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Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Much ado about nothing (and a banner)

By Jamison Hensley

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is annoyed there is a large Joe Flacco banner hanging at Sports Authority Field. A Denver sportscaster vandalized one of the Flacco banners hanging on a light post in downtown Denver. There's even an on-line petition calling for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to remove the Flacco banners.

This is a non-story. The fact that it's generated this amount of buzz tells me that fans really need the regular season to kick off now. The only reason why Flacco is displayed prominently is because the Broncos-Baltimore Ravens game next Thursday is the first one of the season for the entire NFL. It's not like Flacco is the only banner on the stadium. You can look a few feet to the left and there's a huge picture of Peyton Manning.

By the publicity coming from this, it makes you wonder if this is exactly what the NFL wanted when it draped the Super Bowl MVP at the stadium where he delivered a dramatic playoff victory seven months ago.

"We appreciate the fans' passion and their desire to protect their team, but think of this game as more of an opening ceremony, a celebration of the new season for the entire league," said Brian McCarthy, NFL vice president of corporate communications.

Translation: This isn't a typical regular-season game and usual rules don't apply. It's similar to the Super Bowl where both teams receive prominent displays on the stadium, although that game is played at a neutral site.

Denver should be happy that the city gets to showcase the kickoff game, an honor traditionally bestowed upon the defending Super Bowl champion. Instead, it's led to an outrage, as if Miley Cyrus was announced to perform the national anthem. Would Broncos fans prefer to have a larger-than-life photo of Rahim Moore on the stadium? If that was the alternative, my guess is Broncos fans would be less upset at seeing Flacco.