Broncos: Alternate Reality: 2011 Season: One Small Change

Sep 18, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (58) sacks and forces a fumble against Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) in the fourth quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos won 34-20. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 18, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (58) sacks and forces a fumble against Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) in the fourth quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos won 34-20. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

The time machine is ready to go. Destination: 2011 Denver Broncos Season. One move changes the look of the franchise for years.

Year: 2011. Month: October: Day: 9th, a Sunday.

The Denver Broncos are currently playing against the San Diego Chargers, but are down 23-10. A change is needed. Fans in the stadium are chanting, “Tebow, Tebow, Tebow”. Kyle Orton is heading to the bench, but who is coming out? That isn’t #15 Tim Tebow who the fans are chanting for. Nope. It is Brady Quinn.

Quinn finishes the game out for the Broncos. He manages to lead three touchdown drives, while the Chargers score six points. Denver is up 31-29 with 1:17 left on the clock. Broncos have the ball, but a fumbled snap is recovered by the Chargers. After running the clock down to 41 seconds, San Diego kicks a field goal putting them up 32-31.

One last chance for the Broncos. Quinn is up. Three quick passes, and the Broncos have gained 37 yards, but still just outside of field goal range. 12 seconds left. Quinn takes the snap, drops back and throws a pass deep right to Brandon Lloyd. Intercepted. Game over. San Diego wins 32-31.

Despite the game losing interception, the Broncos pick Brady Quinn to remain the starter. Tim Tebow is still the #3 quarterback with Kyle Orton the backup. National media keeps going on and on about the Broncos giving up on the season, and tanking.

Brady Quinn finishes out the season, leading Denver to an 0-12 record. Despite losing, Denver never went to Tebow. They stuck it out and reinforced the beliefs they had given up on the season. With only one win on the season, the Broncos net the first overall pick in the draft.

As for the playoffs, the San Diego Chargers won the west but lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers went on to beat the New England Patriots, but lost to the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship game. The Ravens then went on the beat the New York Giants in the Superbowl.

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That offseason, they fire John Fox, trade Tim Tebow and let Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn walk. It was a complete rebuild on offense. All knew coaching staff is brought in. Led by Gary Kubiak at head coach. Kubiak resigned as head coach of the Houston Texans after clashes with ownership and returned to the team he played for.

Free agency comes, and Denver is quiet. They make some small signings, but nothing big. They were preparing for the draft and trying to decide who to take. The youngster from John Elways Alma-mater Andrew Luck, or the dual-threat Robert Griffin III out of Baylor. Everyone from Elway down to the scouts are frivolously going over the film try to decide between the two.

On April 26, 2012 the Denver Broncos made their pick.

With the first pick of the 2012 NFL draft, the Denver Broncos select: Andrew Luck, Quarterback, Stanford. The Indianapolis Colts picked second and selected the Baylor quarterback.

Broncos fans everywhere go nuts. Not only did they just add the best quarterback in the draft, and arguably the best one since Peyton Manning, but they got Von Miller the year before. They found the quarterback to build their offense around, and had their key piece on defense already.

Later in the draft the Denver Broncos added, defensive linemen Derek Wolfe in the second round.  Wolfe will add another piece that will fit their 3-4 defensive front. He is someone they believe to be a star.

With their third round pick, they add running back Lamar Miller from Miami. They also add a defensive linemen from Tennessee named Malik Jackson and linebacker Danny Trevathan from Kentucky. The future is looking bright.

Broncos fans everywhere are excited to see Andrew Luck take over for the team. Their hopes and dreams had been answered of finally finding a quarterback. Training camp and preseason comes a long and Luck is thriving under Gary Kubiak’s offense, especially with Lamar Miller pounding the ball on the ground.

It was time for the regular season the start. Denver had their kickoff in Baltimore against the defending Super Bowl Champions. The NFL was eager to show off Andrew Luck to the nation and threw the worst team from the previous year into the fire.

Andrew Luck made his debut, and it was spectacular. He went on to throw four touchdowns, adding another one with his legs. New running back Lamar Miller also added a score on the ground, and caught two of Luck’s touchdown passes.

Defensively, the Broncos were all over Joe Flacco. Derek Wolfe and Von Miller combined for four sacks, a forced fumble and an interception. They shut down the offense. It was a team effort as the Broncos stunned the world by beating the Ravens 54-6.

It was Denver’s intention to make a statement to start the season, and a statement they made. As they went on, they continued to dominate opponents. Offensively, they were great and continued to grow. Defensively, they were outstanding. Denver went from 1-15 in 2011, to 14-2 and #1 seed in the AFC west.

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Andrew Luck threw 49 touchdowns to only 11 interceptions on his way to MVP and Offensive Rookie of the Year. Meanwhile, Derek Wolfe won defensive rookie of the year with 12 sacks and Miller won Defensive player of the year with a record-setting 24.5 sacks.

Their first opponent in the playoffs was the Baltimore Ravens, who just squeaked into the playoffs, but put a whooping on the Steelers in round one. While it wasn’t the beat down that started the season, Denver once again came out victorious 31-17.

In the AFC Championship game, the Broncos took on the Patriots. The game was tied 24 all going into the final five minutes of the game. Tom Brady took the snap, but got deflated on a sack from Derek Wolfe. Clearly Brady was rattled, and on the next play threw an interception to Chris Harris. Harris returned it 56 yards for a touchdown.

Denver ended up winning 34-27, with Miller getting a game saving strip sack on Brady. It was a good thing Miller stepped up too, as the Patriots were 17 yards away from scoring a touchdown with 38 seconds on the clock.

The Broncos were preparing to take on a force offensively in the Green Bay Packers, who squeaked out close wins in their three games leading up to the Superbowl. Over the three games the Packers scored a total of 65 points, while giving up 59 points.

With the preparation the Broncos made, they were ready for the Packers offense. They held Aaron Rodgers to only 152 yards passing, with no touchdowns and three interceptions. Denver blew the world away on that day. Von Miller was named MVP of the Superbowl after having a five sack game with two forced fumbles and an interception returned for a touchdown.

The Denver Broncos were three-time NFL Champions after beating the Packers 34-10.

After that is history. The Broncos went on to three-peat. Only a last second missed field goal kept the Broncos from making four straight Superbowls. They kept all their pieces on offense and defense together. They built a dynasty with Luck and Miller at the helm.

Now, after two games into the 2016 season, the Broncos are the favorites to win it all. No one can figure out how to score on the Broncos, or stop them from scoring. They won their first two games by a combined score of 82 to 17. The odds are in their favor as they hunt for the franchises six Superbowl.

The time machine is ready. Time to head back to the current reality, where the Broncos are 2-0 coming from their third franchise Superbowl. They have some guy name Trevor Siemian as quarterback. Time will tell how he does.

Next: Broncos Have Another Emerging Star on Defense

Hopefully, one day, the time machine will be working again and we can jump back to a different time frame and see what another change would do to the Broncos franchise.