If there are two positions that are synonymous with professional sports in Denver, it is the quarterback of the Denver Broncos and the first baseman of the Colorado Rockies.
For a couple of decades, these two spots were manned by sports figures who became household names in all of Colorado, if not the country. However, since their departures, the Denver Broncos and Colorado Rockies have fallen on hard times as they have tried to find replacements.
From 1983-98 and 2012-15, John Elway and Peyton Manning led the Broncos to the pinnacle of the NFL with three Lombardi Trophies in six Super Bowl appearances. Since the Rockies’ inception in 1993 until 2013, Andres Galarraga and Todd Helton had some of the greatest individual seasons in franchise history and Helton led the Rockies to their lone World Series appearance in 2007.
Unfortunately, since the two former Tennessee Volunteers walked away from their respective sports, the Broncos and Rockies have been unsuccessful finding an heir apparent.
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In the four seasons since Manning hung up his cleats, the Broncos have had five different players who have started at least one game at quarterback to limited success. Entering Sunday’s game against the Colts, the Broncos are 11 games under .500 (22-33) in those four seasons and have yet to reach the playoffs.
As a team, the Rockies have fared better since Helton’s retirement but have struggled to find a replacement. In the last six seasons, there have been 21 different players who have started a minimum of 10 games in a season at first. Even with the revolving door at first base, the Rockies have been able to reach the playoffs two times since the last time the “Toddfather” wore purple pinstripes.
To make matters worse, the search for a solution seems to be far from over. The Broncos’ Joe Flacco (aka Shane Falco) is entering the twilight of his career with shoddy offensive line play in front of him and a lack of offensive weapons around him.
The Rockies’ lone big offseason acquisition in converted second baseman Daniel Murphy became a gigantic bust in more ways than one in 2019. With Murphy still under contract for one more season and no clear-cut prospect emerging in the minors, it could be a while until the Rockies have a mainstay at first.
More so the Broncos than Rockies, but for these two teams to get back to national relevance again, they must finally find a reliable replacement to fill these positions that were once held by some of Denver’s most iconic sports figures.