The Denver Broncos went into their bye week with their tails between their legs. Many of the talking heads had written them off, saying they would "pack it in" for the rest of the season. No doubt that's how some of the players actually felt.
Yet, Sunday rolled around, and from the starting gun it was clear that the Broncos were playing with new life. Their offense exploded. They could run the ball. They could stop other teams from running the ball on them. They could have poured on points and captured the NFL record for most points in a game, had they not let up on division-leading Kansas City.
So what happened? What changed during the one-week hiatus?
With the Broncos season at a crossroads and in need of a savior, Pat Bowlen called upon the same man he called on so many years ago to resurrect the franchise: John Elway.
That's right. For the first time since Elway retired following the '98 season, he addressed the entire team. According to several reports, Elway spoke to the team about a myriad of things.
According to Bill Williamson at ESPN, Elway asked the team how many of them would be relieved to beat the Chiefs. Several Broncos raised their hands, to which Elway responded sharply with something along the lines of: That's the attitude that has this team where it is right now.
Do you think Elway's talk was responsible for the seemingly resurrected Broncos?
Elway talked to the team about never giving up, always staying hungry, that yes, you must take it one game at a time, but to never be relieved until you have, "one of these," as he held up his Super Bowl rings.
Elway concluded his pep talk by reminding the team that many of the same fans who are calling for the teams heads once tried to run him out of town.
Elway's message was all about perseverance. If that were a major, I'd say Elway has his Ph.D in that.
John Elway, more than 10 years retired, may have just engineered the finest comeback in Denver Broncos history. Monday night will shed further light on just how well Elway's talk worked or didn't.
Personally? I don't think San Diego is going to know what hit them.
-This article uses information from ESPN.com