Hey Broncos’ Country, Pump the Brakes…We’re 6-0!!!


Oct 18, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (10) catches the ball en route to scoring a touchdown as Cleveland Browns cornerback Tramon Williams (22) defends in the fourth quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

I usually like to keep my articles light: game recaps, highlight good individual performances, on occasion, mention some areas of where I feel our Denver Broncos need improvement, and having fun at Danny Travathen‘s expense when he purposely drops the ball a yard short of the end zone while prematurely celebrating a gimme touchdown….just funning’  Danny! But I digress.

This article is nothing like those with the aforementioned topics. You see, there’s a disturbing trend on social media coming from Broncos’ Country. It’s unnecessarily negative, sometimes lacking tact and decorum, and most disturbing, it’s directed at the very human beings who represent us by donning the predominantly orange and blue. And who is the primary target of these slung arrows? Incredulously, it’s Peyton Manning.

Yes…that Peyton Manning. The one who has earned the nickname of Peyton “Freakin” Manning, or PFM for short. The same Peyton Manning whose name will be attached to every major quarterbacking record once he retires from the NFL. The very PFM who was hand-picked by John Elway to be the centerpiece of the revival of one of the league’s elite teams on the brink of becoming the Detroit Lions or Cleveland Browns after the Josh McDaniels era.

(I know, there was the magical season of 2011 where we won the AFC West by attrition and perhaps some divine intervention. But that was unsustainable over the long haul)

What leaves me scratching my head is that we are 6-0 heading into our bye week and have all but won the AFC West for a 5th straight year with 10 games left in the season. And for the first time since the Orange Crush days, it’s our defense that’s doing the heavy lifting while the offense works through a new scheme, with a revamped offensive line (in some cases brought on by injuries), and running game that is taking longer to get untracked than any of us expected.

The disrespectful social media posts toward not just PFM, but to other members of the offense was brought to my attention by a Twitter acquaintance, who is as loyal a Broncos fan as I have ever met. She corresponds with a few of the players and as a die hard fan, she values their retweets, favorites, and mentions. This young lady also appreciates their efforts on and off the field and lets the guys know it. As someone who defends her guys with the tenacity of a bulldog, the players appreciate and value her loyalty as well; and have communicated as much to her (The team’s official twitter account actually just follower her as a reward for her loyalty). And after all, despite being world class athletes, they do like to know that we fans recognize their hard work.

I have read some of the nonsense out there on the interweb machine. Some of it is harmless Monday morning quarterbacking from those who like to hear themselves talk or view what they believe to be their own “brilliant” analysis out on the web. Some of it is downright stupid, like all of the calls to bench the future first-ballot Hall-of-Famer. Then there are some who feel that they are entitled to make insensitive comments; completely ignorant or indifferent to the fact that loved ones of the targets of their scorn will almost certainly see the verbal jabs thrown at their husband, son, father, brother, teammate, etc.

It’s the aforementioned teammates who are fed up with reading about how their quarterback and team leader is somehow yesterday’s news. Some fans seem too quick to want to discard the man who carried the Broncos to a 38-10 regular season record since 2012 and an AFC Championship in 2013. Peyton is not the only Bronco who the masses of knuckleheads have in their vitriolic crosshairs, but those other players appear to be more bothered by the shots taken at Manning.

I’ll say it again, we’re SIX-and-freaking-ZERO! There are only 4 other teams in the league who can still boast an undefeated record. And after all of this hard work to remain undefeated, these guys have to read that they are somehow underachieving, or the quarterback for whom they would run through a brick wall should be benched in favor of an unproven commodity (In the interest of full disclosure, I love Brock Osweiler and have the utmost confidence that he IS the future of this team…emphasis on FUTURE). For now, the only future we need to get behind is the future Hall-of-Famer.

Our defense is playing at an historic level. Our best chance at winning another Lombardi trophy rests in the right arm of Peyton Manning. PERIOD! And don’t kid yourself, head coach, Gary Kubiak and offensive coordinator, Rick Dennison are not ignorant to that fact.

Although Peyton is having his worst year, personally, in 15 years, and his worst year as a Bronco, look at yourselves in the mirror and with a straight face say, “I would bench Peyton Manning in favor of Brock Osweiler (Or any starting QB from at least half of the other teams in the NFL)!” SERIOUSLY?!?!

Here are what Peyton Manning’s numbers look like through 6 weeks:

146/237 for 1524 yards. That’s a completion rate of 62%. Those are not bad for most QBs in the league. However, PFM has raised the bar so high for himself that these pretty good numbers look feeble. There are twelve quarterbacks currently ranked ahead of Peyton. Some of the names of those twelve: Phillip Rivers, Andy Dalton, Carson Palmer, Blake Bortles, Matthew Stafford, and Sam Bradford. Do any of those guys give you a warm and fuzzy when you try to envision them as our QB? No, me neither.

The bottom line is that far too many “fans” either never liked Manning, going back to his Indy days, or feel that because our offense no longer runs like a John Force funny car at Bandamere Speedway that he is washed up and are ready to cast him aside like 3-week old leftovers. Or, there is one more option and that is some people are just mean spirited and feel better when they attempt to take those who are accomplished down a few pegs. It makes them feel better about themselves. And as previously mentioned, many of them just don’t care how it affects those whom they target. Here are a couple of examples of how our guys are effected by the blowback:

Emmanuel Sanders from October 15th on ESPN NFL Live:

A tweet from running back, Ronnie Hillman is a little more surly though; showing his obvious frustration:   

So know this, if it’s out there, these guys will see at least some if it. Here’s something we can all look forward to, once the offense gets it figured out – and they will get it figured out with Peyton “Freakin” Manning barking out those legendary audibles – we will have the most well-balanced team in “The Tournament” and should be well suited to bring home, to the Mile High City, the only hardware that matters.

Look, this has been a well-oiled machine for the past three years. Now, there are some flies in the ointment. One piece of gravel in a cog has a ripple effect. Once those flies are picked out and discarded, we’ll get rollin again. However, with all of the temporary offensive warts, and with ten Games left in the regular season, WE’RE STILL UNDEFEATED, BRONCOS COUNTRY!

Look, my opinion is, as a fan base, we should let our team know when we are dissatisfied with their performance, both on the field and in the front office. I believe that it is our obligation to not allow them to get complacent with mediocrity. As a fan of the National League Champion, New York Mets, I saw a fan base rip into ownership and the front office for playing “Money Ball” in the largest sports market in the U.S.A. Eventually, the team made some moves to better the team, spent some money, and took us from slightly under .500 in July to 90 wins, a division title, and now, a pennant.

The same holds true in all sports. We are emotionally, and for season ticket holders, financially invested in this team. In Baltimore, head coach John Harbaugh has made public pleas during press conferences for the fans to show up at games and be as loud and raucous as possible. In one of our least favorite places, Seattle, they have erected a banner in salute to their fan base. A fan base which is credited with being the equivalent to a 12th man on the field. In Cleveland, Browns’ ownership has actually held meetings with the head of a fan group to allow them to air their grievances, face to face. So, yes, we do have a roll in our team’s successes and failures.

So it is OK to be critical. I believe that players & ownership respect it as long as it is done with tact and diplomacy. If not, those very players and front office folks will view it at fans turning on them. I can tell you that the most damaging unintended consequence to such behavior is that current players will be more reluctant to re-sign with us when their contracts are up. So show concern, show your displeasure, but in doing so, show our Broncos the support that has made us the best fan base in the NFL.

Now lets turn those frowns upside down and get ready for the final ten games and hopefully a run to the golden anniversary Super Bowl. It starts by plugging those holes in the heads of cheese.