Posted Mon Oct 25th by E. Halsey Miles
Famed veteran player Fan Loyalty, commonly used as the twelfth man on the field, was placed on Injured Reserve this morning after suffering a season-ending injury to its heart early in the first quarter against the Raiders yesterday, team sources said. According to team coach Josh McDaniels, “We did a lot of soul-searching overnight while we waited for word from Greek [Broncos trainer Steve Antonopulos] about its condition. When he told us it would take at least three months to heal, we had to end its season. We know things will be tough without Fan Loyalty on the team, but it is what it is and we will have to find a way to persevere.”
Fan Loyalty has had a rocky career the last few seasons, and NFL insiders believe that Loyalty’s career with the Denver Broncos may be in jeopardy. In 2008, Fan Loyalty suffered a broken nose in a 31-10 home loss to Oakland, but recovered quickly only to be injured again in a horrific 52-21 loss to San Diego to close out the season that resulted in the firing coach Shanahan. Privately, Fan Loyalty asked for a trade, and while the young players Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall and Tony Scheffler were all granted the trades they requested, veteran Fan Loyalty remained with the team despite some grumbling.
Fan Loyalty looked to experience a resurgence in 2009 when the Broncos started the season 6-0, but spent the rest of the 2009 season in Josh McDaniel’s doghouse when the team proceeded win only 2 of the remaining 10 games to end the season 8-8. And while Fan Loyalty did manage to play out the entire season, a turbulent off-season brought more questions about Fan Loyalty’s ability to play yet another season with the Denver Broncos. With the drafting of Tim Tebow, season-ending injury to defensive playmaker Elvis Dumervil, and the surprise trade of Alphonso Smith to the Detroit Lions, controversy constantly surrounded Fan Loyalty. The preseason saw injury after injury, particularly to the running backs and offensive line, and Fan Loyalty rarely failed to voice an opinion.
This season, Fan Loyalty has barely seen the field. Aside from one good performance against the Seattle Seahawks, Fan Loyalty has continued to be benched after critical mistakes were made. As these mistakes mounted, more team losses piled up and Fan Loyalty saw less and less field time. Now, with the Denver Broncos about to go to London to play an international game against the San Francisco 49ers, Fan Loyalty will not even be making the trip.
An independent 49ers blogger recently posted, “Oh man, I would not want to be the Denver Broncos right now. Star players on injured reserve, questions about remaining star players, no running game, no pass rush, and no Fan Loyalty? They’re tied last in their division and just got not just beat but humiliated by one of the most woeful teams in the league that also just happens to be their best division rival? How are they supposed to face their wives and mothers now? I mean, the Niners have problems too, with Singletary and Alex Smith and I mean, they have David Carr as his backup, and we all know how that goes. But how can you even play football without a heart?”
Indeed, how do you play without a heart. We asked Fan Loyalty that same question: “I do hope to be back next season,” Fan Loyalty said. “But contract negotiations have stalled. You’ll have to talk to my agent about that, though.” After a moment’s thoughtful pause, it added, “Even if things go poorly, though, I don’t expect to hold out of training camp next season, if that’s what you mean. Assuming the docs say I’m ready to go, that is.”
Said owner Pat Bowlen, “Don’t worry, Fan Loyalty is still an integral part of our team, even if it has struggled recently. Fan Loyalty has been with this team for a long time, I’m sure we’ll find a way to bring it back, even if we have to make changes to the organization to ensure there is a spot.”
In the locker room, the rest of players remained quiet. While nobody would say it, it was clear that with Fan Loyalty gone, any one of them could be the next one on a bus to Detroit.