It feels like a lifetime ago. And when looking at the sports landscape, the landscape we have come to know and love, it certainly looks a lifetime ago.
And that’s not even looking at just the Denver Nuggets. Overall, there is not a single player on the current roster from that last playoff team. When the view widens across the state’s entire sports landscape, it’s clear that a lot has changed over the last six years. Some things for the better, some things for the worse. Take a look.
Starting quarterback – Peyton Manning
Head coach – John Fox
Big offseason story – Faxgate
Elvis Dumervil is released after he faxes in a renegotiated contract after the league deadline. He went on to sign with the Baltimore Ravens.
In the year in which the Nuggets last made the playoffs, the Denver Broncos began a remarkable run which resulted in two Super Bowl appearances – and one Super Bowl championship – over the next three years.
Opening Day starting third baseman – Chris Nelson
“Where was Arenado?” you ask? Nolan Arenado began in the year in Triple-A Colorado Springs where he played the first 18 games of the season. He was called up and made his MLB debut against the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 28. He went 0-3 in that game.
The manager – Walt Weiss
In 2012 Walt Weiss was in the dugout as the head coach at Regis Jesuit High School. In 2013 he had taken the job as the manager of the Rockies in what might be the most remarkable job promotion in Colorado sports history.
Record – 74-88
The Rockies went 74-88 that year, good enough to finish dead last in the NL West. They were eight games better than the Chicago Cubs, who would win a World Series title just three years later.
Head coach – Joe Sacco
Birth of the MacK
The 2012-13 NHL season was reduced due to a player lockout. In hindsight it worked out better for the Avs as their poor play over 42 games resulted in getting the No. 1 overall pick in that year’s draft. New executive VP of hockey operations Joe Sakic and new head coach Patrick Roy took a chance on a kid named Nathan MacKinnon.
Here and gone again
As the Nuggets were getting bounced from the postseason, Joe Sacco was getting bounced from his job as the Avs head coach. Enter former Avalanche goalie Patrick Roy, who was named the head coach of the team in May of 2013. Roy coached the Avs to the playoffs the following year but regressed in the standings the next two years, resulting in his resignation in August 2016.
After missing the MLS playoffs the previous year, the Colorado Rapids underwent a massive overhaul heading into the 2013 season. Among the changes were the release of the club’s all-time leading goal scorer in Conor Casey and the trade of forward Omar Cummings.
A high school senior named Christian McCaffrey rushed for 1,863 yards and scored 48 total touchdowns to help Valor Christian claim the Class 5A state championship. McCaffrey eventually played at Stanford, became a finalist for the Heisman Trophy and got drafted by the Carolina Panthers with the eighth overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
National championship winning hockey coach George Gwozdecky was fired from the University of Denver. The Pioneers went 20-14-5 in Gwozdecky’s final season. He worked as an assistant for the Tampa Bay Lightning for a few years before returning to Denver to become the head coach at Valor Christian High School.