Sunday night's Bronco loss to the Raiders put the members of the Denver Broncos Quarterback Club in a down mood. That feeling was quickly changed by an appearance by Ring-of-Famer Simon Fletcher. On this night Fletcher reminded us of great Bronco teams of the past and the strengths of this franchise that we all have supported for so long. Here is a summary of Simon's comments:
On entering the Broncos Ring of Fame 21 years after his playing career was over:
You guys got as tired of waiting as I did! (joking) The first person I called was my mother. She was excited that I finally got recognized. Mom always told me "Look at where you are going, not where you've been" so I wasn't bothered by the Ring of Fame delay. When you are on the field you don't think of records, rather you think of supporting your teammates and the great Bronco fans.
What the Bronco fans mean to him:
I was more excited about meeting with you, the Bronco QB Club, than the Ring of Fame ceremony. What never changed over the years was the support of the Bronco fans - we appreciate so much what you do. When I came to Denver I was a single dad supporting my 17 month daughter Ashley. You bronco fans gave to little Ashley - she was given so many stuffed animals as gifts! Here I was 1000 miles away from where I grew up (Texas) and fans volunteered to watch my daughter - thank you! I could not have been more fortunate than to be drafted by Denver because of the great Bronco fans. I'm going to live in Colorado until I die.
On being the Broncos all time sack leader:
To hell with sacks! I came out for 172 games. I earned my paycheck - every dollar. When I watched the Broncos against the Raiders I thought "you guys need more pride in what you are doing. Bronco fans deserve better than this." I thought the team came out flat.
On the Broncos prospects the rest of the season:
New England will lose three more games so the Broncos still have a shot at the best record in the AFC. But the offensive line has to get better. If they know John Elway like I do there will be changes if they don't perform. The team seems to be resting on last year's laurels.
On playing for Wade Phillips as defensive coordinater:
The 1991 season AFC Championship game was one of our best performances (a 10-7 loss to the Bills where Buffalo did not have an offensive touchdown) Wade told us before the game that the offense had holes in the offensive line and we had to play our best. We held Thurman Thomas in check that day. This season I think Wade has been hampered by the head coach the last couple of games - his defensive game plans have not been as aggressive.
On his worst game as a Bronco:
The 1987 AFC Championship game ("the fumble") My wife was overdue with child and it was hard to keep my mind on the game. I was thankful for Jeremiah Castille causing that fumble giving us the win!
On his best game as a Bronco:
The AFC Divisional playoff win vs the Houston Oilers. I was asked by a reporter before the game, "since you grew up in Houston, doesn't a small part of you want to see the Oilers win?" I said "from the opening whistle to the closing gun I'm playing 100% for the Broncos. I've got orange blood in my veins and when I go #1 it's blue!"
On losing to the Giants in Super Bowl 21:
Some of our starters that game were not A grade, and some of our backups shouldn't have been in the league. We didn't have the team speed to keep up with the Giants. We were overmatched. On last year's Broncos Super Bowl team there wasn't as much difference between the 1st and 2nd team.
On retiring after 10 years and missing out on the Broncos Super Bowl wins:
I told Dan Reeves I was going to play 10 years and that's it (3 contracts). My little girl Ashley meant more to me than playing more years. It was the right decision.
On Pat Bowlen:
The year we drafted Mike Croel Mike was leading the AFC in sacks where I had zero at one point of the season. We were getting ready to play in a bitter cold game and Pat Bowlen came out of his owner box and down to the field before the game. Pat put his arm around me, and said "from where I am sitting I see how well you are playing. Mike is getting those sacks because of you." Pat was a player's owner. I am so grateful I got to play for him.
True to his word, Simon Fletcher never did leave Colorado and today runs a catering business out of Fort Morgan. It was great to meet this new Ring of Famer in person and hear of his passion for playing for the Broncos and his love of the Denver fans.
|Me and Simon at the Bronco QB Club|