On Sunday, the Denver Broncos debut their 2019 regular season home opener at Empower Field at Mile High against the Chicago Bears.
This will be the first game that the Broncos host, following the passing of Hall of Fame owner Pat Bowlen.
Prior to kickoff, the Broncos plan on holding a moment of silence in honor of Mr. Bowlen.
After kickoff, the Broncos will have an opportunity to bounce back after a lackluster performance against the Raiders. Loosing to their divisional rival 24-16 on Monday Night Football, cannot haunt the Broncos. They have a quick 6-day turnaround, while the Bears are coming off 10 days of preparation.
Head Coach Vic Fangio is looking for his first win in week 2, leading the Broncos against his former team.
Although there are many story-lines for this game, fans are eagerly waiting for passion and leadership from the team.
Mr. Bowlen had a famous saying that echoes with all of those who he touched. “I want to be number one at everything!”
In the last two seasons, the Broncos have not lived up to the winning expectations that Mr. Bowlen set as owner of the team. It can be argued the Broncos are in the biggest hole they’ve ever been in and are desperately looking to climb out.
Following the departures of Super Bowl 50 Champions Peyton Manning and DeMarcus Ware, there remains a gaping hole in player leadership for the Broncos.
Prior to the start of the season, Fangio stated that there would not be regular season team captains, only game captains.
“I just think everybody’s got the license to become a leader on the team,” Fangio said. “You don’t need to be appointed. I think leadership is something that somebody takes; it’s not granted to them, whether it be by a coaching staff or a vote. You take it. You don’t get proclaimed that.”
Just because there aren’t embroidered “C’s,” on Broncos jerseys, doesn’t mean that there aren’t any leaders. With what is projected to be a defensive street fight in the making, the Broncos have the potential for any player to step up as a leader on Sunday.
Not all leadership starts with catchy team breakdowns, or even yelling and cheering. Instead, the Broncos need leaders that can inspire passion, accountability, and competition the same way Mr. Bowlen did. That leadership will translate to immense trust, confidence and victories in the NFL.
While John Elway’s win now mentality versus rebuilding can be debated, both philosophies need leadership. The fact of the matter is, leaderless teams have the misfortune of football purgatory, something that is scarier than back to back loosing seasons.
On Sunday afternoon the Broncos will need to have leadership emerge and play inspired football. If they can do that, it will be an emotional victory for the Bowlen family, and all of Broncos Country.