Thinking back to 2010, the Denver Broncos were finishing up the worst season in franchise history. At 4-12 with no head coach, no direction and no clear cut starting quarterback. My how much three years can change.
After a season in which Broncos fans saw the hyped up coach Josh McDaniels fired after a dismissal season and Kyle Orton benched in favor of up and coming rookie Tim Tebow, the Broncos decided to make a few changes that would be taken in little steps. Led by the famous quarterback for the Broncos, John Elway took a front office job and began the master plan.
First, they needed a coach that could guide the team and had success in the league. They found that in John Fox, who was a blessing due to his termination from the Carolina Panthers during that same season. He has given the team hope that a veteran who has coached on the big stage before could be the stepping stone to success.
They were able to find that success as Fox and Tebow led the Broncos to their first division title and playoff birth since the 2005 season in the very first year. Adding on a little bonus, they won their first playoff game since that time when Tebow hit Demaryius Thomas for the game-winning touchdown that shocked the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Then step two came along. This one just happened to fall in their laps. With the discussion of the mobile quarterback Tebow becoming the favorite to start for the team in 2012, the unthinkable happened. The Indianapolis Colts released Peyton Manning. Elway pursued Manning and happened to get him to sign and take a big gamble.
It came at the expense of the up and coming Tebow, who was traded just one day later. Now the Broncos had a quarterback who had won the Super Bowl and had success that could keep them on track. In Manning’s first full season as the starting quarterback, he led them to a 13-3 record, good for another division title and home field advantage. However, they would surprisingly fall to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens.
Then the final step, get Manning some weapons. He already had Thomas and Eric Decker. The signing of Wes Welker and the emergence of tight end Julius Thomas and running back Knowshon Moreno helped the cause. The Broncos once again finished 13-3 and had more success and now are playing for a championship.
It is an amazing thing to see a team develop and mature so much since their lowest point of the franchise’s history. I am sure that the players that were involved in that 4-12 season took that into consideration and learned a lot from it to become stronger as a team with each passing year. With everything that they have gone through, it is such a great feeling for Broncos fans. No matter what, the fans should be proud that this fast-paced development got them this far, but they would love to see their team come out on top come Sunday.
And I am sure the team will want to see that happen as well.