You can’t help but wonder how the Broncos got here and where they are going.

What happened to Peyton Manning? Are his multiple injuries the main culprit for his horrid play? Or has the 39-year-old finally lost his battle with father time?

Was John Elway ready to hand the keys to Brock Osweiler this offseason? And, when Manning wasn’t ready to retire, did Elway build an offense that he knew an aging, immobile quarterback wouldn’t succeed in, ultimately setting Manning up for failure?

Will Manning ever see the football field again? Or will No. 18’s final game be a four-interception performance against the Chiefs?

If we’ve seen the last of Manning, his demise will forever have come on Elway’s watch. And both men deserve equal blame for letting the wheels fall off of the truck. What a sad state of affairs the greatest quarterback in NFL history and the greatest quarterback in Bronco history find themselves in.

One thing is for sure: Manning’s play on the field has been a hindrance. There is no question that Gary Kubiak had to make a change at quarterback for the sake of the team. No matter where you put the blame, there is still a game to be played on Sunday.

Wait… hold up, this wasn’t supposed to be the narrative going into week 11.


Denver faces turncoat Fox and the Chicago Bears on Sunday, which makes the Manning/Osweiler/Elway distractions all that more frustrating. This was going to be revenge week – the week the Denver Broncos marched into Soldier Field and crushed Benedict Arnold’s new team.

When the schedule was released, you better believe that everyone in Colorado (Broncos players and fans alike) circled Nov. 22 on the calendar. That’s because in January Fox and his staff mailed in a home playoff game, once again squandering a chance at a deep playoff run.

Fox’s sin last season was an unforgivable one. Fox quit. He quit on his team, his players and this town. And he did it in a playoff game no less.

The Broncos loss at home to the Colts in the Divisional round of the 2014 playoffs was the result of an unprepared, uninspired football team. The week leading up to the game both of Denver’s top assistants – Jack Del Rio and Adam Gase – were focused on their next jobs. Del Rio was the top candidate in Oakland and Gase was seemingly taking every interview he could get for a head coaching position.

As the week progressed, it became apparent that both Del Rio and Gase were going to be better off if Denver lost. All signs pointed to Del Rio getting the gig in Oakland and Gase in San Francisco (ultimately, that didn’t happen), which meant if Denver lost Sunday they’d be free to sign new contracts Monday morning.

You didn’t need a keen eye to tell the game plan suffered because of this. The defensive game plan couldn’t have been blander and Del Rio never tried to adjust. The offense… well, the offense looked like the only thing they practiced all week was go routes.

Why was this attitude allowed to penetrate the Broncos coaching staff you ask? That’s because the head coach was also planning his next job.

It’s unprecedented to consider, but it’s true. After winning four straight division titles, one AFC Championship game and posting a 46-18 record, Fox was looking for a way out of Denver before the 2014 season even finished. That’s because Fox couldn’t handle the heat.

Each of Fox’s first three years in Denver ended with huge disappointments.

Tebow’s game against the Patriots was a mess.

The Rahim Moore game was a choke job.

And 43-8 was a complete and total disaster.

More and more, it looked like there was one common thread: Fox’s inability to get his team over the hump. So, when good ol’ Foxy realized he was in the crosshairs, he did what most cowards do – he switched allegiances, hoping for greener pastures.

This was supposed to be the week to remind Fox that isn’t the case. That this town, and team, is going to be fine without him. In fact, they are going to be better. Sports columnists and fans were going to remind Fox what he really was… a bumbling idiot who was handed the greatest quarterback in NFL history and proceeded to waste three amazing years of his career.

It was going to be glorious. Instead, we’re stuck focusing on what might be the end of an era rather than aiming our frustrations at the man who quit on his team and this town.

That’s what the narrative this week was supposed to be. I wonder how it all went wrong.