Up until the 2016 MLB season, the San Francisco Giants had won a World Series every other year dating back to 2010.
While there were many theories for why this happened, one in particular stands out, and makes at least some sort of sense. The theory was that in the years that the Giants won the World Series their pitchers would work an extra month due to postseason play and thus would get a month less to recover for the following season.
Due to that, the following season the pitchers wouldn't be as sharp, especially during the stretch run in August and September. However, the next offseason they would have more time to rest and would be completely fresh for the following year. Fresh enough, in fact, to win another World Series.
Although the sports are very different, and the theory is based on the entire team, not just one position, a similar theory could be applied to the Denver Broncos. At least that's what they hope.
“We are going into this offseason ready and focused. I think this extra time that we have actually might benefit us, these extra months,” linebacker Todd Davis said after the season ended. “Last year, I think it was the shortest offseason ever, so I think this is some time for us to grow in areas we need to grow and improve in areas we need to improve.”
Last year, the Broncos’ played in what was tied with Super Bowl XLIV as the latest—in terms of calendar date—Super Bowl ever (Feb. 7). This year, they barely cracked the new year with their final game on January 1. That’s an additional 37 days of rest that the Broncos will have in the 2017 offseason compared to the 2016 offseason.
For the casual football fan, while 37 days from February to the start of September may seem like no big deal, the Broncos won't actually start preparing for the 2017 season with OTAs on April, 3.
“We gave it our all. At this point, you just have to take your mind away from football for three or four months and just recover and rejuvenate,” wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders said. “That’s what I’m going to do.”
This additional month will not only allow additional preparation time for executives and coaches to make offseason moves and get ready for the new season, but it will also allow the players to get necessary rest, something that may have snuck up on them at the end of the season according to Von Miller.
“I haven’t had an off day until New England weekend [Week 15]. I didn’t feel tired or fatigued until we lost to the Chiefs,” he said. “It’s a good break for me mentally and physically. We’ll get behind the leadership and the organization and come back excited for a new season and new players and new teammates.”
Although the longer offseason is more painful for fans, cornerback Chris Harris Jr. doesn’t think missing the playoffs is something Broncos Country needs to get used to.
"We just couldn't find that extra juice, that extra rhythm to get in the playoffs this year, to win those crunch time games that we usually win,” he said. “We aren't that far off. We just got to come back next year, win those tight games like we usually do. Offense, hopefully they'll get a lot better, hopefully, and hopefully we keep a lot of guys on defense.”
As Harris said, rest isn’t the only thing Denver needs this offseason. Improving all-around offensively as well as improving the run defense will be high on general manager John Elway’s to-do list. However, additional rest could be what the players need to make a stretch run, just as they did two years ago.