Andrew Luck and the Denver Broncos: A Match Made in Cali
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While surfing Bleacher Report over the next few months, you will likely see a story on Andrew Luck in just about every team's section.
Some writers will make good points on why Luck will be headed to "destination x." Many won't.
Brace yourself for the overflow of Luck stories— it is inevitable.
Denver Broncos and Andrew Luck: A Match Made in Cali
"Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." -Seneca
Although he had no clue about whom he was speaking at the time, Seneca the Younger was giving us his take on Andrew Luck.
Seneca was a Roman philosopher who lived 2,000 years ago and will have absolutely no bearing on the 2011 Denver Broncos' season. Regardless of Seneca's impact, take a moment to draw your eyes back over that first line, because Seneca made a great point.
Preparation and opportunity are the two main components obtaining a franchise quarterback.
Nabbing Andrew Luck will certainly take a super-sized helping of preparation and opportunity.
Little did you know, the city of Denver has been preparing for 12 years, 42 days, and counting for Andrew Luck.
I speak of May 2, 1999, when John Elway stepped down from his position as the most talented and influential figure in Denver sports history.
Right then and there, at that podium, the preparation began.
And finally, after all these years, Denver is ready for another franchise quarterback.
I don't just mean, "Hey, it'd be awesome to have a quarterback who can throw a Vortex Mega Flight football over 100 yards again." Denver is mentally ready for another franchise quarterback.
No quarterback drafted in the last 10 years would have stood a chance here for more than four seasons—Matt Stafford wouldn't have; Matt Ryan wouldn't have; Phillip Rivers wouldn't have; Ben Roethlisberger wouldn't have, despite their talents.
Jay Cutler showed signs of success, but eventually he was traded due simply to John Elway aftershock.
Shanahan lost his job largely because of fan frustration—frustration built up by the lack of success without No. 7 on board; frustration built up by years of understandably high standards. Then, in comes young, arrogant Josh McDaniels, and Cutler is ousted.
Coincidence or destiny?
We, the innocent, loyal, Broncos fans of America have suffocated any hope of having another franchise quarterback. We have been behaving like that cynical hipster who hangs out at that underground coffee shop, the one who criticizes everything mainstream and constantly reminisces about the Nickelodeon 90's without once taking time to live in the moment and let things take their natural courses.
This isn't me depicting the entire city of Denver as a bunch of spoiled demons—if ANY other fans had actually been given the privilege to witness Elway playing for their home team, they would have adapted the same annoying mentality.
But we just wouldn't let any quarterback thrive—not Plummer, not Cutler, not Griese, not Brister. (Definitely not Brister.)
The real question is, "Why now?" What happened over the last year or two that all of a sudden gives a certain future franchise quarterback the green light to succeed in Denver?
Tim Tebow happened.
Roll your eyes and think of Tebow in all his majestic glory.
Think of that stupid Friar Tuck haircut he donned last training camp. Think of how annoying he was in college.
Now, think of his perfect presence at the podium, the way he can make us laugh. Think of the way he has become a leader, part of the Denver community. Tebow has done it—he' s fooled at least half the fan base into thinking that a player without an NFL arm can actually succeed
Thank God he did, because, more significantly, he has done is this:
Tebow has given the city of Denver the ability to love a quarterback again, regardless of his talent. Tebow has given Denver the ability to accept flaws, and heck, maybe even look past them at a few glimmers of hope.
We couldn't do that in the 2000s. We are now able to move on from Elway and allow quarterbacks to do their things without the weight of the entire inventory of John Elway Autos on their shoulders.
So, while Tebow may not be the quarterback of the future, he has subtly come in and done more for the Denver Broncos than anyone stopped to realize.
Part of the Tebow effect is also aided by the fact that, well, Elway the leader (not the player ) is in the front office now.
In a way, it's really comforting and relieving to know that he's back. The best part of all is we get a dose of the Comeback Kid, and it doesn't cause us to revert to our old ways of ridicule.
We've listened to the fan bases of 31 other NFL teams ridicule us for our habit of ridiculing our own quarterbacks. They've had a point—we can't expect every quarterback to be John Elway.
But we've had our taste of the steak, 16-years worth.
Digestion took 12 years, but sure enough we are finally ready to eat again.
It's not hard to draw parallels between Elway and Luck and subsequently see the opportunity of nabbing him in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Great size, laser rocket arm, the surprising ability to scramble, unquestionable intelligence and leadership, and great accuracy—both Elway and Luck share these physical traits. Both even attended Stanford University.
Elway did in fact struggle with accuracy early on in his career. He had a 1-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio as a rookie; he routinely made poor decisions; and he didn't stand out statistically until his 11th year as a pro.
If Luck is to come in and start right away, we'll give him the same cushion we allowed Elway to have.
More importantly, this is an opportunity for Luck to make a marketing and endorsement wave, if that is what he so chooses to do. I don't care how big or small of a market Denver is, the endorsement deals for a player in his situation, with his comparisons to The Great, in The Great's city equate to millions.
I'm sure a bunch of you are thinking: "It's not fair to make out Andrew Luck into the next John Elway. That's putting too much pressure on the kid, and he's not even out of college or a Bronco."
Hear me out—these comparisons are a substantial reason Pat Bowlen and Elway will highly consider trading up for Luck if we don't land the first pick.
If you want me, Bowlen, and everyone else to stop trying to find the next Elway, then enjoy Kyle Orton and mediocrity for the next four years.
Call me crazy, but I find that being able to compare a quarterback to Elway is a good thing. The ideal franchise quarterback should be given an opportunity to prove that he can handle extreme pressure, anyway.
Who Will Have The Best Career?
Just not the pressure we gave our 15 post-Elway quarterbacks.
So let's at least get him here. Give him a chance to shape his own legacy after he steps off the plane from San Jose International.
Orton or Tebow will be here to hold his hand and pretend they don't care about losing their starting jobs after a year— Luck doesn't need to play immediately. Consider that, without even stepping into an NFL facility, he's already proven he can be sit back, be patient, and learn from his elders.
It's called college—a place at which Luck chose to remain. If any quarterback an sit for a year and learn, Luck can.
It also doesn't hurt that Denver has a franchise left tackle, a potential star right tackle in Orlando Franklin, a future pro-bowl caliber guard signed through 2015 in Chris Kuper, and a blossoming receiving corps.
Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, and Eddie Royal surely won't all develop into threats, but one of them surely will. And when you couple that with Brandon Lloyd and possibly an athletic Julius Thomas in a year or two, things start to look mighty promising.
Heck, maybe even DeAngelo Williams signs with the Broncos in free agency if the chips fall our way.
When was the last time a franchise quarterback had an opportunity to join an offense that complete from day one?
Whether or not you agree with me, I'm sure we can agree on one thing:
Follow me on Twitter @JamesGBrooksIII
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