The New Year's Time Machine

    If only we could step back and forth through time and witness pivotal moments in Bronco history. Some of the more experienced megafans on MHR may be able to provide us with some firsthand accounts of what it has been like in prior uncertain times. What were the arguments about head coaches and owners and quarterbacks? What was the consensus regarding certain changes in play style and play calling? What is the fan's perceived identity of the Denver Broncos? And maybe we can explore some future scenarios, some optimistic, some downright ridiculously rose-colored, and some (after all, we must accept the possibility in order to be wary of it) nightmarish.

Does anyone remember, at the risk of disclosing age bordering upon ancient, the moment you learned that a pro football team would be coming to Denver? What was the talk? What were people saying? Excitement? Disbelief? Cynicism?

How about the moment Bob Howsam sold the Broncos to the Phipps family? Or the scuttlebutt surrounding the other ownership changes, from Kaiser to Bowlen?

Or that first super bowl in 1978?

I ask those who were there, what was it like when Red Miller, the first man to take the Broncos to a Super Bowl,  was replaced (after an 8-8 season in 1980...eerily familiar?) by Dan Reeves? What did the fans and the press say when Reeves was fired (again after an 8-8 season... a pattern seems to be emerging) and Wade Philips, and eventually Mike Shanahan were hired? Was the discourse similar? Was the feeling of shock as prevalent as it has been since Shanahan was fired?

Many of us know how it felt to watch our Orange and Blue Thunder roll past the Packers in that redeeming Super Bowl, and then soundly snuff nearly ever team in their path  the following season, to watch John Elway hold that Lombardi above his head, at last.

Speaking of Elway, his first few years were not the same pageant of ticker-tape and confetti as his final two. Who has stories of the media and fan talk from 1983-1986, from Rookie to engineer of "The Drive."

And "The Drive." Many a fanpost has been written on that little gem.  

Please, those of you who were there, who remember the feel, the way the discussions proceeded, the arguments, the coaching options who were never to be part of Broncos history, give us a glimpse into the similarities and differences between those "fanposts" and these, between that time and this one.

And let's turn our attention to the future.  "White. A blank page or canvas. My favorite. So many possibilities." - Stephen Sondheim

Scenario #1:

    Wow this "improved" Denver Bronco defense is still just struggling, John. Shanahan has groomed Sam Bradford and they have led the Jets to a thorough rout of Mike's old team. I'm sure Pat Bowlen is in that pressbox rethinking a few decisions after 5 years of losing seasons and 3 head coaches.

    That's right, Al, you know, they thought they had their guy in Raheem Morris, but this Bronco organization just isn't what it used to be. The lack of discipline in this offense shows some deep flaws in the trust of the team in the coaching staff. Marred with penalties, and unable to get coordination on the field is stifling the offense, and the defense if rife with talent, but they just can't get anything done. Oh, and another pick-6 by former Bronco Karl Paymah just sealed the deal. I think the Broncos will have a tough time getting back into this one. 38-10 with 6 minutes left in the 4th quarter, and we'll be right back.

Scenario #2:

    Well, Kris, the Denver Broncos have pulled an upset here today as they clinch that final AFC wildcard berth. Coach Bates has called a brilliant game today to put away the Chiefs 28-3.

    Yeah, and this Chiefs team has been riddled with injuries, or they might have gone farther. But I don't know of a better coach for just working with the players he has than Josh McDaniels here in KC. I think he could get a chearleader to believe she could start at linebacker. The Chiefs will be a playoff contender next year for sure if they can acquire a little youth.

Scenario #3:

    And John Elway just can't get it done as coach as he could as a quarterback. You get the feeling, Dick, that there is some tension between the old legend and Jay Cutler. The broncos fall to 4-10 against a (now) 5-9 Raiders squad. The Chargers maintain their dominance atop the AFC West and the once proud division is in the tank for yet another year.

Scenario #4 (La-la land warning)

    What a turnaround this has been from a year ago! Steve Spagnulo is the man of the year in Denver. He gave Jay Cutler and Jeremy Bates a defense, and this offense has just been on FIRE! People thought Bowlen was crazy to fire Shanahan, but Spagnulo has led this team to a perfect season! 19-0 breaking the Patriots former best single-season record. Who would have thought this in August, much less in January!

    Absolutely. GM Jim Goodman and Spagnuolo bringing in the defensive staff they brought in, making those tough trades to get Darren Sproles and Haynesworth to the Mile High City, allowing Bates to continue to develop Cutler, and the play calling never misses! Those two old corners are just snatching everything that comes near them! It's like they can will the ball into their hands. They might as well have red and pewter jerseys on the way Leinart is throwing to them. That concludes Super Bowl XLII, Denver Broncos, 44; Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 17. A third Lombardi Trophy goes to Denver on the back of that man, Peyton Hillis, and the arm of Jay Cutler, in the hands of Eddie Royal, and Darren Sproles... (Thunderous applause)...

I could go on for hours. I'd like a few scenarios from the rest of MHR. Have fun with this! What is our team going to do in the future? Consider these New Year's Predictions, but not just for 2009. We know the character of our team. As fans, we demand integrity, class, excellence, and victory. We support sportsmen on the field and gentlemen off the field. We guarantee a smash in the mouth when the game is on the line, and a helping hand off the turf when the whistle blows.

We have our part, too. We must maintain the faithfulness in our fanhood. We are not fair-weather fans; we are Bronco fans. The sharp cowboy named Shanahan has tamed the white horse, and they have had some great adventures together. We are sad to watch him walk into the sunset alone, but comforted in the fact that his head is held high. Now what of Thunder? What of that alabaster steed that had been Mike's companion, trainee, vehicle for advancement, and friend? He is free, as is the nature of the wild bronco. He cannot be permanently tamed. He is liquid, always in motion, ever changing. He is power and strength and emotion and passion. This team is free as the wind. The right cowboy will come, to harness the power, and focus the energy. He will guide the development of muscles and thoughts the domesticated horse has lost. And in the end, there stands the white bronco, on a Mile High cliff overlooking a vast prairie, rising up on his back legs in defiance of a charging thunderstorm before him, with a bright orange and blue sunset silhouetting him, catching fire to his windswept mane. He is champion once again, and it is his freedom, his spirit, not the will of any one cowboy, that brought him there.

We love Shanahan. But Bowlen has unleashed a raging beast upon the NFL. Let's look to the BEST of the past and future in this, our time machine.


-Harvey J. Neptune

This is a Fan-Created Comment on The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR

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