A few days ago, in the throws of the Orton/Tebow debate, I reached a point where my dislike of Orton was going to cause me to stop watching Bronco football. I felt like I could no longer enjoy the thing that has been so important to me for so long, and I was ready to lay the blame squarely at the feet of Kyle Orton. I felt I could overlook all the other factors that have made us so bad over the past five years, if we just had someone to give us some hope, just a spark, to make us believe in the magic again. What I really want is to see Terrell, Griffin, Stink, Zimmerman, Rod, Shannon, Eddie, and yes the Duke take the field again and bring back the glory of years gone by. Its as if I have been living in a house which used to be full of good friends and great times and now I am surrounded by strangers who are sitting in the chairs of the players I loved.
Football can be about so much more than just a dumb sporting event. The Broncos have always played a big part in the lives of those of us who have close ties to Colorado and the Southwest region and it is hard to see someone leading the team, representing all it is and has been, who we feel does not have an understanding of who we are as fans, and the traditions we hold so dear. I don't believe Orton knows or cares to understand what being the starting QB for the Broncos means. What I now believe is it is not his job to care. His job is to win games, get paid, and leave a legacy of some sort that he can be proud of. I believe he cares about his teammates and about winning, but I truly believe he would be happy doing those things anywhere in the country. I think he played pretty well considering these facts, but deep down I want more. Actually I can't stand less than a leader of this team who makes a point of learning the history of this team and embraces what it means to be a Bronco. They have to learn about our history, our culture, and even care about the fans on a personal level.
This is why it has been so hard to get a lasting QB relationship after Elway. Each player has come in and immediately felt the tension of being compared to him. What the next great QB of the Broncos better realize is we know they wont be Elway, but we do want them to be a Bronco. We want them to actually care about the fans, and the uniform, and the stupid horse. We want them to learn about our greats and pay them respect, and to watch replays of some of the historical games. I want someone who knows why the wins were so sweet by seeing how bitter the four losses were. Denver fans can tell when a player is playing for something more then the win, or the stats, or pride.
I am not going to say this is any player we have currently here, but I will say Orton has never given me the impression he cares about any of this. This is why he can't win me over. This is why he can't win over the majority of fans. Winning will help, but deep down we want someone who bleeds orange with us. Someone who will play with a migraine. Someone who will launch themselves into the helicopter play. Someone who knows us and cares about the things we care about.
In summary it was a great team win and I will continue to watch as I saw a lot of player cracking off mile high salutes and going all out as Broncos, but I will continue to wait for the leader of the future. One who wants to be here and win as a Bronco, and who understands what it means to be a Bronco.