Any historian will tell you that history is never final, but that we are able to make sense of it by identifying eras.
So too, every National Football League team writes a new season of history every year, and each season is not final until February.
But the Denver Broncos have hit the halfway point with some great moments and an extremely positive feeling among all fans.
These are just some random thoughts that I have had with the statistical support having come from Broncos Media Relations Coordinator Erich Schubert.
One of the most positive signs that things are going in the right direction is when there are so many positives happening all at once that we begin to take them for granted.
In the game at Cincinnati Peyton Manning had his 48th career game-winning drive, which moves him past Dan Marino as pro football’s all-time in this category. This is actually a category first development by myself when John Elway was seemingly having a drive like that every other week. Eventually the Elias Sports Bureau, with infinitely more research available, took over and dug way deeper, creating specific criteria accepted by all as to what constitutes such a drive. In the process, John Elway’s total actually was reduced from 47 to 40 currently, and in any case Peyton Manning passed everyone in Cincinnati.
The Broncos had five sacks against the Bengals, giving Denver 24 at the half way mark. It puts the team on pace for 48, which would be the most since the 1999 season.
Second-year linebacker Von Miller had three sacks at Cincinnati, and he truly is on pace for greatness. Miller could finish with 18, which would set a new franchise record. In his first two years Miller has 20.5, and the best in Broncos history is Elvis Dumervil’s
21 in 2006-07.
We are at the point where fans and press watch with the expectation of seeing something good happen, and that expectation is borne out of previous success, creating the very best pro football version of the chicken and the egg.
The development of Denver’s young wide receivers brings a smile to every Bronco fan’s face.
Eric Decker now has a streak of five straight games with at least one touchdown reception, and the team record is six straight, held by four players. Decker has 16 touchdowns in his first three seasons, 2010-12, that already ties him with Lionel Taylor for the best ever by a Denver player—as an FYI, Rod Smith and Brandon Marshall each had 15 in their first three years.
And when Trindon Holliday took off on his 105-yard touchdown kickoff return, it triggered a flood of quickie thoughts—
–his return was the longest scoring play of any kind in Denver Broncos history.
–Trindon Holliday became the shortest Bronco to ever score and, while hard to measure, certainly one of the fastest.
–the only Bronco who has ever scored who might have been as fast was Jerry Tarr, who caught a 97-yard TD pass in 1962—Tarr was an Olympic sprinter from Oregon.
–Holliday’s record return moved his ahead of Goldie Sellers and Nemiah Wilson in the Broncos record book. Each player, both cornerbacks from Grambling, had
–A 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in consecutive games back in 1966. Wilson’s came at Kansas City on October 8, while Sellers had his the previous week in Denver vs. the Houston Oilers.
That game against the Oilers was one of the greatest I have ever seen, by the way.
Denver had opened the season with a 45-7 drubbing at Houston, a game in which Denver set a pro football record with NO offensive first downs—Denver’s only first down came as an automatic result of a kickoff return touchdown of 88 yards by Goldie Sellers.
The Broncos their typical bad season in 1966, the last before Lou Saban began to shape the team into respectability the following year, but still, a team has its pride, and the Broncos were itching for respect when they hosted the Oilers in the rematch on October 2.
Not only was that the game in which Sellers had the 100-yard kickoff return, his second of the season after the opening night score at Houston, but the Broncos posted a stirring 40-38 win despite one of the greatest individual performances I have ever seen.
Houston quarterback George Blanda, eventually headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, accounted for all 38 of the Oilers’ points, throwing five touchdown passes, kicking five extra points, and kicking a field goal to round out the scoring.
It was a fantastic football game, and I thought of it—via a Goldie Sellers flashback—as soon as Holliday crossed the goal line.
So the Broncos are at the halfway point, 5-3, and when the debate is about whether quarterback Peyton Manning could be comeback player of the year, OR the NFL most valuable player, OR both, that is a pretty good debate in which to be centered.
The good times are rolling again in Denver, and Broncos fans are hoping those good times roll like a steamroller going downhill in the second half.