2015- Handing the reigns over
This season saw Manning working with a brand new head coach. Elway’s former teammate and offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak has come back to Denver and was looking to bringing the winning attitude back to the Broncos. And it worked for the first seven games, no matter how ugly the wins were.
Something seemed off with Manning in the first half of the season, but he had a defense that was working around the clock and started to impress Broncos Country. But, another matchup with the Colts and a division game with the Chiefs revealed something. A partial tear in his foot.
Kubiak made the tough choice and handed the reigns over to Brock Osweiler. A quarterback who’s only snaps of meaning in the regular season came against the Chargers, when it appeared Manning was hurt the year before.
Now Osweiler was going to have to play some meaningful snaps for a while. And that is where the stories and rumors came in. From looking to play in 2016 and not looking forward to being the backup. And of course, we all know what the icing on top of the cake was.
As a fan of Manning, it really hurt me to see him going through all of that while he was on the bench. But the team did survive and when Week 17 rolled around, we got to see “The Sheriff” take the field one last time in the regular season.
His numbers were not flashy by any means, but he did have one more regular season trick up his sleeve. That was leading the Broncos to a fifth straight AFC West title, a first round bye so his foot can heal up for another week, and home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.
To see The Sheriff take the field and lead the team to victory brought a tear to my eye. And it was really touching to see something like that take place.