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Published on 05/14/2008 at Wed May 14 09:17.
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If you watch closely, you’ll notice there is a new trend of late.  The Denver Post has had a large decline in it’s sports section, more specifically the Broncos and pro football coverage.  It’s not just in one facet either, the quality of sports articles has fallen, the quantity has dropped and it’s users and comment sections seem to be revolting of late.  You can typically rely on the Post to have two or more Broncos related articles daily this time of year to keep the pallet wet even if there isn’t much on the news front.  On a similar note the RMN (Rocky Mountain News) has a smattering of articles throughout the week.  Usually these articles are not what I would call consistent, but more of an as they come approach.  Not that it was ever a bad thing, but just more of the Rocky’s style.

The game is changing though.  While I was covering the daily links last week for Kyle it became apparent.  Browsing to the Broncos section of the Post I was suprised to see nothing new for the day.  The most recent post was that of Elway buying a stake in the PBR.  That’s odd I thought to myself, here it is mid-day and no new Broncos or football articles.  I shrugged it off and proceeded to the RMN.  From there I was able to dig out three of our four links for the day.  It’s highly unusual that you pull almost all of the selections from one media source but that’s the way it fell on this day.  You’re asking yourself, so what?  While I was revisiting this task the following day I browsed to the DPO again to see what they had in store for us Bronco faithful.  Nothing, again…  Refresh, F5, refresh, F5, nothing.  The same PBR story.  So here we are, Tuesday the following week and we get our first fresh story out of the Post.  And what do they do?  Incense the fans of the team they’re tasked with covering.  How did they manage to do this?  By reporting a simple piece of news on Marcus Thomas.

But they couldn’t just report the story, they had to take the tone of guilty until proven innocent.  The whole piece reads as if it were written by the Florida prosecutor’s office.

Florida prosecutors said they decided to drop a cocaine possession charge against Denver Broncos defensive tackle Marcus Thomas because they didn’t think they could persuade a jury that Thomas knew cocaine was in the truck in which he was riding.

The whole article spells out the details of the case but doesn’t go as far to mention that Thomas was exonerated from a case that the prosecution knew they couldn’t prove past circumstantial.  Now I don’t want to debate the merits of this article inside and out, but what I do want to report on is how the Post’s readers received the Thomas article.  The following quote sums it up perfectly and matches the tone of the other comments.


You have got to be kidding me. Again, the DP skews the story to make it sound like Thomas got away with it.

Heres the facts. Thomas IMMEDIATELY took a drug test to show innocence. His buddy ADMITTED to the police the gun and the cocaine was his. Thomas had NO KNOWLEDGE of the drugs or the gun. Apparently to any RATIONAL human being, this would be enough to establish innocence.

But no. Prosecutor STILL TRIED TO FILE CHARGES? What is going on with this NFL witch hunt?


Pretty pathetic, Denver Post. Pretty damn pathetic.

It’s this type of writing slipping through to print that has many Bronco fans wondering of late, do they employ editors over at the Post anymore?  It’s almost become a running joke turning the Post into a laughing stock.  This was posted after the Thomas article.  “D-a-m-n….I wanted to read that Elway Bull article again.” I had to include that, I got a good chuckle out of it.  It’s not this one instance either.  Anyone who has read the Post for over 10 years knows well the history of Woody Paige.  I’m especially fond of his front page prediction that the Jets were going to take down the Broncos in the AFC Championship game during our second Super Bowl run.  Every reader knows to take Woody with a large grain of salt, he has a love/hate relationship with the Denver readership.

The problem came when everyone started to emulate Paige when it was realized where it could get you.  Woody is now a regular on ESPN, mainly on “Around the Horn” with a few apperances elsewhere.  Mark Kizsla soon followed suit.  Many readers seem to have a special detest for his writing.  Up the drama and sensationalism and you get tv appearances.  “Kiz” started to get guest appearances on Fox Sports Rocky Mountain shortly after these types of articles started to come out.  Hey, it makes for good tv I suppose.  Up until recently, I’ve always liked Jim Armstrong.  He was able to get the tv appearances and spotlight without playing it up.  His articles were always full of the interesting and humorous stats or nuggets.  They also seemed to approach things at a fresh angle.  But even Armstrong seems to have stooped to the lower level of late, making a sort of Denver Post trifecta of cynicism.

