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Those who don’t support THIS great Denver quarterback are the real “fake fans” of Broncos Country

Colin Daniels Avatar
October 27, 2015


Southstands-badge-newYour undefeated Denver Broncos are finished resting. The bye week has come and gone and the team is back to practice preparing for their Sunday night tilt with another team with a perfect record, the foreboding Green Bay Packers. Broncos Country will learn a lot about their team and its preparedness for the post-season after it locks horns with a certified NFC contender.

Certainly Denver’s defense looks prepared to play its part in hopefully dispatching Green Bay. There’s been much hand-wringing lately, however, over the other side of the ball. Peyton Manning is, of course, at the center of the discourse, as we’ve chronicled here on the ‘Stands. Many fans have argued that Manning should be offered a spot on the Broncos’ bench while others have stood firm that Manning gives the Broncos their best chance to win, calling his detractors nasty things such as “fake fans”.

Extremist Manning supporters have gone so far as to assert that the team should cater the offense to Manning’s strengths and scrap whatever notions his new head coach has about how the offense should be designed. These fans would prefer to see the coaches allow Manning to operate out of the shotgun, toss forty-plus passes a game and rely on the run only to open up the pass. Basically, they want the staff to treat Manning the way the previous regime did under John Fox and Adam Gase. It worked then, they say, so why wouldn’t it work now?

It’s these Monday-morning head coaches who are the real “fake fans.”

After Peyton Manning has certainly had a splendid few seasons in Denver lobbing up his Star Wars numbers, John Elway and the Broncos’ brass fired the entire coaching staff after 2014 for a reason. They learned that the team wasn’t going to win a Super Bowl with Manning unchained. Instead, the Broncos returned to a philosophy that has proven itself in ring form. Let’s call it the “Bronco way.” And, rather than throwing our support solely behind a veteran journeyman five-year quarterback, let’s embrace a quarterback who is an ingrained in Broncos’ history as the great number seven himself … Gary Kubiak.

Kubiak was drafted by the Broncos in 1983 – the same year that a kid named Elway was selected by a Baltimore Colts team for which he would never play a down. After the Broncos traded to acquire Elway it was clear that the best Kubiak could hope for in Denver was a role as a back-up. Kubes didn’t hang his head, though. Instead he stuck by the Broncos through thick and thin, serving as Denver’s emergency plan for nine full seasons. In the eighties he studied with and under Elway and stood shoulder-to-shoulder with coach Dan Reeves and offensive coordinator Mike Shanahan through winning season after winning season and Super Bowl loss after Super Bowl loss.

Kubiak’s penchant for holding a clipboard proved handy once again when he returned to Denver as the offensive coordinator under new head coach Mike Shanahan in 1995. Alongside “the mastermind” Kubiak helped forge Denver’s football identity and coached the Broncos to back-to-back championships in ‘98 and ‘99. He stuck around Denver until 2005 when he struck out be the new head man for the Houston Texans.

Once the great John Elway assumed the role of president and general manager of the Broncos it seemed inevitable that Kubiak would one day return to Denver. Now, just a few years into Elway’s regime, he has. Kubiak brings to the table not only eons of experience as a play caller in the NFL but a proud tradition of winning – not just in the league – but right here in Denver.

Peyton Manning has brought Broncos fans great thrills. He will without question be remembered as one of the greats to play quarterback here. In his heart of hearts, though, as well as in the memories of football fans, he will have always been a Colt. Assuming he doesn’t win it all with Denver this season he will also always be remembered more for his near-misses than for his successes. His one Super Bowl ring is sullied by having been snuck away from an over-matched Bears team in a game in which he himself did not play particularly well. Aside from that one championship season, Manning has a well-earned reputation for whiffing in the post-season. And that’s where Kubiak comes in.

Gary Kubiak’s charge is to forge the Broncos into a squad that can endure the trials of an NFL post-season and emerge victorious. He has the experience and the knowledge to do this – assuming his quarterback has the skills and the willingness to work with him in the pursuit. The idea that Kubiak should compromise his offensive ideals and morph the Broncos’ attack straight back into what it was under Fox and Gase is laughable. The notion ignores the vast chasm that existed between where the Broncos stood and the kind of success that translates to championships.

Fans that insist Kubiak should cater the Broncos offense to Manning’s diminished capabilities are ignoring the great history of the Denver Broncos – a history that Gary Kubiak is an indelible part of. These Johnny-come-lately’s are the real “fake fans” in Denver NOT the ones who criticize Peyton Manning.


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