In the wide world of sports, the underdog is always the best story.
We can’t resist the athletes or teams who have “no shot,” yet find a way to shine despite the apparent insurmountable odds. Perhaps we find a human connection in the sentiment that the athletes are right off the street. Regardless, a good underdog story will always climb to the top of the bestseller list.
There’s a catch — as long as it’s natural. There are times it’s forced. Fans want so badly for a player or team to be that next great story, it blinds them to reality.
But when it happens organically, it is a sight to behold.
Fans of the Denver Broncos are witness to the best story in the NFL right now: undrafted running back Phillip Lindsay. The hometown kid is writing a remarkable tale.
In his first game in the stadium that was too expensive for him to go to as a kid, he became the third undrafted rookie in the common draft era (since 1967) to amass at least 100 yards from scrimmage and score a touchdown in his debut. He was also the first running back in NFL history to do so.
The doubter would say, “Nice story, no way Lindsay will follow it up.”
After Sunday’s come-from-behind 20-19 win over the Oakland Raiders, Lindsay is the first undrafted player in NFL history with 100 or more scrimmage yards in each of his first two games. For the game, he led the Broncos in rushing with 107 yards on 14 carries for 7.6 yards per carry.
The #Broncos were able to turn things around in the second half vs the #Raiders, allowing Denver to overcome adversity for a big win. On the @MileHighReport Radio Podcast, @AdamMalnati16 and I discuss some of the key moments from the game. #BroncosCountry https://t.co/PYaCKQm5ni— Ian St. Clair (@IanStClair) September 17, 2018
As I told Adam Malnati on the latest MHR Radio Podcast, it’s to the point now that fans need to grab the popcorn, sit back and enjoy the show. As we speak, Lindsay is the NFL’s rookie rushing leader with 178 yards. Saquon Barkley is second with 134.
But it’s not just Lindsay. On Sunday, two other undrafted free agents left their mark on this game in Shaquil Barrett and Tim Patrick. Barrett with the blocked extra point that proved the difference in the game, showing fans once again why they need to rock the Orange Rush shirt. After all, the Orange Rush saved the day. Now if we could see Barrett get more snaps opposite Von Miller, since Barrett finds a way to make an impact whenever he’s on the field.
Patrick had the clutch 26-yard catch to set up the game-winning Brandon McManus 36-yard field goal. There also is the touchdown Patrick had ripped from him after a terrible replay reversal, but I digress.
This isn’t anything new for this franchise or fan base. When it comes to undrafted gems, Denver seems to unearth them regularly. Some of the best underdog stories in the history of the NFL have come from the Broncos organization:
- Rod Smith (who should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame).
- Chris Harris Jr.
Hell, the franchise itself is an underdog story. There’s always this sentiment from people throughout the nation that Denver is still a “cow town.” That the Broncos aren’t that good.
In the wide of world of sports, the underdog will always be the story fans can’t put down.
And in Denver, there are plenty of page-turners.