Hello, dear reader and Denver Broncos fan. Yesterday, the team had a beautiful victory over the Baltimore Ravens, To start the regular season. But despite this, everyone is talking about our QB, and how he was inefficient, and blah blah blah. I wrote this chronicle to Mile High Brasil, and I thought you’d like to read it as well, to calm everyone down.
First of all, the thing that I like most about football is the fact that it the most collective sport in the world. In soccer, you always have that guy that makes the difference. In baseball, there is one player who hits the home runs at the right time. In basketball, a guy makes half of his team’s points. In general, that’s enough to win.
However, in football, the QB is just a part of the equation. Of course, it is an important one. Teams like the Indianapolis Colts discovered this the hard way.
Without Manning as their QB, they went from a perennial playoff team to the first overall pick in the draft. Even thus, the QB alone isn’t able to take the team all the way. The opposite seems to be the truth, as we have seen situations like bad QBs being lifted by their teams to places where they didn’t belong.
Or do you really think the 2011 Broncos deserved to be in the playoffs, if not for the defense? Or that Trent Dilfer has the makes of a Super Bowl champion QB?
Before talking about Manning himself, I will talk about the greatest legend in the history of sports in Colorado, the Duke.
Elway is eternal, his #7 jersey is forever retired, and his numbers took him to the Pro Football Hall of Fame as soon as he was eligible. But for many years (by the way, until the last two years of his career), he was considered a choker. It was all the same story we hear about Manning: he didn’t play well when he had to be clutch.
Well, Elway led the Denver Broncos to many Super Bowls, only to be slaughtered there. Until, at last, a team was assembled around him. He had a reliable running game, a strong defense, and he just needed to do enough to win the title. Twice.
But considering only Elway’s individual performance, the best Super Bowl of his career was a defeat. I will just use the rating as a measure for comparison, in order not to fill in numbers this Chronicle, but in the Broncos lost to te Giants at SB 21, he had a Rating of 114.9, far above his historical average.
As a comparison, in the first SB that the Broncos won, Elway had a Rating of mere 74.6. In the second victory, his rating was similar to the Giants game, 114.1.
On his career, the best statistical season of Elway in terms of yards and percentage of passes was 1993. He finished the season with a rating of 92.8, also above average, but the team finished the season with a 9-7 record, losing to the LA Raiders in a Wild Card berth. It was a resounding 42-24 loss.
Elway’s rating in that match? 92.7.
To whom it may concern, Elway’s average rating in the regular season is 79.9, and in the playoffs, 79.7. And he’s a legend in Denver.
Now for Peyton Manning, the story is similar. When he won the Super Bowl 41, he had a respectable rating of 104.5. But in the loss to the Saints three years later, had a rating 108.7, his best in his three SB games.
As a matter of fact, even in the disaster against the Seahawks two years ago, our QB had a higher rating than Elway’s career, 86.2.
I’ve written extensively about my opinion on Manning’s playoff record, but it’s all in Portuguese, so I don’t believe it really matters now.
In his career, Peyton has an average rating of 97.3, and, with the Broncos, 106.7. In the playoffs, his rating is 88.5, 89.1 with the Broncos.
Both cases show that a spectacular QB doesn’t mean win it all. He needs a team around him. And for those who panicked after the game yesterday, asking for Osweiler or, even more ridiculous, Siemian, I want to take them to a time travel.
Week 2 of the 2012 season. The Denver Broncos had a nice win the previous week, against the strong Pittsburgh Steelers.
The optimism was at mile high. Manning had had a good game, and everyone was confident. Then, our QB throws 3 interceptions, one TD, and ends the game with a rating of 58.5.
Still, the team lost by only 6 points. A drop in fourth down sealed the defeat.
Do you know what this year have in common with that one?
It was a new team. A new offense, a new situation. New players, starting with himself Manning, and a complete overhaul in the team, after a year of Tebow as QB.
Old dogs can learn new tricks, but you must have patience. And Manning is the oldest dog around, nobody can deny that.
He will make mistakes, perhaps more than before, but it also has to do with the new OL, who had never played together before, the lack of timing with DT, who lost all the offseason, and the adaptation to a new System.
We’ll have problems, and some losses will come. But I believe this team will gel with time.
And, most important of all, and that was the main point of writing this chronicle, if our defense plays every game like yesterday, Manning has doesn’t need to be perfect.
He doesn’t need to be PMFM, the hero, the myth, the legend. It could be Trent Dilfer, that the team would take the QB really far.
And when he has flashes of THE Peyton Manning, the one who, just two years ago, destroyed all single-season QB records, our team will be unbeatable.
Patience. It’s a work in progress. And a good team makes up for the mistakes of the QB, and takes a limited QB to places where he shouldn’t be. So we will be fine.
Ask Tom Brady, in his first titles, before he was THE Tom Brady. Ask Big Ben, before he was a big thing. Ask Russell Wilson, and back-to-back SB appearances.
This season will be exciting. As 2011 was. As 97 was. This team looks like kicking and screaming to me. And that is what takes to win a Super Bowl.