Opinion: It’s Time for Denver to Start Winning


Jake Bonansinga, Sports Writer

The last time a city had three different sports teams win a championship in the same season was 1969-70. The New York Jets beat the Baltimore Colts in the 3rd Super Bowl, the New York Mets upset the Orioles in five games, and the New York Knicks bested the Lakers in a wild seven game series. Since then, teams have gotten close, but no one has quite accomplished the feat. 

The most  recent attempt was Tampa Bay, when the Lightning and Buccaneers won in back to back years and the Rays made the MLB Finals. But within the next year and a half, Colorado sports can and should be able to take home three titles (if everything goes according to plan).

Denver Broncos:

Right now, this could look like a stretch. The offense is less than acceptable right now. Any football fan could tell you that. However, the Broncos are really only one good quarterback away from being Super Bowl contenders. The defense is top 3 in the league, with key pieces like Justin Simmons, Pat Surtain, and Bradley Chubb leading the way. The offensive line isn’t THAT bad. When fully healthy, the O-Line is good enough to keep other teams’ defenses away from the QB for the most part. 


The wide receiving core is phenomenal. Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick have solidified themselves as exceptional 1st and 2nd options, and youngsters like 2020 1st and 2nd round picks Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler are primed to have breakout seasons. Finally, the running back situation is far from bad. Even if the Broncos lose Melvin Gordon to free agency, North Carolina native Javonte Williams already is a star. With a whopping 35 forced missed tackles on the season (which hasn’t been done since Marshawn Lynch’s prime) and 903 yards with only half of all the carries, Williams will be competing with the best halfbacks in the league for years to come.


The only missing piece right now is a good quarterback. As much as I like Drew Lock’s personality and heart, he’s not the answer, and neither is Teddy Bridewater. So, there are two routes that the Broncos management can go. First, they could continue to pursue Aaron Rodgers. They already hired ex-Packers offensive coach Nathaniel Hackett to be the next head coach, and we already know that Rodgers wants out of Green Bay. For Rodgers, it could seem like an optimal fit. But, the former MVP is 38 years old and probably looking to retire in the next 2-3 years. The other option could be to pursue a younger quarterback as a long term solution. Some possible draft fits include Mississippi’s Matt Corral, North Carolina’s Sam Howell, and Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett. Within the NFL, the Broncos could look for an established QB in the Seahawks Russell Wilson or the Texans Deshaun Watson.


Either way, the Broncos are one half-decent QB away from competing with the NFL’s best. They could invest in improving the offensive line just a bit, but overall this team is solid enough to finally make a deep run in the playoffs for the first time since 2015.


Denver Nuggets:

Two words. Bubble. Murray. Right now, the Nuggets are struggling to get back to the same level of competition as when they came back from two separate 3-1 series deficits in the Disney Playoff Bubble. Most of this can be attributed to injuries to key players throughout the season like Michael Porter Jr and Jamal Murray. But as soon as this team gets healthy, no one can compete with them.


For starters, Nikola Jokic is already the best big man in the league, and one of the most dominant offensive players in the NBA. The Joker consistently puts up absurd numbers on a night to night basis. He’s the only reason the Nuggets aren’t bottom-feeders right now. Averaging 26 points, 13.7 rebounds, and 7.8 assists per game on the best PER (per-minute productivity) in NBA history. He’s on pace for his second MVP award in as many years.


In order to elevate this Nuggets team to contenders, Jokic needs to continue his tear, but also Jamal Murray and MPJ need to step up. We know how good Murray can play, we saw that in the bubble during the Nugget’s historic 2020 playoff run. When he’s on his game, no one can stop the Blue Arrow. If Murray gets going, and Porter Jr starts to shoot like we know he can, the Nuggets have a perfect scoring triangle to give defenses nightmares. Then, add Aaron Gordon’s defense and finishing abilities to the mix, and you have yourself a top 3 starting lineup in the NBA. If the injury bug stays away in 2022-23, the Nuggets should be able to compete with the best and take home Denver’s first chip in franchise history.


Colorado Avalanche:

The Avalanche are already the best team in the league, no questions asked. As of the halfway point of the 2021-22 season, the Avs sit at the number two spot in the NHL, with 3 games in hand and only two points behind the league leading Florida Panthers. After a very mediocre start, the Avalanche have gone on a tear lately, winning 18 straight at home and going 15-0-1 in the month of January (tying an NHL record). This team is already dominant and the players and management should be thinking one thing and one thing only: winning the Stanley Cup.


The Avs lead the league in goals per game at 4.14, led by the likes of superstars Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Cale Makar, Gabriel Landeskog, and Nazem Kadri. Yeah, there’s that many super stars. Kadri sits at 3rd in the league in scoring, Rantanen at 6th, Landeskog at 20th, Makar at 25th, and MacKinnon is not far behind after missing significant time due to injury and illness. The Avalanche’s high powered offense is paired nicely with a solid defense core and one of the best goaltending tandems in the league when healthy. If Avs legend and General Manager Joe Sakic can add some depth scoring before the trade deadline and players can stay healthy, no team will be able to hang with Colorado in the playoffs.


But, Sakic knows that this year may be a Stanley Cup or bust year. In the offseason, the Avalanche may lose many key pieces to free agency. Nazem Kadri, Andre Burakovsky, Valeri Nichuskin, Darcy Kuemper, and Pavel Francouz are only a few of the many names that will hit free agency in July, meaning they can leave and sign with any team that they want. Each one of them will be due for a pay raise, which the Avalanche simply cannot afford. Not to mention that Nathan MacKinnon will be in need of a new contract after the 2022-23 season. He will be more than deserving of a pay raise, although he has said publicly that he’d be willing to take a pay cut to keep a winning team together. Sakic will have some work to do in the next few summers if he wants to continue to compete with the league’s best.


If all goes well, Denver should be expecting three different parades within the next year and a half. Even if all three teams don’t go all the way, fans should be excited: these teams all have a bright future and it should stay that way for years to come.