Call me crazy, but call me with a more creative solution.
No, Peyton Manning is not returning, and John Elway would not sign him to be the quarterback of the Broncos the rest of the season. Elway was willing to let Peyton go before the 2016 season, and that judgment cost the franchise a sixth straight playoff berth.
The Broncos are precariously close to not reaching the postseason again in 2017.
Blame Elway for the team he has assembled and the coaches he hired. Blame Vance Joseph for being a rather mediocre head coach. Blame the coordinators for not fulfilling their expectations. Blame the players for not living up their expectations. Blame specifically the quarterbacks for not being very good.
The blame game is easy. Salvaging the season isn’t.
The Broncos are at the midway of a season spiraling south swiftly. The defeats in Los Angeles and Philadelphia were devastating to the Broncos’ hopes of a Super Bowl, a division title, a wild card, a playoff spot and even a .500 season.
As Lionel Bienvenu so sagely stated on Denver7’s SportsXtra Sunday night, this season resembles 1999 after Elway retired as the Broncos quarterback – following two Super Bowl victories. It is also smacks of 2016 following the retirement of Peyton Manning as he went out in glory as Elway did, winning a Super Bowl.
Replacing Hall of Fame quarterbacks with some as successful is improbable, if not impossible. The 49ers accomplished the feat with Steve Young taking over for Joe Montana. But other examples are few, and the course of action takes years. Dan Marino after Bob Griese, Ben Roethlisberger after Terry Bradshaw, Troy Aikman after Roger Staubach. Rarely does a great quarterback take over for a great quarterback.
In 1999, Elway’s successor was young Brian Griese. The Broncos compiled a 6-10 record. Ever since, former Broncos coach Mike Shanahan has regretted his choice (the week before the regular season) of Griese over veteran backup Bubby Brister, who had substituted the year before in four games for an injured Elway, and the Broncos won all those games.
Over the next several seasons the Broncos scuffled to get back to the postseason. They were not serious factors until signing veteran free agent Jake Plummer, and reached the AFC Championship game. Then, Shanahan made another mistake by drafting Jay Cutler.
It wasn’t until Manning was lured by Elway and John Fox to Denver in 2012 that the Broncos regained their prowess.
Will it take another half-dozen years or so for the Broncos to recover from their latest Super Bowl hangover?
The future quarterback of the Broncos probably isn’t even on the roster now.
Elway missed on Tony Romo, who could have been the third coming of a quarterback to get the Broncos back in the Super Bowl.
Instead, the Broncos can’t figure out what to do at quarterback for the second straight season.
I repeat: Bring Manning back.
Get This: The Younger Brother was the last quarterback to win a game at Mile High Stadium.
The Giants beat the Broncos in Denver on Oct. 15, and the Broncos haven’t won since. Four losses in a row. Visions of a fifth with the Patriots arriving in town this weekend.
As Troy Renck of Denver7 suggested Sunday night, there are only three clear-cut victory possibilities remaining for the Broncos in the second half of the season – the Bengals and the Jets at home and the Colts on the road. The Broncos will be underdogs against New England and Kansas City at home, and in Oakland, Miami and Washington.
This could be another 6-10 type season, just like 1999.
Giants’ coach Ben McAdoo is threatening to bench Eli Manning after New York duplicated Denver’s Sunday travesty – giving up 51 points to the opposition.
Eli is on the verge of breaking brother Peyton’s record for consecutive starts at quarterback in the NFL.
Here’s the answer:
The Giants waive Eli; the Broncos claim him, and another Manning starts for the franchise for the rest of the season and, potentially, for the first of his career.
Oh, he has won two Super Bowls – just as his elder brother did. And he could duplicate his brother’s record of winning a Super Bowl with two different teams.
But Eli doesn’t know the system. Mike McCoy once adjusted overnight from one system for Kyle Orton and a totally different one for Tim Tebow, and the Broncos went on a run to the playoffs.
Laugh and scoff and call me crazy.
Quarterback is the Broncos’ question. Manning is the answer.