No matter what happens in Week 1, don’t overreact in Broncos Country
After what seems like forever, the beginning of the Broncos 2022 season is finally here. The Broncos begin the Russell Wilson era on “Monday Night Football” in what is becoming a grudge match with Wilson’s former team, the Seahawks.
With all the excitement and intriguing storylines, there will be an overreaction to the outcome of Monday night’s game, regardless of who wins.
What to expect from this Broncos team is still a mystery. The build up to this game is reaching such high levels, that it feels like the most important game the Broncos have ever played.
What if they lose? What if they blow them out? What if they win, but it’s a close game? So many different possibilities, and all of them will have fans and analysts drawing premature proclamations about the Broncos.
What’s important to remember is that it is just Week 1. What happens in the opener isn’t indicative of the outcome of the season. We shouldn’t ignore what we see from the Broncos in Seattle, but we also shouldn’t draw definitive conclusions.
Week 1 games (and Week 2 and 3) in Broncos history have often misrepresented the quality that particular Broncos team. Recent history is a perfect example.
The Broncos are looking to end a six-season playoff drought. During that span, they have one winning season (2016). What’s interesting is that in those six seasons, the Broncos started 2-0 four times.
Despite being at the top of the NFL early in the season, from 2016-21, the Broncos would be exposed as pretenders. Even with early success, the Broncos were unable to hide their deficiencies and would incur losing streaks that made Week 1 wins an afterthought.
Missing the playoffs after a hot isn’t just a recent occurrence for the Broncos.
The 2002 Broncos started out fast, defeating the defending NFC champion St. Louis Rams in Week 1. The Broncos would win their next two leading to a 3-0 start. By season’s end, the Brain Griese experiment was at its end, the Broncos finished 9-7 and missed the playoffs.
The 2008 Broncos started 3-0 and even with a high-powered offense, they would eventually miss the playoffs because of running back injuries and a poor defense. This collapse would lead Mike Shanahan’s exit as Broncos head coach.
The following season, head coach Josh McDaniels and the Broncos shocked the league with a 6-0 start. From there, McDaniels and the Broncos embarrassed themselves by winning only two games and missed the playoffs.
Conversely, in 2005, the Broncos opened at Miami against the Dolphins. The Broncos were destroyed 34-10 in that game. Based on that performance, the Broncos season looked hopeless, but that game was an outlier. The Broncos would lose only two games after the blunder in Miami and play in the AFC Championship Game. The Dolphins missed the playoffs.
John Fox’s era in Denver started off Week 1 in a late Monday night home game against the Raiders. The Broncos lost that game and started 1-4. After that, the Broncos had a six-game winning streak in the middle of the season, won the AFC West and advanced to the divisional round of the playoffs.
Broncos Country is rightfully excited about the upcoming season. Last season, the NFL didn’t give the Broncos a Monday or Sunday night game until they flexed them at Kansas City. The football world cares about the Broncos again, and while it’s good to be back, it’s wise to not put our opinion of this season on the first game.
This is Nathaniel Hackett’s first game as a head coach. The entire coaching staff is new to their job title. Training camp was low risk and the starters didn’t play in preseason. To expect the Broncos to come out looking like the 2013 Broncos is putting too much on one game.
Russell Wilson will be fine and will play great for the Broncos. It might take a few weeks, or six, for Broncos Country to see the identity of this team. Peyton Manning’s first season in Denver took until the sixth game for the team to finally start clicking. he 2012 Broncos began the year 2-3 and finished 13-3. Seasons go through phases and are not decided in Week 1.
The Broncos should win Monday night. They are much more talented than Seattle, especially at quarterback. Even with a win, the quality of this team will be a work in progress. Be excited if the Broncos win and be disappointed if they lose, but don’t get too up or too down, because it’s a long season and things can change.