Broncos Country’s worst nightmare

Credit: Ron Chenoy, USA TODAY Sports

The following is based off true events, with extra adjectives added for dramatic purposes.

It was a dark and stormy night. Dark because the sun had set and stormy because a hailstorm had just thundered through the Rocky Mountains and cascaded over the Front Range.

A crisp bite was in the air and a light wind whispered through the open bedroom window. T’was ideal spring sleeping conditions. I lay my head down on my fantastically fluffy pillow and let my mind wander. I grappled with the notion of floating off to sleep, and then eventually was transported into the mysterious land of dreams.

As my eyes shut and my brain relaxed, the portal into dreamland opened, and I found myself standing on the sidelines at the Denver Broncos OTAs.

I didn’t know spectators were allowed. How could I be so lucky? Like most dreams that you don’t realize is a dream, I didn’t ask questions. I was just happy to be watching Peyton Manning throw out routes to Wes Welker.

The precision of his passes was magnificent. The way he commanded the practice was inspiring. I was yards away from him, as he methodically barked out orders to his comrades. Dream or not, I was in heaven.

Then it happened.

During a passing drill, a gigantic lineman pressured Peyton. He fell to the ground and the behemoth of a person rolled right over the Broncos star quarterback. Manning screamed in pain. Everyone at the practice stopped cold in their tracks.

What just happened? Quarterbacks aren’t supposed to be touched during practice? Definitely not at OTAs! But I can still hear the screams.

Peyton’s shoulder was pulverized. I asked if he was okay. The answer was no. Would he be available for the season opener? Out for the season I was told.


Then I woke up. Cold sweats dripped off my body. My heart was racing. Legit sadness and fear gripped my body. What a nightmare!

I know. I know. Pretty pathetic. Most nightmares consist of demon warlocks. Mine consisted of a serious injury to one of my favorite professional athletes.

But when you think about it, if Peyton Manning were to sustain a serious injury, it wouldn’t just be me losing sleep at night. Millions of Broncos fans would be tossing and turning, wondering how the Broncos could do without their leader.

They wouldn’t be Super Bowl contenders I’ll tell you that much. The loss of a starting quarterback to any team is a huge setback. But I would argue the prospective loss of Mr. Manning is on another level, entirely. If he goes down, they go down.

He is the heartbeat of the team. Without Manning, there is no pulse.

One could argue the Broncos didn’t have their second and third best players on the field for much of the season last year. Ryan Clady went down with a foot injury in week two. Von Miller was suspended for the first six games, and tore in his ACL later in the campaign.

Even with those gaps in the lineup, the Broncos still went 13-3 and advanced all the way to the Super Bowl. And that’s mostly because of Peyton Manning. He is really good.

The best part of having a nightmare is the recognition that it isn’t real. When I woke up, and realized that Manning was okay, my sadness and fear transitioned into joy and hope.

Sometimes I still pinch myself over the fact that John Elway was able to lure the biggest free agent fish of all time, thus re-writing the history books of the Denver Broncos. That, right there, is a dream come true for all Broncos fans.

And now, on the cusp of his third season in Denver, the prospect of Manning getting injured gives me nightmares.

Because if the Broncos want their dreams to come true, they will need Peyton Manning on the field.

[fanmob id=”a4685d51-4839-4fe6-b179-ae0bbdded175″]

Like this? Click here Emmanuel Sanders’ tweet showing he’s ready for OTAs.

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  • Philip Trumbo

    You sould’nt even be thinking like that

  • Jim D

    Much ado about absolutely nothing. You that short on writing material?
    Of course you’re right, but its just a useless trivial and mostly meaningless statement with no intelligent thought behind it.
    The fact is, you could say the same thing about most contenders in the NFL. If Manning goes down, the Brock will step up. To the SuperBowl? Probably not, but that could be said about any team with a high caliber quarterback. Like it or not, all the glory and bs aside, the QB is the most critical position in todays league. The only teams that would not be devastated by a QB loss are the ones dragging up the rear anyway.
    Its a risk every team has to deal with.

  • Scott Diamond

    The fact is, Mr. D, that most quarterbacks aren’t reigning MVPs, most quarterbacks aren’t once in a generation type talent, and the fact is most teams don’t get a chance to make the biggest free agent quarterback signing in the last 20 years. That is the point. This isn’t just another superstar quarterback, this is Peyton Manning. A name that transcends the sport and has become a legend, an icon. At the end of the day if he can help bring gold to the Mile High City, he just may go down as the best to ever play the position. So with all that at stake, I would say this vision is relevant and that for this team more than most, this player and his condition need the extra consideration. Scary visual, good thing it is just a dream.

  • Black Knight

    What was written is the truth. No team should ever have a player that is irreplaceable. That alone become the Achilles heal of the team. Peyton is by far the greatest QB to have ever played the game. His loss would end this teams try for the Super Bowl. I mean no offense to the backup, but Peyton he is not. With the way this team is built, the only way this team could succeed with the loss of Peyton would be if Tom Brady were the backup and that is not going to happen. All of our eggs are in one basket. For the Broncos to win, they have to protect Manning at all cost.