“Broncos fans are spoiled,” said Kirk Herbstreit in Week 5 as the Denver Broncos faced the Indianapolis Colts.

He also laughed and snickered as many fans left the game at the end of regulation, all tied up at 9-9.

But when Herbstreit was talking about Denver fans being spoiled, he did so specifically when talking about quarterbacks. From an outsider’s perspective — and Herbstreit, a college commentator who just started covering NFL games, is certainly that — one can understand why they may think Broncos fans are spoiled.

John Elway was one of the best quarterbacks of the 1980s and 1990s, riding off into the sunset after back-to-back Super Bowl wins. Never mind all the losing along the way, Herbstreit only remembers the ending.

Then Peyton Manning came to the Mile High City to finish off his career, and “The Sheriff” rode off into the sunset just like the Duke of Denver, a winner of Super Bowl 50.

Never mind all the losing and the long list of mediocre quarterbacks who followed.

When Herbstreit saw Broncos fans booing the team — five weeks into a season of ineptitude on offense — he thought they must be spoiled. But Kirk, did you know Broncos fans booed John Elway, Jake Plummer and even Manning?

Booing your own team doesn’t mean you’re a spoiled fan. It means you’re using your energy to hold the team accountable. You’re telling them their play is unacceptable.

Which is what leaving the game early means, too.

But as the season has gone on, I’ve kept coming back to Herbstreit’s words. “Broncos fans are spoiled.”

Are they?

It could be argued that way.

Or, are they just moving the goal posts when it comes to quarterbacks?

As a kid born and raised in Denver, I get it. Elway was like a god in the Mile High City even before the Broncos won back-to-back Super Bowls. His play was incredible, between being able to take off and run and his rocket launcher of an arm; Elway was Patrick Mahomes before Mahomes was born.

Then came Brian Griese. And the aforementioned Plummer, who was a damn-good quarterback but got booed off the field and flipped fans off with both hands. And then Jay Cutler, Kyle Orton etc. before Manning came in to save the day.

Since Manning, the list is even longer.

Brock Osweiler, Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, Case Keenum, Joe Flacco, Drew Lock, Teddy Bridgewater, a whole bunch of backups. Even Phillip Lindsay got a start because Lock didn’t take COVID protocols seriously.

What a joke.

Which is why I get it.

Denver is desperate for a strong, star quarterback who can lead the team back to the playoffs and, with any hope, back to the Super Bowl.

What I don’t get is why Broncos Country is so quickly jumping off the Russell Wilson ship, a mere nine games into his career with the orange and blue.

He’s been bad more than he’s been good this year, sure. And when Wilson has been decent, he’s been merely mediocre. That’s frustrating, given the Broncos traded away two first-round picks and are paying him a superstar’s wages.

Oh, and his personality is, well, grating.

But rewind for a second before Wilson was even in the picture as a possibility in Denver.

Drew Lock was the “future” face of quarterbacking in the Mile High City. At least, many in Broncos Country thought of him that way, pointing to Josh Allen’s struggles as a rookie and then his superstardom that followed.

They argued: 1. Lock needed more time to develop, 2. He wasn’t given a chance by Vic Fangio, and 3. He needed a better play-caller to fit his style.

Why, then, were so many Broncos fans willing to wait and see with Lock? Why were they so hopeful and patient with him, a guy who never did anything special at the NFL level and was only so-so in college?

And why are those same fans now unwilling to have a little patience with Wilson, a quarterback who’s been at the mountain top of the NFL?

Wilson was a Top-10 quarterback for 10 years in Seattle, possesses a winning record in the playoffs and has won a Super Bowl.

Past success doesn’t guarantee future returns. We all get that. But we all know what Wilson can do when he’s supported and surrounded by enough talent.

Neither of those things are true at the moment in Denver.

Nathaniel Hackett is in the running as the worst Broncos head coach ever. He admitted he hasn’t been calling plays to fit Wilson’s strengths back in October, and then gave up play-calling to Klint Kubiak last week. Oh, and Kubiak’s plays helped Wilson play at a more respectable level, which fans should have a little hope about.

So, just like with Lock, it’s clear Wilson needs a better play-caller. Kubiak is now showing what he can do, but may not be the best option available in 2023. We’ll see.

What about the talent surrounding him?

Well, Javonte Williams is injured and Tim Patrick never played a single down this year. Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy have underwhelmed all year long and the Broncos didn’t have a viable tight end option until Greg Dulcich emerged in Week 6. Oh, and the offensive line was so-so at best before injuries, and is now a MASH unit with so many starters hurt.

So, before you say, “Wilson is washed,” wait and see what George Paton does this offseason to surround him with better leadership at head coach, a more well-equipped play-caller and improved playmakers.

If you were willing to give Drew Lock a chance to grow, why not Russell Wilson?