Compare that to the Rocky’s recent reporting.  Last week they had this great article on John Lynch up.  Along with a nicely detailed briefing of Kyle Shanahan’s promotion to Houston Texan’s offensive coordinator.  Their color commentary opinion writer Dave Kreiger has always been fair and level headed.  He can be tough on our home teams, but he brings a substantial case when he does so.  His most recent post “Calling It Quits Never Easy” raises questions about Denver’s most beloved sports players and whether they are past their prime.  Similar to his style, a tough article to write but was completely fair.  It included John Lynch and Rod Smith as examples of players who have had to hang it up or are starting to face that decision.

We’re even starting to see their writers reach the next level now.  Jeff Legwold had a recent appearance on the NFL Network trying to predict who the Broncos were going to pick at twelve.  Poor guy looks nervous as hell in the interview.  He went on to nail the Broncos second pick on the head in this round table even if it was in a round about way.  A feat no other sports writer went out on a limb to make, especially with Eddie Royal being a surprise selection by the Broncos war room.

What does all of this mean?  The Rocky has raised it’s game substantially of late.  They are hitting home runs in their reporting, specifically on the Broncos and seem to be grabbing at that top media coverage spot.  They need more consistency and volume, but are well on their way to challenging.  The Post has not been able to hold on to it’s talent.  Adam Schefter is the golden example of this, now working for the NFL Network.  But you could tell he was headed on to bigger things.  They failed to even keep Bill Willamson, losing him to ESPN.  Even though many of us question what the hell ESPN was thinking on that one.  Bronco fans are tired of reading cynical and negative articles one after the other.  Once in a while it is good to be negative, and objective, but not every story.  Watch the newest episode of Costas Now and they address why all of sports media is going this route.  I still happen to enjoy their hockey writing over there with the Frei, Dater one two punch.  The Denver Post has had a readership they’re starting to take for granted.  The management and editors had better take a look around soon, because their sports readership could be headed elsewhere fast.

  • steve

    agree with your observation completely. the DP is actually offensively bad, which is quite an achievement. i would argue that legwold is easily the best football journalist of the bunch. his mailbox replies and articles are thoroughly researched and contain quality football content with no cheap sensationalistic opinions. although schefter has found his calling at the nfl network, he wasn’t a great DP writer either — his mailbox replies were flippant and lacked any real thought. he’s clearly better as an investigative reporter than a football analyst.

  • Josh Temple

    Thanks for the comment Steve, agree with you on all but Schefter. Nobody knows the Broncos organization better inside and out than Adam. You’ll notice he breaks Broncos news faster on the Network than either of the local papers get out. He was my source for posting the Boss Bailey signing so quickly. Also Terrell Davis’ biography that Schefter penned was excellent.

  • hercules rockefeller

    During the actual season, I think the D-Post is better than the RMN. But you’re right, the Post’s Bronco coverage lately has been a complete joke.

  • Kyle

    Excellent article Josh, well thought out. I agree that Legwold is the best in town, but I really like Klis too when he bothers to write something. I think the DPO has better sources too.

    Overall both suffer from update-itis now and again, I wouldn’t say the RMN is any better at keeping daily articles. But the quality of the writing has dropped at the DPO, I’m said to say. Wasn’t always the case.

  • Josh Temple

    I’m not saying the RMN is better than the Post in all aspects all the time, but the ship is definitely changing course.

  • steve

    josh, i don’t disagree with you about schefter being good breaking news, but i guess that’s my point about him being a good investigative reporter vs a football analyst. he has his fingers in the denver organization but never struck me as a hardcore football fan. at the nfl network, he seems to have great sources and a ton of energy (or maybe a big staff) digging up news and rumors. i think that role fits him well. in contrast, i don’t see him patiently grinding through game tapes (when it was relevant while he was covering one team) and making observations about denver football, which is where i believe legwold excels. i only wish legwold would be a little more openly opinionated about players and coaching, because i would actually trust his insight / observations. i’m also partial to legwold because he’s old school: he believes in a sound defense and a punishing run game.

    unfortunately, while the RMN may have more quality content, there’s no question that i check in with the DP for breaking news. and while i’m ok with DP focusing on speed and RMN on quality, that’s no excuse for the recent negative tabloid style at the DP.

