Before I begin, let me start with disclaimer: I am a huge Tebow fan and believe he will become an elite QB over time. However, that has nothing to do with this story…
I lived in Arizona more than 10 years ago when the newly formed AZ Diamondbacks MLB franchise was just getting off the ground. The team obtained two aging pitchers, Randy Johnson (age 38) and Curt Schilling (age 35), both of whom were past superstars thought to be past their prime. The Diamondbacks paid a king's ransom for both of them. Now in 2012 the Denver Broncos are in an eerily similar situation, a young team with the possibility of paying a fortune for an aging superstar in an attempt to win now. Will it be worth it?
In order to obtain Schilling, the team had to trade the young up-and-coming star first baseman (Travis Lee), along with a number of other key players. Travis Lee was the face of the franchise at that time, and the moves were hotly debated. Many felt the team was giving up its future in order to win now at all costs. The advanced age and health of Johnson and Schilling added fuel to the debate. Plus, it was pretty much a given that the Yankees would win every year. They seemed to be unbeatable back then. Why mortgage the future for the impossible task of trying to do the impossible of winning now with two over-the-hill aces?
Well, I think y'all know the rest of the story. The Diamondbacks went on to win the world championship in 2001, beating the New York Yankees in the World Series in an unforgettable game 7 victory. The two pitchers, Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling pitched a game for the decades...unforgettable, inspiring, amazing performances. They were both on the cover of Sports Illustrated and voted co-winners of sportsman of the year that year, along with a number of other accolades.
There have been volumes written about the storylines from the World Series that year. I won't go into all the details here, but let me say every detail of that season, The Series, and in particularly Game 7, will stick with me forever. The excitement, anxiety, and emotional high after pulling out the victory over the dreaded Yankees was nearly indescribable. It’s one thing to be a fan of a team, but to be a fan while YOUR TEAM proves it is THE BEST TEAM IN THE WORLD takes you to an entire different level, joyful memories you will carry the rest of your life.
After the miracle year in 2001, the Diamondbacks fell back to the pack in the following years. They won the NL West in 2002, before being swept in the NLDS. After that they became one of the worst teams in baseball the rest of the decade.
So both camps ended up being right, the team did essentially mortgage the future to buy a championship. Was it worth it? HELL YES!!!! Let me make sure I am absolutely clear:
Was it worth it to win the MLB championship in 2001, even though the team would lose for years afterwards?
Ask any fan who witnessed a championship run, were all the dog years of losing worth it to get to the championship? I’m willing to bet the vast majority will agree with me. Yes! Very few teams ever get to experience the thrill of winning the whole banana. Sometimes you have to do whatever it takes to get there.
Now back to the Broncos. Who knows if the Broncos will be able to actually land Peyton Manning. However, I am thrilled they are going all in trying to sign him. I love Tebow and think he has all the potential in the world. I would hate to see Tebow go. However, Peyton Manning is our Randy Johnson…our chance to win now. With the $$$ the Broncos have available this year, if they can ink PM to a contract we have a very real shot at winning our first title since the Elway years in the next year or two.
Yes, the years afterward may suck. But I bet the Broncos handle the post-Manning era quite a bit better than the Diamondbacks did with their superstars. It’s a gamble I’m more than willing to take…if only to experience the thrill of winning again!
DO IT! DO IT! Sign Manning and let’s get this show on the road!