Since John Elway retired in 1999, Denver has been an awful place to be a quarterback. Whether we want to admit it or not, Broncos fans have done a fantastic job at driving signal callers out of the Mile High City. I’m guilty of it too. At every Broncos game I have attended since Elway retired, I have worn my No. 7 jersey and even once, in the perils of a playoff drought, brought a sign reading, “Save us Elway.”
The Broncos have tried to replace Elway…more than 10 times. Do you remember all of them? (Here’s the cast: Brian Griese, Chris Miller, Bubby Brister, Gus Frerotte, Steve Beuerlein, Jake Plummer, Danny Kanell, Jarious Jackson, Jay Cutler, Chris Simms, Kyle Orton, and Tim Tebow.) Can you even remember a handful? Probably not, because even if they were—and are—good quarterbacks, we only had eyes for Elway—until Tebow. And that’s part of the reason we sent the rest back to sea level. The city didn’t really rally behind these players. At no point did any of these guys even make us feel like we had a chance. Essentially, they drained the blue and orange right out of our blood. At least, that’s what it felt like to me.
Now, for the first time in 13 seasons, I think we are ready to move on. Just like a security blanket, we will keep Elway in the front office, down on the field during the fourth quarter, and in the ear of our new quarterback. The string of incomprehensible comebacks and a positive-minded sports figure (who is just as worried about helping the helpless as he is about driving the Broncos offense) puts things in perspective. It’s time I put away my faded John Elway jersey. I’m not quite ready to splurge eighty bucks for a No. 15 jersey, but I’m getting there, just take a look at my office cubicle (above).