Sunday, December 6, 2015

NFL: Head v. Heart

Patrick Says...

Shay and I were talking the other night about the current state of the Denver Broncos and more specifically about the play of Brock Osweiler and the injury of Peyton Manning. This convo started with a report I saw declaring Brock the starter for the rest of the season, regardless of Peyton’s status and his presumed ability to play in the upcoming weeks. Just to be clear, this the only comparable report I've seen so who knows what will actually happen when Peyton returns to full strength.

I told Shay about what I had read and asked for her opinion. What she said basically amounted to, "If the Broncos organization were to do the 'right' thing, Peyton will return as the starter as soon as he's healthy enough to play." She reasoned, after all, it is Peyton Manning, the future first ballot hall of famer. Furthermore, in an earlier post we mentioned how we'd like to see Peyton end his career riding off into the sunset after a SuperBowl win, like in the movies. Shay argued, we've been given a rare opportunity to see what Brock can do and we know what to expect from him moving forward. She thinks it would be a smart move for the Broncos to re-sign him to a long-term deal and give him the reigns to the offense next year on his way to becoming the next great Denver quarterback.

Sounds good right? And I do think it's all possible. When Peyton is healthy he has the ability to play at a high level. Take the Green Bay game for example, it was arguably the best the Broncos have played this season and it came against an elite team nonetheless. Manning needs one…yes, one more win to break the all time record set by Brett Favre. I can see it now: A ceremony celebrating the milestone. Peyton takes a bow, while on the edge of tears. A game ball shipped off to Canton to be added to Peyton’s wing in the Hall-of-Fame.

It is definitely romantic. Honestly, I would love to see that happen, let's get that part straight.  But, I don’t think it will happen, and maybe at the end of the day it shouldn’t happen. Let’s get realistic, a football coach's job is to give the team the best chance to win. Personally, I think the best chance is with Brock. I know what some of you are thinking, Brock’s only started TWO games! True. Football is hugely about momentum and catching fire at the right time heading into the playoffs. Take the Giants past two SuperBowl runs for example. Also, I don't think it's so far fetched to say Brock is the better quarterback between him and Peyton right now. I mean Peyton is still leading the league in interceptions (by a large margin) even having missed the past two games. I think the team might be playing better as well. The running game is coming around, mostly due to the way Brock can run Kubiak’s “system.” So…the right thing to do? Perhaps not. What kind of coach benches his quarterback one win away from breaking a record? Maybe the same type of coach who benched Drew Bledsoe after an injury to play some dude named Tom Brady, the 199th pick in the 1999 draft. Disclaimer: I am not saying Brock is the next Tom Brady. Just sayin, the similarities are too obvious to ignore.

A major question that arises out of this debate is, 'Should players lose their jobs because of injury?' Unfortunately, the simple answer is, 'yes' they should and they do. This week on morning sports radio, this topic came up. It turns out, former Bronco tight end, Joel Dreessen was in a similar situation toward the end of his career. Battling knee injuries, he was forced to sit out and take some time to heal. During that time a relatively unknown tight end named Julius Thomas came in and stole the spotlight. So it happens almost every year, and on almost every team. The biggest surprise of the story? Joel was completely okay with this. He now recognizes that a major part of the job description of an NFL player is staying healthy. He wasn’t able to do that and the next guy up, took his spot because it gave the team the best chance to win. At the end of the day, that's what it's all about…winning. It might not be romantic and often not moral, but it's the reality of the NFL. So I think it's important for the Broncos not to worry about the name on the back of the jersey and realize this is the best way to bring another title to the Mile High City. 

Obviously, Shay and I are both die hard Denver Broncos fans. She tends to take a more sentimental view on the situation, as opposed to my realistic view. What we both want is to see the Broncos win, period. We look forward to seeing that today, as well as the first Sunday in February. Whoever the QB, let's go Broncos!