Paul Klee's three thoughts on Broncos-Bills at Empower Field at Mile High on Sunday:
1. Easy to root for ex-Wyoming QB Josh Allen
It was April 2017 when I became a Josh Allen believer. He was only a redshirt sophomore at the University of Wyoming. During a long phone conversation, Allen toed the line between confident (predicting his Pokes would make the Fiesta Bowl) and humble (“I want to have an NFL career, not just get drafted). Mostly, he came across as a young guy who knew he had a ton to learn and who wasn’t going to dance, celebrate or suggest he’s made it — until he’s made it. "I was put on this planet to play football," said Allen, then 21 years old. “I truly believe that.” A year later, Allen became the first Wyoming product to go in the first round of the NFL draft since Lawrence Gaines and Aaron Kyle in 1976. There’s a lot to love about Allen. The cannon arm. The thick frame. The fact a proud Cowboy still refers to CSU as “the sheep.” Most endearing, however, is that he saved the on-field celebrating until his passing offense ranked third in the NFL, until the Bills are on the brink of their first division title since 1996. Why the Broncos passed on a prototypical John Elway, big-armed quarterback remains the greatest Broncos mystery post-Super Bowl 50. One man’s theory: the Paxton Lynch experiment failed so miserably, the Broncos got gun-shy.
2. Farewell to Phil?
If these are the final days of the Phillip Lindsay era in Colorado, what a run it’s been. From Denver South to CU-Boulder to Empower Field at Mile High, the undersized running back has won over Coloradans young and old. It’s a bummer he will exit without fans chanting his name in the stands — because an exit is what needs to happen. The popular opinion elsewhere has been to reward Lindsay for his hard work with a long-term deal with the Broncos. In fact, the Broncos should make plans to move on. It looks like the Broncos got it right and Lindsay’s game has fallen off a cliff. He’s averaging a meager 2.85 yards per carry over the past six games. (If you’re a believer in karma, the freefall occurred right after Lindsay called out Broncos fans for booing the home team.) Pointing blame at the offensive line won’t pass the sniff test, either. Melvin Gordon’s blown up with 5.25 yards per carry during the same stretch. No space has celebrated Lindsay’s climb with the Buffs and Broncos more than this one. But there’s a reason NFL teams don’t invest big money in 5-foot-8, 200-pound running backs — unless your name is Austin Ekeler. Three more games, it’s time to give Lindsay the Mile High Salute — and pick his successor in the second or third round of the NFL draft in the spring.
3. If Colorado's pols were football coaches, they'd have been fired for being so wrong
The first round of COVID-19 vaccines arrived here last week, and Gov. Jared Polis was front and center for the photo opp — as if the man who's prolonged Colorado's suffering had a damn thing to do with the joyous occasion. (The opportunistic appearance reminded me of Denver mayor Michael Hancock emceeing the Broncos’ Super Bowl parade in 2016.) Polis reminds the world weekly he's going to “follow the science” when it comes to the next phase of nonsensical orders. That’s a scary thought. His science has been dead wrong for nine months and continues to crush the Coloradans who can least afford to be crushed. Here, let's roll call the nonsense: Denver turned its convention center into a $60,000-a-day hospital that never saw a patient; Closed private businesses while failing to force public schools to open, which experts say should've been done long ago; Whined on and on about the White House, saying the state required 10,000 ventilators when it's never needed more than 471; Warned against a Thanksgiving spike in COVID-19 when the holiday actually provided the opposite, a decline in positive test numbers. Then on Thursday, Denver officials estimated these ridiculous level-red death knells for restaurants and small businesses won’t lift for another "3 to 4 weeks," city health director Bob McDonald predicted. Hancock added, "It has been science that's guided us." No doubt, and that's the concern here. Question is, Why would anyone trust their science and models ever again?