It’s not ideal. It’s an inconvenience. And it’s a bit of a bummer.
When it comes to the Broncos-Patriots game originally scheduled for this weekend getting delayed until next Sunday, all of those comments apply. The juggling of the schedule that also has to occur in order to accommodate the change, with the Chargers game being moved to Week 8, which was originally Denver’s bye week, and the Dolphins game shifting to Week 11 also falls into those categories.
Those thoughts are fair. But the griping and complaining that came from players yesterday was a bit over the top.
From Melvin Gordon and Kareem Jackson to Shelby Harris and Bradley Chubb, several of the Broncos stars took to social media to express their displeasure about the changes. Primarily, they were upset that they were losing their bye week and that they were being punished despite doing “nothing wrong.”
It’s not that those problems aren’t true. But a little perspective is important.
Instead of getting a week off at the end of October, Denver will have to prepare for a tilt for with Los Angeles. That’ll cost the roster time to recuperate, which they didn’t fully get this week because they were prepping for New England. They didn’t get a true bye.
But in reality, the Broncos didn’t play a game this week. That’s where the lion’s share of wear and tear is endured. So the notion that they didn’t get any sort of bye at all is a little off base.
It’s not as though they’re being asked to play an extra game. They simply had to practice a couple of more times than normal. In the grand scheme of things, that’s not asking a lot; it’s a pretty minor sacrifice.
Everyone knew those would have to be made. It was inevitable during a global pandemic that speed bumps were going to emerge. Being flexible and understanding was critical to the league getting through the ultimate fluid situation. It’s impossible to predict the problems that will emerge. So all involved simply have to do their best to mitigate the damage caused.
That’s what the NFL did by shuffling the Broncos schedule. In looking at all of the options on the table, like moving the game to the end of the season or giving the Patriots a forfeit, this was the least problematic. It was the lesser of all evils.
Which dovetails into the second complaint, the unfairness of the decision. New England was the team that had positive tests, not Denver. So the Broncos players weren’t happy that they were being impacted.
That’s a very short-sighted viewpoint. It’s also extremely selfish.
Everyone involved in the league – from players to coaches to front office personnel – has to be on the same page. They’re all in this together, trying to find a way to pull off the season. Sometimes, that means taking one for the proverbial team; on occasion, that’ll include having to suffer personally for the greater good.
Is that fun? Of course not. But anyone who has ever been a part of something bigger than themselves understands that this is often required. It’s the way the world works.
Instead of understanding that fact, however, the Broncos players were only thinking about how they were impacted. They didn’t care about what was best for the Patriots, the league and everyone else involved.
That’s disappointing. It’s also extremely tone deaf.
In a country that has suffered through massive unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic, with millions of Americans losing their jobs, complaining about not having a bye week is out of touch. Plenty of people would’ve gladly given up a week of vacation in order to keep their jobs.
At this point, more than 200,000 fellow citizens have passed away from the virus. Most of them also did “nothing wrong.” They were just unlucky and unfortunate. That cost them their lives, not a couple of extra days of practice.
Are the Broncos players entitled to their opinions? Yep. And it’s even understandable that they’re miffed by what transpired. But to make those views public, to complain about being in a position that most people would take in a heartbeat, is just wrong.
It also is character revealing. Tough moments show what someone is made of, something Vic Fangio understands.
“In a weird way, I’m kind of happy to see some of this stuff happen because you get to see who the whiners are, who the bitchers are, and who can’t handle adversity,” the Broncos head coach said yesterday. “And I’m going to try hard that the Denver Broncos don’t fall into any of those categories.”
The coach has some work to do in order to make sure that doesn’t happen.
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