Each of the big four professional sports teams in Denver is unique each in their own way. Half of them have had parades in the Mile High City and the other half has fallen just short a number of times.
In 2019, Denver sports has taken on a never-before-seen look, with the Broncos trying to get back into the playoffs while the Avalanche, Nuggets and Rockies are continuing their postseason runs. So it creates a good time to get gauge where each team stands at the moment.
And sometimes, there’s no better way to evaluate a franchise’s status than to describe their current state in just one word:
Denver Broncos: Dysfunctional
The Broncos are the most-beloved team in Denver, based in large part due to the fact that they’ve enjoyed the most success. But since their Super Bowl 50 victory and the retirement of Peyton Manning, this organization has been one of the most-dysfunctional franchises in all of sports.
It is understandable that when an NFL team loses a Hall of Fame quarterback, they will struggle for about a season or two, but this franchise has not had a playoff appearance in three seasons. Only three teams in NFL history have gone three seasons without making the playoffs after a Super Bowl victory and the Broncos have lost the most games (28) of those three teams.
Not only has the team struggled on the field by not being able to find a franchise quarterback, but the ownership situation continues with no controlling owner filling the void left by Pat Bowlen. That’s part of the reason why we have yet to see stadium naming rights that has been promised for a number of years by Broncos president Joe Ellis, who allegedly doesn’t get along with GM John Elway.
To put the icing on the cake, the Broncos can’t seem to get a deal done with their most valuable defensive player – Chris Harris Jr. This organization will continue to be dysfunctional until there is a new controlling owner and a franchise quarterback is found.
Colorado Rockies: Heartbreak
This is the perfect word to describe the team down at 20th and Blake. The purple and black is the that one girl that you’ve been close friends with for a long time and you’re hoping she ends up realizing that you’re the one for her, but at the end, it’s the same ole song and dance.
The Rockies seem to make the right and exciting moves at the right time, but continue to fall short of their goal. They are a team coming out of back-to-back postseason appearances and had World Series expectations entering the 2019 season. But they currently sit as one of the worst teams in the big leagues.
Everyone knows what the Rockies need to do every single season to win a World Series, but it just does not happen and nobody can figure out why. Colorado, who has one of the most-talented offensive teams in baseball, continues to be just average.
The Rockies, behind the bats of Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon, remain in the middle rankings of the MLB in batting average, home runs, and on base percentage. They also do not rank in the top 20 in the major pitching categories like ERA, Wins and Opponent Batting Average.
A season after Kyle Freeland was contending for the Cy Young, he has been almost forgotten this year with a 6.02 ERA and a 2-5 record. German Marquez has the numbers to show that he’s the best pitcher on this team, but he doesn’t have the numbers to carry this team to the postseason.
Yes, multiple injuries continue to hurt the Rockies, but if it’s not one thing, it’s another. Maybe one day we’ll find the right girl down at 20th and Blake and we can finally be ready to put on ring on that finger.
Colorado Avalanche: Overachieving
This might be the team in Denver that has the best chance to win a championship in the near future. How are the Avalanche overachieving, you might ask? Everything seemed to come at the right time.
After having one of the worst seasons in NHL history with only 48 points just two years ago, thanks to Patrick Roy leaving the team right before the beginning of the season, the following year Jared Bednar found a formula that worked for this team to achieve back-to-back playoff appearances with at least 90 points in each season.
The Avalanche snuck into the playoffs last year with the second wild card spot and competed with the Nashville Predators who were contenders for the Stanley Cup. Colorado took Nashville to Game 6.
This past season looked like it was going to be a disaster with Seymon Varlamov struggling with a 90.9 save percentage that ranked 36th in the NHL. Once Bednar made the move to a top-20 goalie that got hot at the right time in Philipp Grubauer, however, this team was ready for that playoff push.
This past season, the Avalanche were tied for the most-overtime losses in the NHL and nobody in the playoffs were close to the Avs in that category except for the Penguins, who finished fifth. This Avalanche team has the best first line in all of hockey, but struggles in depth on lines two-four.
Just when you thought this team needed defensive help, in comes the best player in college hockey in Cale Makar. Now that Colorado has the playoff experience in back-to-back seasons and upsetting the No. 1 points leader in the Flames, they also have the fourth pick in the upcoming NHL Draft.
For a team that was in the second half of the league in goals allowed overachieved once again and was just five wins away from competing in the Stanley Cup Final.
Denver Nuggets: Stuck
The Nuggets have a lot of potential on this roster and even in the front office, but they’re stuck and there’s no realistic way to get out. The Nuggets made their first playoff appearance since then 2013, when they won 57 games and fell to Golden State in the first round.
The fact is the Nuggets don’t have a superstar here in Denver. As much as everyone wants to say Nikola Jokic is one, he’s just not.
Realistic expectations for the Nuggets this season was to get to the Western Conference Finals. Not the NBA Finals. Denver will never get to the NBA Finals with this roster because of the Warriors standing in the way; the only way you can get past the Bay Area team is with multiple superstars.
Denver isn’t a free-agent destination and it’s not because of the location, but because they don’t have a star player here. LeBron James joined the Miami Heat because of Dwyane Wade and Kevin Durant joined the Warriors because of “The Splash Brothers.”
Everyone, and I mean everyone, is hoping that Michael Porter Jr. will turn out to be the superstar that he could be. But it’s not going to be this season after coming off his injuries.
The Nuggets also don’t have the money to spend on a superstar free agent like Durant, Kawhi Leonard or even Klay Thompson because of the money that they have invested in Jokic, Gary Harris and Paul Millsap. The best way for the Nuggets to get a superstar is through the NBA Draft with one of the top picks.
The only issue is that the Nuggets don’t own a draft pick this year and if they want to own the top draft pick, they’re going to have to be one of the worst teams in the NBA and that’s not going to happen when you have players like Jamal Murray, Jokic and Harris, a trio that will keep the Nuggets in the playoffs for the next four to five years.
The professional sports teams in Denver are going to have their ups and downs moving forward as we hope for more parades.