Welcome to the maelstrom that only the glorious sport of football could ever dream to produce. The horse gallops on the ferocious waves, and the vortex below is ever threatening. There is no plan B. Either the horse stays afloat or it falls victim to the turmoil. Victory is the only method of survival. And at this moment, that horse is looking as strong as ever.
With even a slight mishap having the potential to end one's stay in an organization, the four phases of the Broncos have been the epitome of the nature of the business. Shanahan had built a hope-bringing but underachieving team. The former juggernaut had waded into mediocrity, and the old ways would have needed time in order to be reborn. To some, like me, Shanahan represented Broncos football. He needed to inject leaders into his team, and with defensive improvement that 2008 team could have grown into something special. Shanahan, however, failed to make an impression, and feel into the whirlpool. The team needed a jump start, and an injection of new blood seemed appropriate. The incoming cyclone, however, made an unstable situation into a disastrous one.
Consider, however, how the swells in the organization left the team where it is today. As Shanahan left, the iconic legacy that the Broncos created, the pinnacle that any NFL team dreams of reaching, left as well. With McDaniels came youth and change, but the team attempted to become the Patriots West, and the dictator at the helm drove the system into the ground. McDaniels' tenure, however, gave multiple opportunities for the next regime. The Broncos were given a base of players that resulted in a poor season and showed fallacies that called for a complete overhaul. One product of the McDaniels era came at the perfect time to replace the horse upon the grueling tides, and that person was Tebow. McDaniels not only brought in EFX by nature of his departure, he also brought in the player EFX had the pleasure to enjoy for the first year of the three-year plan. Tebow was a critical part of the resurrection of the 2011 season, and the first playoff game was a magical one that will be recorded in Broncos' lore. The cardiac kid was too much for EFX to handle, however, and fell with McDaniels into the sea.
Shanahan lead to McDaniels, which lead to both Elway and Tebow, and they lead the team to where it is now. Having essentially no constancy ironically gave birth to a historic opportunity, and even in this new golden era constancy will be relinquished again in a few years. The transitions of the past four years exposed the Broncos as an organization with a clear identity crisis. The wily legend's message had gone stale, and a system which once worked became ineffective. Removing Shanahan from the picture was a bitter pronouncement that the old methods of gaining glory were now ineffective in the modern era. McDaniels plucked the horse of off the waves and replaced it with a beaming young man that was full of exuberance and wore white, blue, and red to the core. In hindsight, missteps were bound to happen, and the fallout was inevitable; the young man never walked on the waves before, and that was the eventual death sentence.
Elway returned a horse to its rightful place, but this was a different horse. This horse was not old and weak muscled and weak hearted; this horse was young, full of pride, but it retained a twinge of the old Mile High Magic. The man who was the Broncos before Shanahan had returned, and the foundation built in the first year is proving to be strong. This horse is where the team now stands, and it is slightly different than the past.
Peyton Manning is a Bronco, and that is something special. I felt that Tebow would have taken this franchise to great places, but this is also a great opportunity. A few survivors of the transition from McDaniels, Decker and D. Thomas, have a great chance to be special. The draft originally seemed very flawed, but after actually considering the players taken potential seems good. My eyes tell me that Wolfe is hard to block one on one but is poor against double-teams. With a combination of Von and Doom, however, there is a massive potential for constant pressure in the offensive backfield. Only one of these guys can be double teamed by the offensive line when it is blocking on its own, which means two of the Von, Doom, and Wolfe triad will have only one blocker to take on and the result will be havoc. Opposing teams may have to keep extra blockers, which hurts the opponent's passing game by providing less targets for the QB in the passing game. Wolfe is the perfect 3-technique for this defense. Osweiler is a very questionable pick, but the potential rewards may outweigh the risk. I would have liked Lavonte David at that pick, however, and I had thought we could have picked a QB next year. Hillman provides speed and a style of running that has not been seen here in a while, and hopefully he can bulk up a bit and become a great overall back. Bolden is a high reward and essentially no-risk player that can hopefully become great. This draft class looks good and should prove critical in Elway's plans.
The front office is a good match for this team. Xanders had his responsibility diffused into three people, and as such he had no real role left on the team. Fox seems like the type of coach that gets the best out of his players and staff, and generally he leaves the X's and O's to the coordinators, and these qualities, when combined, are very effective in running a team. Everything regarding coaching and administration is set, and that general stability should be good for the franchise.
The Broncos went from being one of the most stable franchises to one of the most unstable. In the recent process of gutting two rosters, the team acquired a living legend and hopes to reach the top. Personally, I do not expect the team to win it all this year, but I believe year three of the plan will include a parade in 2014. The team needs one more year for the youth to gain experience and for another round of free agency and the draft to solidify this team. I truly hope the Super Bowl is won this year, however. The horse is looking strong, and the mixture of the old and the new is perfect in the current situation. The state of the Broncos is very good; the team is talented enough to win now but young enough to win for years to come. Manning will attract other good players as well. This team will be championship caliber next year, and this year also holds potential. It's a great time to be a Broncos fan.