick that they will then be sending our way.
Yeah, I know they won this week, but one incredibly lucky bounce created by boundless Bengal stupidty doesn't automatically vault them out of the NFL's compost heap. They will still be entertainingly awful, and could still be the 2001 Carolina Panthers.
Current Position of Seattle Pick from Denver: 17th-32nd
Players Likely Available at that Spot: Jevan Snead, QB (Ole Miss), Trent Williams, OT (Oklahoma), Jahvid Best, RB (California)
Feel free to mosey over to my home blog, Dave Krieg's Strike Beard, for more Seahawks coverage.