America made its decision last night.
But election season isn’t over.
Don’t worry, there won’t be any ridiculous commercials, bad speeches or (much) hate tossed around in trying to secure votes for these honors.
Instead, it’s just an honest look at the best of the best from the last year across the Front Range.
It’s time to assess the state of the state in 2016, particularly when it comes to athletics in Colorado. Without further ado, the first category.
BEST COACH IN 2016
Candidates: Gary Kubiak (Broncos), Mike MacIntyre (CU), Michael Malone (Nuggets), Wade Phillips (Broncos)
Winner: WADE PHILLIPS
Phillips was out of football before the 2015 season and then Gary Kubiak took a chance on his old buddy; it couldn’t have worked out better for the Broncos. Yes, these awards are indeed for this year, but the playoff run the Denver defense went on under Phillips’ guidance in January and February easily secured this honor.
MacIntyre deserves love as he has Colorado at 7-2, shocking the college football world thus far. Malone has the Nuggets back on track and Kubiak pushed all the right buttons at QB, but the effort Phillips’ bunch put together in beating Big Ben, Tom Brady and Dancin’ Cam earns him the win.
BEST MASCOT IN 2016
Candidates: Bernie (Avalanche), Dinger (Rockies), Ralphie (CU), Rocky (Nuggets)
Another year and another solid performance from one of the best mascots not only in Colorado, but in all of sports. It’s one of Denver’s best kept secrets who Rocky actually is, but even though the man under the suit is getting older, the character doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. His shtick is as entertaining and athletic as ever.
Bernie and Ralphie are fan favorites, while Dinger remains the absolute worst, but not all candidates are guaranteed to be universally liked. Maybe someday Dinger will be spinning his head behind home plate and the thing will pop right off. For now, Rocky still rules this medium.
BEST FANS IN 2016
Candidates: Avalanche, Broncos, Rapids, Rockies
Did you see the way Levi’s Stadium looked on Super Bowl Sunday? It was painted orange and the atmosphere felt like a Broncos home game. Throw in the fact these fans were out of their minds during the Steelers and Patriots playoff games, and it was a logical choice. Without a doubt home-field advantage was a huge reason Denver won it all.
And while it was easy to jump on the Broncos bandwagon, both the Avs’ and Rapids’ loyal fans deserve a major shout out. True hockey fans stuck with their team through the thick and the thin and Dick’s Sporting Goods Park has been rocking all year. Meanwhile, the Rockies have a party deck.
BEST WIN IN 2016
Candidates: Colorado Beats Los Angeles (Rapids), Colorado Beats Oregon (CU), Denver Beats Golden State (Nuggets), Denver Wins The MLL Championship (Outlaws), Super Bowl 50 (Broncos)
Winner: SUPER BOWL 50
Two years after getting blasted by the Seahawks in New York, there was something incredibly refreshing about watching the Broncos reverse roles and put it on a cocky team with a high-powered offense who didn’t know what hit them. The images of the Denver defense battering Cam Newton will be seared in our brains for the rest of our lives.
The reality is all four other candidates could have won this election if Denver didn’t bring home another Lombardi Trophy. From thrilling shootout wins, to massive road upsets, to knocking off the champs and winning another title, this was a strong group all around.
BEST PLAYER IN 2016
Candidates: Aqib Talib (Broncos), Chris Harris Jr. (Broncos), Tim Howard (Rapids), T.J. Ward (Broncos), Von Miller (Broncos)
Winner: VON MILLER
It’s a Broncos-heavy pool of candidates, and rightfully so – this group was historically good during the playoffs and multiple individuals, as the kids would say, balled out. Miller obviously deserves the honors after sacking Newton 2.5 times in the Super Bowl and forcing two fumbles, including one to score a touchdown and another that sealed the game.
Talib, Harris Jr. and Ward are three of the four members of “The No Fly Zone” and as hinted at above any of them would be worthy winners if it weren’t for Miller’s insane Super Bowl performance. Additionally, Tim Howard proved last weekend he was worth every penny.
BEST TEAM IN 2016
Candidates: Broncos, Outlaws, Rapids
It’s a fitting end to this election, as the Broncos dominated at the polls, taking home nearly all of the hardware this go around. After watching what Denver has done three of the last five games, it’s becoming even more apparent how special their playoff run was. The offense did just enough to get it done, and the defense proved to be the winner Colorado needed.
The Outlaws captured a title and the Rapids are just two steps away from doing the same, but there’s no question what the Broncos accomplished as a team was the best thing we saw all year. Still, this place is becoming Title Town, USA one championship at a time.
And with that, now election season is over.