  • E. Halsey Miles

    Josh, you really got it. I’ve been a fan of Legwold ever since I realized that the RMN had a decent online broncos section too. Their site has always been inferior to DP (the previous iteration actually had bad javascript that would eventually crash my browser if I left the page open) and I’m not particularly find of Lincicome. Lee Rasizer also writes for The Sporting News, which isn’t exactly a good resume item for him, either.

    But Legwold is top notch. Not only does he actually gasp answer questions in his mailbag, unlike the others, he answers them with well researched information and he is pretty good at separating what is fact from what is his opinion.

    It helps, I think, that he is Denver’s Hall of Fame voter, and it’s very important that he be well versed in the entire sport in order to be able to do it. Woody Paige used to be our guy, and I think that alone might have something to do with why the Broncos are under represented in the Hall. Paige is pretty New York biased.

    I was completely flumoxed when Williamson went to ESPN, but his articles are far, far better on ESPN than they ever were at their best on DP, which leads me to believe that DP has cut their editing department down so much that editing in that department means spellchecking. That’s probably why Jim Armstrong writes such short, choppy articles; with no one to edit him, why bother pretending? If you make that the style then people will accept it.

    I like Armstrong well enough, but I tend to consider him rather content-lite. Which is probably the flip-side of the coin of having very regular articles.

    I do like Mike Klis, but he’s only slightly better than Williamson in the mailbag. Williamson clearly did the assignment as quickly as he could get away with; Klis spends a little more time at it, but I get really tired of his ass-kissing. Someone asks a really dumbass question and he starts his answer telling the guy how observant he is. Maybe it’s just hidden snide but I think Herc disproved that.

    This is a great article, Josh. Be sure to keep an eye on the Boulder Daily Camera too. They have some surprisingly good content occasionally and the alternate opinion, though like the RMN their articles tend to be further apart, and they rely a lot on the AP. Definitely no breaking news there but the occasional opinion piece worth reading. I’ve also read roughly one article from the Colorado Springs Gazette over the last couple years that was interesting as well, but I can only remember the one. I don’t check that one terribly regularly.

  • Josh Temple

    I think I’m going to apply over at the Gazette for their sports desk. All you have to do is copy and paste the Denver Post major stories and you’re done.

    And hey, I like the Sporting News for hockey coverage :P

  • Sabo

    I agree with Kyle and Josh on points each of them raised. First, that Schefter is one of the best journalists in the biz. He definitely always breaks the Broncos’ stories first. Second, I like Klis quite a bit. His mailbag pieces are filled with good information and are well-thought out.

    One improvement to the Post is the departure of Williamson, who might be one of the most half-assed journalists in the last 10 years. The mailbag was a complete joke when he was handling it. Further, his articles could have been penned by an 8-year old.

  • azbronco7

    damn Broncos Talk not afraid to piss off newspapers. respect.

  • Josh Temple

    @azbronco7 Let’s just say I probably wont’ be landing any exclusive interviews with the Denver sports media after this. I’ll leave that up to Kyle… lol

  • Kyle

    Actually I’m working on landing interviews with the local beat writers behind the scenes as we speak… I hope this doesn’t put a dent in that, but it needed to be said nevertheless and I’m not about to censor this blog just to play nice.

  • Josh Temple

    I left out a lot of criticism on the beat writers, for the most part I think they do their job. Getting more interviews when news is slow wouldn’t hurt them though.

  • kerry

    oh its not even a debate that the RMN is a better paper for the broncos then the DP. the DP writers are completely biased against the Denver Broncos. they have no problem trashing a player or coach of the broncos. but never have anything good to say about them. for example, when Jim Armstrong wrote his love article about Phyllis Rivers. then writers trash Marcus Thomas for the cocaine deal, but when he is cleared then the DP wont post anything about it until a week later. the DP sucks. plain and simple.