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Strong, Silent Types
Rick Reilly
December 12, 2005
Twenty-five-point bonus question: If these people suited up tomorrow, which one wouldn't be able to rush for 1,000 yards behind the Denver Broncos' snowplow of an offensive line: a) O.J. Simpson b) Marge Simpson c) The late Sen. Strom Thurmond The answer is d) none of the above. You could put a 20-pound rump roast behind that line and it would get at least 1,050. The Broncos' line is the single most underappreciated unit in the NFL and the main reason Denver is 9-3 and leading the AFC West. So let's find out who these guys are!
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December 12, 2005

Strong, Silent Types

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Twenty-five-point bonus question: If these people suited up tomorrow, which one wouldn't be able to rush for 1,000 yards behind the Denver Broncos' snowplow of an offensive line:
a) O.J. Simpson
b) Marge Simpson
c) The late Sen. Strom Thurmond
The answer is d) none of the above. You could put a 20-pound rump roast behind that line and it would get at least 1,050. The Broncos' line is the single most underappreciated unit in the NFL and the main reason Denver is 9-3 and leading the AFC West. So let's find out who these guys are!

"Sorry," the Broncos p.r. guy said. "The line doesn't talk to the press."

Never?

"Never."

Wait a minute. In the last 10 years no other NFL line has cleared the way for more rushing yards than Denver's, right? These guys keep getting handed schlubs and keep turning them into 1,000-yard stars, right? I mean, before he ran for 1,100-something yards as a rookie, had you ever heard of Olandis Gary? Or Mike Anderson (played in the high school band, not on the football team)? Reuben Droughns? Tatum Bell? Guys who ran like Plymouths before landing in Denver and like Porsches after? What, are these linemen crazy?

"Our line hasn't talked to the press for a good 10 years," the p.r. guy said.

Pah! I once got an interesting quote out of Bob Knight through a crack in the bathroom door. I bet myself I'd get the Broncos' linemen to give me a decent quote within two days or I'd loofah the neighbors' cat.

"Never going to happen," said a Denver TV guy. "They fine each other $10 for every quote. They tape the articles to each other's lockers. They'd never hear the end of it."

"No chance," said a beat writer. "I named [center Tom] Nalen the midseason MVP, and he hasn't said hello to me since."

"No way," said Broncos coach Mike Shanahan. "Nalen doesn't even talk to me."

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