McKibbin’s Scribblin’s: Redemption time for me and the Broncos
Sometimes in life, something happens and you feel like your energy, your soul, your “you” just drains away.
It happens when someone close to you unexpectedly passes away, when a longtime family pet gets sick and has to be put down to end the suffering for both your pet and yourself.
Or, as happened to me last week, it’s less personal but nonetheless deflating and professionally embarrassing.
But before I get to that, something more uplifting: The Broncos start the 2013 NFL season tonight! Rejoice! Most of all, revenge!
The Broncos pick up where they were unexpectedly and shockingly knocked out of the playoffs last season — on their home field, against the (still can’t believe it) Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.
That cold January day will be etched in my memory forever, and not a pleasant memory by any means. Like I said, there are events that seem to just drain your energy, and the Broncos’ loss with a touchdown lead and less than 31 seconds left, against a team they had defeated just a few weeks earlier, was one of them.
When Baltimore scored on a 70-yard touchdown and sent the game to its first of two overtimes, you just knew all the great things Denver had done that season were going to be wasted.
Fans often live and die with their favorite team’s fortunes, and it did feel like a little bit of me died with that game. Just like the 1996 Jagwads game (fans know what I mean by that name) and the 2005 AFC championship game against Pittsburgh.
You watch your team do so many things right for so long, then when it ends, it can be crushing. I’ve never fully recovered from any of these three games.
As I read the stories and columns and listen to all the talking heads blather on about how they think Denver will do tonight, I find myself often reminding them that one play didn’t cost that game. The entire team did not play well that day and the referees blew some early calls, especially Peyton Manning’s first interception. It was pass interference.
And I still think John Fox was correct for having Manning kneel down with 31 seconds left. Everyone was dazed and unfocused on what they should do after the Fail Mary pass worked for Baltimore. A recipe for another mistake if there ever was one.
At any rate, today’s game is a chance for revenge, redemption or whatever you want to call it. I want Denver to run away with the game and totally dominate. But I have doubts. They’re not the same team they were last year. They might be better, but it might not show for several weeks or even months.
But no one will be cheering louder for Peyton and the boys to stand tall at the end and redeem their team and their fans.
Now to the other, more personal event that floored me last week.
I wrote a story in last week’s Citizen Telegram about where all the City Council candidates stand on the issue of allowing recreational marijuana businesses to operate in the city. For some unknown, perhaps subconscious, reason I reversed the outcome of how Rifle voters voted on Amendment 64. Instead of correctly stating — as I did several months ago in a similar story on this subject — that Rifle voters opposed the amendment by a slim margin of nine votes, I told the council candidates and everyone who read that story that Rifle voters narrowly favored the amendment by that margin.
The mistake was brought to my attention by city officials, and I have apologized to them, all the council candidates and now the voters and Telegram readers. I am sorry.
It drained my energy for a time, too, since I’ve always strived to be as accurate as possible and present the facts. I fumbled this one badly, just like Ronnie Hillman at the goal line.
But like Hillman and the Broncos, I’m getting back up and pledging to work harder, be more thorough and tell as accurate a story as I can moving forward.
I’ve never expected anything less from myself, and you shouldn’t either.
Mike McKibbin is the editor of The Citizen Telegram.
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Newly hired Rifle Police Officer Kalob Foreman refers to the feeling as getting “Monday-morning quarterbacked to death.”