Elway’s return necessary

Karl Terry

It’s been tough without John, I’m glad he’s back.

OK, the realist in me knows that I’ll never see another “Drive” or watch my team’s quarterback sacrifice his body by taking a “helicopter hit” in the Super Bowl, but having John Elway back in a leadership role (vice president in charge of football operations) on our beloved team gives us Bronco fans hope.

A five-year drought in playoff appearances was capped off with a 4-12 season this year. That hurts for fans who watched Elway keep us on the edge of greatness throughout his whole career with 10 playoff appearances including three Super Bowl losses before he capped his glory in Denver with back-to-back championships.

Elway knew his body was breaking down and unlike some other Super Bowl hero quarterbacks, got out while the getting was good. We all understood, but we’ve been hurting since he left. With Elway on the field we somehow knew Mile High Magic was possible.

Yeah, maybe I’m putting a little too much faith in one man, after all he’s not Roger Staubach or something. He’s mortal and I should know.

I took a lot of heat and ribbing in Elway’s early years with the Broncos. My cousin who grew up in Pullman, Wash., where Elway lived while his dad Jack was at Washington State, was unimpressed and let me know. He had competed with Elway on the football field in the local Punt, Pass and Kick competition, and I understand placed higher.

It didn’t matter because I liked the way he competed. I followed the Broncos to some degree before Elway arrived but with him at quarterback I became a fan. I became a fan even before I ever arrived in Colorado. Maybe I even moved there to be closer to Elway and the Broncos.

I saw him play in person several times and ran into him once in a hotel bar in Denver. My wife never forgave me for not getting his autograph.

This season was tough and to be honest I could have easily gone back to being a Cowboy fan during the height of the Josh McDaniel meltdown. I could have, except the Cowboys were nearly as bad as the Broncos. As an certified Cowboy fan teaser I can only imagine the indecision I would be experiencing right now if a healthy Tony Romo was leading the Cowboys into the playoffs.

Nope, I think Jason Garrett is a great choice for a new Cowboy head coach but Elway is the ultimate in leadership.

My team needs to rid itself of the distractions that have made more headlines the last few years than our playoff chances. The focus needs to be on football and winning games.

We’re backed up on our on 5-yard-line but there’s hope because we’ve just snapped the ball to our hero.

Think I’ve gone a little off the deep end here? You’re probably right. But hey it beats an off-season debate over whether or not Brett Favre is coming back next year.