The Super Bowl 50 victory will always be a highlight of my fandom. Watching the great John Elway prove he was capable of being the best on and off the field was great. Proving it with Gary Kubiak captaining the ship was like a Bronco fantasy. The defense was unrelenting, and Manning was able to ride off into an orange and blue sunset.
Denver won the Super Bowl with a great defense playing for an aging, legendary quarterback. Can you say motivation? Now, can they do it with a 2nd year 7th round draft pick? The 2016 season will be a test for the defending Super Bowl champions. As Kubiak has said, they are hunting for the next one, but the main weapon will be much different.
Trevor Siemian is not the flashy veteran signing that Manning was. He isn’t the first round draft pick that stokes the fire of passionate fans. He is a Northwestern kid, with more brains than physical abilities, who could turn out to be the quarterback we need, even if he isn’t the quarterback we want.
I am on record as saying Siemian is more of a career backup than a super star. But, I am curious about this season. Elway and Kubiak have started an experiment that has piqued my interest. Think about how the Broncos have won recently. The greatest offense in NFL history went to a Super Bowl and lost. The greatest defense in NFL history carried an aging legend to a Super Bowl win. Now, can a 7th round 2nd year kid take the reigns, follow the legend, and get the job done?
The odds are stacked against him. Seventh rounders don’t succeed at quarterback. They are the exception, not the rule. Think about the greatest quarterbacks in modern NFL history. This is an arbitrary list, so no judging. Here are five guys we can possibly all agree on. John Elway, Joe Montana, Dan Marino, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady. The only guy who didn’t win a Super Bowl was Marino. He was a first round pick, who fell too far, and had a legendary career. Elway was the highest rated prospect in his draft, and the number one pick overall. A sure fire selection, and an eventual Super Bowl champion. Same with Manning. Montana was a third round pick, and I don’t have to tell you about his career. Tom Brady is the only player on this list that Siemian can be compared to draft-wise. Shall we call this the exception?
Maybe Elway and Kubiak are mad scientists. Maybe they want this to be a big ole middle finger to the league. Is it possible that these two friends, former roommates, and football geniuses have decided they are going do this on their own terms, history be damned? They sure are confident in their abilities, and why shouldn’t they be?
The journey the Broncos are about to embark on is less than simple. Champions play with targets on their back. The defense will be asked to continue to dominate, giving the young quarterback a pretty nice safety net. And all the while, waiting in the wings, a first round talent with all the tools and promise of a guy poised to become a stud in the league.
Siemian is about to embark on a journey that will throw trial after trial at him. He has received the call. Now is his chance to prove the naysayers wrong. He is being handed the keys to kingdom with the heir to the throne waiting for a misstep. No pressure.