|09-15-2006, 11:34 AM||#1|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: May 2001
A Church Divided
Sorry for another JP v. JC thread, but here's Friday's Mile Sports Mag column:
A Church Divided
The Broncos are a Religion in Colorado; One Currently Split into 2 Factions
Football is religion. A regional religion that pulls people to the pigskin church every Sunday, whether it be their living room or to their open-aired (or domed) place of worship with 70,000 of their closest fellow worshippers.
Here in Broncos Country, football is a religion I like to call “Elwayntology.” It’s a regional religion, not too different from those found across the football landscape (see: Aikman-ists, Marino-ists, and those out West in the split religion of Young-ists and Montana-ists). Many an Elwayntologist has jumped up and down on a couch professing their love for their Broncos; and just as many have found themselves on their knees praying to their savior to pull out the fourth-quarter comeback, to run the two-minute offense to perfection, to win another game.
See, Elwayntologists are always on the lookout for the next great quarterback. Since the retirement of John Elway, it has been somewhat of a revolving door of saviors here in Broncos Country. Guys with names like Brister, Frerotte, Van Pelt and Griese have manned the position and failed to fill the huge cleats left behind.
Every April, Elwayntologists seek the resurrection of their savior. And this year was no different, as some shrewd draft maneuvering by head coach Mike Shanahan led to the drafting of the latest savior, Jay Cutler.
Perhaps given some time, the strong armed, 6-foot-3, 225-pound, mop-haired quarterback will develop his own following. But for the moment, it seems a bit short-sighted to dismiss the man of the moment, Jake Plummer, as a stop-gap between legendary quarterbacks.
For some reason, Elwayntologists have already anointed Cutler as the “it” guy. Maybe it’s the physical similarities to Elway – the cannon-arm, the mop of hair, the disarming smile. Whatever the reason, in just three preseason games, something of a cult following has popped up around Cutler. In fact, some loyal Elwayntolgists are ready to ditch their No. 7 jersey, and sling a No. 6 on their back, completely sidestepping trusty No. 16.
Good old Jake “The Snake” Plummer has guided Denver for three seasons and was one just win from the Super Bowl last season. But for reasons never explained, Plummer was never anointed as the “one.” He is one shaky game away from hearing chants of “Cutler” ringing out of the south stands. But let us not forget that Jake is the man in charge. And let us note, for the sake of noting it, that Plummer’s 4,086 yards passing in 2004 were 59 yards better than Elway’s best season.
Yes, the call for Cutler was magnified after the Broncos season-opening loss to St. Louis. And yes, Plummer tossed three costly picks in that game. But the entire team looked awful. The o-line couldn’t block and highly touted wide receiver Javon Walker couldn’t catch. The game was very reminiscent of last season’s opening loss to Miami.
Let’s not put the cart before the horse. Plummer will be fine, the Broncos will be fine and Cutler will be fine. But for now, Plummer is the starter and Cutler is the rookie who still has yet to throw a pass in a meaningful NFL game.
A Plummer-ologist knows that only a Super Bowl victory will keep The Snake starting in 2007. But the criticism is undeserved. Plummer has been a fantastic addition to Broncos Nation, but the handwriting is already on the wall, Cutler is the future of this organization.
Yes, football is a religion to some and snakes don’t great rap in religious lore. But for the time being, I want to let all those Cutler-ists out there know that we still have plenty of room for converted Plummer-ologists.