Broncos Country loves an underdog. It cannot get enough of them. If you're a member of the Denver Broncos and want the fans to love you without hesitation, there's your key.
A big reason why is because the organization has grandiose tales of players who worked from the bottom to the top. No one believed in them, and yet they still found a way to become stars.
It's really a story for the entire franchise.
For today's Broncos, Chris Harris.
If for only one season, you could include a certain left-handed quarterback. Perhaps that's where the recent craze began, though to add him is an insult to the players listed above.
The "rags to riches" stories always sell. Fans lap them up like a dog does water on a hot summer day.
Look no further than Trevor Siemian.
For those riding the Siemian train, proceed with caution.
The Broncos fan base worries me. First they think Siemian will be the starter, now they're angry at the guy who won the team a SB?!— Scotty Payne (@Skotty_Payne) June 8, 2016
For every player who lived out the underdog story there are more who didn't do anything - yet fans still clamored for them to become one.
Bradlee Van Pelt.
With the 2011 season aside, you should include a certain left-handed quarterback on this list.
Every single one of those players had fans in a tizzy. Some still do.
"He'll make a difference, you watch. He just needs a shot. And everyone says he's doing really well in practice. He'll be the latest underdog for the Broncos. You'll see."
Gary Kubiak is being deliberately coy about his quarterback, again https://t.co/GKkWVqtrzi— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) June 19, 2016
That sounds eerily familiar to these past few weeks, doesn't it?
That bit of history helps explain Broncos Country's current obsession with Siemian, but that's only the start.
Fans and media take every word told to them as Gospel. That it's the truth and nothing but the truth.
"I think those two guys (Siemian and Mark Sanchez) are right there with each other; it's a very competitive situation," Kubiak said. "They're obviously ahead of the young guy. ... Those two guys have been very close.''
If you mention this is nothing more than "coach speak," you're on par with those who kick a baby. If you mention we've been down this road before, the underdog crazies insist they've never been here. "Why can't we root for him? He has a legitimate shot, you'll see."
The other factor to consider is that beat writers need stories, and they know when it comes to the Broncos, when you label a guy "underdog," it always delivers.
It gets people talking and helps pass the time until training camp starts.
That can't come fast enough.
I have no idea if Siemian is "neck-and-neck" with Sanchez. Since they're playing in shorts, it doesn't really matter. The bigger story is the magic trick that Kubiak has pulled on fans and the media. He's actually succeeded in getting many people to believe that Paxton Lynch, the first-round pick the team traded up to select, has no shot.
That's not to say I'm not rooting for Siemian. If he indeed gives the Broncos the best shot to win, I trust in Kubiak and his coaching staff to make that call.
To assume that Siemian is on the verge of becoming the starter or even can, based on his performance at organized team activities and minicamp, is foolhardy. Giving credence to anything that is done or said this time of year is asinine. Case in point: On Wednesday, the NFL Network had a story headlined, "Two ways the Browns get into Super Bowl contention."
If you listen closely, you can hear coaches rave about how awesome the players on the second list looked in practice.
Every player, save for rookies, should shine this time of year. They're playing in shorts.
The difference is the players who become starters do it when it counts.
Just how difficult is it to make the leap from practicing in shorts to starting on Sundays? Just study the lists of names. For those players whose underdog stories didn't pan out, the odds were too much to overcome. That's why those narratives need time to play out before there is any hint of truth to them. They don't happen often, and when they do, it makes those stories even more special.
Before you make up your mind about who conducts the train as the latest Broncos "underdog," proceed with caution.
We have been here numerous times before.
We also know how this manufactured story usually ends ... in derailment.