Much of the past week has been spent dissecting the Denver Broncos and their future, especially at the quarterback position.
Let's pause here and take a look at the past for a moment, in particular at the greatest Denver Bronco ever.
You know, that quarterback who wore No. 7 and won the Super Bowl in his final game. You know, what's his name?
Oh yeah. John Elway.
I'm not going to sit here and rehash all of Elway's statistics and records. Those are noted for perpetuity in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Elway's legend rises above numbers and records, and that is why Broncos owner Pat Bowlen needs to put a bronze statue of the Magnificent Seven at Invesco Field at Mile High.
Very few athletes become not only symbols of their respective teams, but symbols of a community, state, and even region as well. Michael Jordan and Chicago, Dan Marino and Miami, Babe Ruth and New York, Brett Favre and...oops, never mind that last one.
The point is Elway is basically Colorado.
The next famous Colorado athlete is probably Joe Sakic, who recently retired from the Colorado Avalanche. Insult Elway in Colorado and you likely will not be allowed back in the state for the rest of your life. He's been retired over 10 years now, and fans STILL compare Broncos quarterbacks to him (have fun, Tim Tebow).
Maybe that's why Jay Cutler wanted to skip town so fast (I know, I know).
Even looking beyond Colorado, Elway symbolizes something much bigger than any team, city, or state. Elway has come to be representative of pro football itself. Fight for every yard, hold yourself accountable, and never say die—Elway embraced those values as much as anyone else in the long and glorious history of the NFL.
His multiple game-winning drives are some of the most classic moments in football history. Who can forget "The Drive" against the Browns or his clutch final possession in Super Bowl XXXII to give the Broncos their first world title (albeit with an assist from Terrell Davis)?
Off the field, Elway was just as great. He holds a celebrity golf classic each year, and during his playing days, he was accommodating to Broncos fans, which created a bond unique amongst fans and a single player.
Want proof of this? Watch the end of the AFC Championship game against the Jets. Elway's words to the Broncos faithful? "I LOVE YOU!"
Mile High Stadium exploded into cheers. It still brings tears to my eyes today, over 10 years later.
Also, I am obviously not the only one who feels that Elway deserves a statue at Invesco. A Bronco fan (I assume) started a random page on Facebook to lobby for a statue of John Elway to be built. The page, as of this writing, has just over 1,900 fans, and a formal petition to Bowlen has been formed and has 155 signatures (in only the five days it has been online).
Mr. Bowlen, you spent a lot of money to bring Bronco fans Invesco Field at Mile High, and all of Bronco Country is in your debt for that. That said, even though the stadium hasn't yet been open 10 years, it is already in need of a minor face-lift.
Put that statue of Elway in front of Invesco Field. It will have the same effect the statues of Vince Lombardi and Curly Lambeau do in front of Lambeau Field and the statue of Jordan by the United Center have. They make great photo opportunities and will bring fans in year-round (thus helping your bottom line as well).
John Elway already has a bronze bust. Let's hope the rest of him is in bronze soon as well.
To learn more about the movement to get a statue of John Elway built in front of Invesco Field at Mile High, please visit: http://www.facebook.com/StatueforJohnElway