If you haven’t done so already, I urge people to read this Sports Illustrated article on former Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler. While his time in Denver had ups and its downs that drew both praise and rancor, his Broncos story is one that needs to be remembered for what it was, an essential part of Denver’s 2015 Super Bowl run.
That 2015 season was complicated.
Peyton Manning’s 2013 offensive dominance had evaporated and the Denver Broncos were heavily relying on one of the greatest defenses the NFL had ever seen. In the Mile High Report slack channel there were cries to yank Manning during that second Chiefs game and a not-so muted celebration when he ultimately was. While I wasn’t outwardly rooting for the benching, I wasn’t outwardly defending Manning’s poor play either.
Who knew what we had in the kid?
After winning his first start against the Bears, there was palpable excitement for what Denver might possibly have in Brock. When I was in the Broncos Dove Valley team store the day before now infamous Patriots game at Mile High, I tell the truth when I say that the phone was ringing off the hook with people calling in, trying to get their hands on Osweiler jerseys. The orange ones were sold out. They had none left at the stadium. All they had left were white ones in specific sizes.
The following day, in the game against the Patriots, Brock cemented his Super Bowl legacy with the Denver Broncos in beating the Patriots in the snow in overtime. He may not have played in the postseason, but without that win, Denver doesn’t get home field advantage in the playoffs and very likely wouldn’t have made it to the Super Bowl.
Unfortunately, you’d be hard pressed to find any Broncos fan that thinks bringing Manning back in the final game of the season against the Chargers was a bad idea. There simply isn’t any arguing with that trophy, those rings, and immortality. It’s how Brock handled thing following that season that is the saddest part about his story.
In the moment, we all knew that forgoing the Super Bowl Ring Ceremony and White House visit was a shortsighted reaction to once-in-a-lifetime experiences. It’s for this reason that many fans, myself included, turned on Brock. He spurned the Broncos in their greatest moments. It was unfathomable to think that someone who was so instrumental in one of the greatest seasons in Broncos history would turn his back on the Broncos.
We watched as he signed a monster contract with the Houston Texans and flamed out, immolating his reputation and future in the process. As the Sports Illustrated article alludes to, Brock got his money, but it came at a tremendous cost. I saw it on his face when his Texans came to Denver after he left. I was fortunate enough participate in the on-field flag ceremony before the game and was in the bowels of the stadium before the Texans took the field. I wrote about it here.
“Hey there’s Brock,” I said loudly. He was looking at the floor as he walked by, but looked up when I said it. There was a brief smile and then he quickly looked away biting his lip. Brock looked both nervous and a bit morose. My dad and suggested that it wasn’t the look of someone exuding confidence before one of the biggest games of his young career. I agreed.
I can’t imagine the mix of emotions that he was feeling in that moment. From what the SI article said, there’s been a bunch of emotions he’s been grappling with since he was forced out of the game. As fans, it’s impossible to even begin to think we could understand.
That’s why I wanted to take the time remember Osweiler in this article. Broncos Country needs to forget the mistakes Brock made because he can’t. Who knows what his legacy in Denver could have been? Would he still be playing? We’ll never know. However, we do know that he was exactly the right person to help get the Broncos to the top of the mountain while Peyton was injured. Nobody else in this world can say that and Broncos Country should rightly salute him for his part in our most recent greatest glory.
We must never forget that without Brock’s chapter, the book that is that Super Bowl 50-winning season might have never been written. We should be proud of that and Brock should be too.
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