I live close to World Harvest Church so I occasionally predict the future especially when it concerns non-SEC football. I also know more about the Denver Broncos than anyone else, at least for the purposes of this story.
Manning will lead his Broncos to a 14-2 record this year. Constant comparisons will be made to the fact that he made better decisions than Tebow ever could and had better accuracy. It will be a miracle season, reminiscent of Elway’s final seasons when they chased 16-0 one time for a while, except they will win their last 10 after starting 4-2.
Malls everywhere will have Santa Claus in a Manning Denver jersey shattering records for parents lying to their kids and enticing them with rewards for good works.
After decimating the Colts in the 1st divisional round of the playoffs (as if to let Irsay know “Manning’s still got it”), Cotton Eyed Joe will be revived as a top ten hit and Bronco fever will abound. Families will be moving to Denver, claiming that it is because they hate daylight savings time, but actually it will be because of Manning, Elway and the broncos. Kids everywhere will dress as horses for halloween, inadvertantly removing some of the paganism of the entire day.
Then in the AFC Championship game, the upstart Cleveland Browns will travel with their 11-7 record after two unlikely playoff victories to PeyElManningWay Arena (formerly Mile High Stadium) so they can become the next victim of Manningpalooza.
But the weather wreaks havoc on Manning’s neck and it stiffens up. Terrelle Pryor, Denver’s new 2nd string QB enters the game with a comfortable lead of 13-7 with only 3 minutes remaining, asked to do nothing but QB sneak the ball in from the 1 yard line to give his team a 2 TD lead. Hut 42, Hut 42, HIKE…Pryor fumbles. Frosty Rucker (Thank you Bengals) recovers the fumble on the one. Lebron James angrily throws his New York Yankees hat on the ground, suddenly realizing that was a dumb thing to wear to Tribe games all those years.
For years, Broncos fans will claim the play before was a TD, but the official on the field, Ryan Schottenheimer and the replay official in the booth (Ernie Byner, Jr.) seemed to think Manning stepped out at the one even after replay.
The beginning of the end is near. The brownies, behind a rejuvenated Bernie Kosar drive 99 YARDS for the go ahead TD, converting nothing but 4th downs the entire drive. Broncos fans stare on in disbelief while little Denver kids’ childhoods are literally ruined by a visiting team during an unlikley drive. The game will always be remembered as “The Drive”. Men in the west will go to their graves “swearing there was another The Drive” which came first, but no one seems to recall a NINETY-NINE YARD DRIVE in the playoffs.
To make matters worse, the Browns then go to the SB and lose 42-10 to a team Denver already beat 21-0 earlier that season. Denver fans will tell you for decade how they “would’ve won that game.” All this is because the Browns players were out walking around the city and heard Jason Karroll preaching Christ crucified and they all got saved. They were up all night praying and repenting of sin and were too tired to play the game.
And somewhere in Ohio, grown men will cry tears of sadness over lost innocence, and tears of joy because of perfect justice.