Denver sports fans found out yesterday what they had suspected for weeks: The Broncos aren’t very good. It isn’t often that the Broncos are this poor, and even when they aren’t great, like last year, they’re still good enough that you can root for a run (however unlikely) in the playoffs. While this year’s team is barely a quarter through the current season, it’s hard to foresee a turnaround of any significance in 2007.

The Broncos haven’t had a losing record since 1999, which is of no small importance in a city that so loves its hometown football team. I will never forget walking around the Southwest Plaza shopping mall after the 1996 Broncos – a Super Bowl favorite – were upset by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second round of the playoffs. The mood in the mall was so somber that you’d have thought the President had just been shot. People were legitimately depressed after the Broncos lost that year, and I remember thinking how interesting it was that so many people could be emotionally tied to the fate of a football team.

I’ll admit that I am also emotionally tied to the fate of the Broncos, though not as much as I used to be. When I had more time on my hands, I would plan my Sunday around the Broncos game. I don’t do that anymore, out of necessity, but I won’t feel guilty about it anymore, either. When the Broncos aren’t very good, I lose some of that emotional attachment because I am no longer as disappointed when they lose; when I don’t expect them to win, it doesn’t bother me as much when they don’t. Still, the fall just isn’t quite as fun when the Broncos aren’t a good team.

Thank God for the Rockies.