One of my biggest pet peeves in the NFL is when the pundits knock a team down that has a good record and claims that they “haven’t played anybody.” That can ring true for a good month in the early goings of any given NFL season, but when you’re past the halfway point, well it’s like Bill Parcells used to say; You are what your record says you are.
Being a supporter of the Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons, obviously I’ve found very little to gripe about this season. At a combined 20-2 on the year, you’d think I’d be on cloud nine, and I am for the most part. However, continuously hearing about how every other team with a winning record is better than them is like a gnat buzzing around your ear that you just can’t swat. In no way do I find either of these teams infallible; they have red flags just like everyone else. But the lack of respect either get when less deserving teams get more just eats me up inside.
When you’re on top, everyone wants to discredit you if you don’t have the celebrity quarterback or marketable running back with a million dollar smile. Sometimes, even a wide receiver that gets into a lot of controversy off the field can grab the headlines for a team. But if you are just a team that comes out, takes care of business without all the flash and trash talk without a Manning brother or playing in the Northeast, well most people think you’re a fake and that’s the way the media has formed that opinion.
But speaking of a Manning brother, the resurgence of Peyton Manning should be of no real surprise to anyone. Nor should the media’s fawning love and admiration of him and his Denver teammates. But after watching their sluggish victory against arguably the worst team in football yesterday got me thinking in the “when was the last time they played a really good team” frame of mind that I said I hated. Yeah, I was being a hypocrite, but it is in spite of the national media, so I took the hit.
Denver has won six straight games and seven of their last eight. That is nothing to scoff at; this is the NFL and you’re facing real competition week in and week out. This isn’t the SEC against Conference USA here. No one gets that lucky with their schedule. However, you can tell a lot about a team about how they play against the upper echelon teams and not just beating up on the rebuilding franchises.
The Broncos have only beaten two teams with a winning record this season (Pittsburgh and Cincinnati) and they’re just one game over .500 now. Their three losses have come against the aforementioned Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans, as well as being handled by the Patriots for their last loss six weeks ago. To me, that speaks volumes.
I’m willing to give Peyton Manning a little bit of slack for learning to catch up to the speed of the game again after a year layoff and I’m not going to blame the light schedule as the only reason for his success; this is still Peyton Manning we’re talking about. But beating up on the Chargers, Chiefs and Raiders isn’t really impressing the hell out of me when throwing the Broncos name around as the best team in the AFC.
When you get rolled at home by the Texans before you try and play catch up in garbage time doesn’t impress me. When you get handled on both sides of the ball by the Patriots that doesn’t impress me.
Now, I can’t blame them for their schedule, as you can only play who is in front of you. But the flip side of that is that I’m not going to beat my chest and talk about how great Denver is for beating those teams and then turn around and say Houston taking overtime to beat the Jags and Lions or the Falcons only winning by this many points is a mark against them. That’s idiot logic and I’m not buying it.
Denver could very well be the real thing. Peyton is playing better than I’ve seen him since 2009 and the Broncos defense seems to get better each week. But until I see them do it against one of the teams that have a better record than them, I’m not buying what the NFL “experts” are selling.
Filed under: Denver Broncos
Tagged with: Atlanta Falcons, Bill Parcells, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Eli Manning, Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders, Peyton Manning, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers