But you know what's really a grind? Listening to the Rockies front office tell us, year after year, how they're going to compete with a smaller payroll, an inability to develop enough of their own players and with lesser pitching talent than just about every other team in the National League. By perennially continuing to shovel that you-know-what at us, they might convince themselves and they might convince those fans who wear purple colored glasses. But they ain't foolin' me or any of the other sports fans around here who know a good ballclub from, well, the Rockies.
Soon after the super beatdown at Super Bowl XLVIII, I started receiving numerous Facebook, Twitter and text messages from Broncos fans. And they all said pretty much the same thing: "Les, please talk me off the ledge. I'm so depressed (or humiliated/frustrated/embarrassed, etc)."
Okay, I'll talk you down. But first, I have a few simple questions for you. I would appreciate a simple "yes" or "no" answer…
And now, before you answer the next question, please look out the window. Is sun out today? If not today, has the sun been out any day since Super Bowl Sunday? (In case you don't remember, yes, Monday was a sunny day.)
Is the earth continuing to rotate?
Okay, you know where I'm going with this. You still have a pulse (or you wouldn't be reading this), you still have food on the table, you still have money in the bank (though still not much) and your spouse still sleeps in the bed next to you, right? Then come off the ledge!
I realize many people identify with the local football team and take great pride in said football team. But to identify with a team to the point where you're depressed, suicidal, or violent because they lost a game? Maybe you're a little too invested emotionally. It's entertainment, folks. Did this team NOT provide great fun, thrills and laughter over the last six months? I'll answer that one for you: Yes, they did!
Don't let four bad hours make you forget about the joy you experienced since training camp opened last July.
There's a saying in baseball: "There's always a game tomorrow." Well, there's always a next season in football. Oh, and Peyton Manning will be back next season. So will Wes Welker and Demaryius Thomas and Montee Ball and maybe Eric Decker and maybe Knowshon Moreno and most of what was a very good offensive line.
Plus, Ryan Clady is back. The defense --- a really good run defense --- gets back its pass rusher supreme, Von Miller, and a really good cornerback in Chris Harris. Pot Roast is back, too. Do changes need to be made? Sure. This team needs to get younger and faster and more physical. Do you have faith that John Elway recognizes all this, as well, and can get it done? I do.
So, come in off that ledge. It's a football game and a football team and a football season. That's all it is. Entertainment. A game. A game that doesn't force you to make any lifestyle changes because of one win or one loss, no matter how many Roman numerals follow it. It ain't life and death and your job and your loved ones. And if you insist on being invested so emotionally, well, you can't win it every year. Nobody does. But there is a next year. There always is.
I knew Super Bowl week would be ratcheted up some in New York City, but it's even exceeded my expectations. Normally, the Super Bowl site is a convergence of the football and entertainment worlds. Here in the Big Apple, it's football, entertainment, politics and a little baseball thrown in. (The only reason there's no NBA or NHL presence is because they're in season. Otherwise, I have no doubt, LeBron and Gretzky would here.)
The first night, I had one of the most surreal experiences of my life. Standing in the lobby of the media hotel was the Reverend Jesse Jackson. CJ and I sidled up to him --- he's a hero of CJ's --- and we had a 15 minute conversation. He was Jesse Jackson through and through. He wanted to talk football. He wanted to break down the game. But he did it in quintessential Jesse Jackson style:
"The constitution of the team revolves around the distribution of the ball. The Super Bowl mission is full of tradition."
CJ and I kept throwing glances at each other, not believing what we were hearing or who we were standing with. I spent a lot of time just biting my lip, hoping not to smile too much or break out laughing.
The lobby and Radio Row are full of stars. Howie Long, Kurt Warner, Eli Manning, Jim Brown, Hall of Fame candidate Derrick Brooks, James Brown (the TV anchor, not the singer), Joe Buck, comedian/actor Rob Riggle. Later in the week, Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner and Denis Leary are coming by to promote their upcoming movie. Baseball star Darryl Strawberry joined us Tuesday on the show. Also, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper will stop by our table and talk a little football and politics.
At one point, Booger McFarland walked by and all I could think of was, "I wonder what it's like to go through life with that name. And what would he name his kids? Phlegming? If he has any Indian blood, I guess he could go with "Running Nose."
Many of the stars are pushing a product. For instance, Shannon Sharpe has promoted KFC and sideline reporter Bonnie Bernstein pushes a line of chocolate. Kicker Garo Yepremian of the undefeated 1972 Dolphins brought me ice cream from Stone Cold Creamery. That's just how it works here. Everybody's whoring out something.
One of our loyal listeners sent me a Facebook message and said, "You're a bigger name-dropper than ESPN's Michael Wilbon." My response? Nope. Not name dropping. Just covering the lead-up to the Super Bowl." That's what this week is about --- parties, celebrities, interviews, selling product. But we always end up talking some football with these people and with each other. After all, that's why CJ and I are here, right? Right?