Thursday night, John Elway welcomed the rest of the world to his nightmare.
As Tim Tebow galloped into the end zone to cap yet another late comeback and as the crowd at the new Mile High Stadium was hailing its new super hero, the greatest Bronco of them all was looking down on the scene and clapping as if he was welcoming a dentist into the room just before his root canal.
Denver was 1-4 with a conventional, horrible quarterback in Kyle Orton. The masses screamed "Give us Super Timmy!" So the Broncos gave them what they wanted - fully expecting this fantasy to fall on its fanny so they could set about the business of finding a real quarterback to finally carry on the Elway tradition.
Since then, the Broncos are 4-1. And their last-minute win over the Jets Thursday has now established an irrational but undeniable pattern. Tebow looks horrible for the first 50 minutes. He runs a flunky, draw-in the-dirt option offense that has limited success and is bound to unravel once NFL defensive coordinators get their arms around it.
But then comes the fourth quarter. Cue the NFL Films orchestra and the John Facenda script. Tebow waves his wand, parts the defense with his legs, finally tops 100 yards passing for the night and pulls the win out with an a play that everyone sees coming, but no one seems to stop.
The man has that magic. He has "it," whatever "it" is. But there is a reason why Doug Flutie and Andre Ware and Ty Detmer and all those other college Heisman heroes are now working 9-to-5. Eventually, you have to be an NFL quarterback.
Unless of course, Tebow has made a Joe Hardy-like deal with the Devil - wouldn't THAT be out of character - this month-long scenic drive for Bronco fans is destined to end with them dropping off the edge of a cliff.
And there isn't a darn thing Elway can do about it but strap, enjoy the ride and brace for impact. Someone should install a HANS device in his private box.
So ... tell us what you really think
Did anyone catch the comments from Coyotes players - normally guarded as all get out - about former goalie and teammate Ilya Bryzgalov prior to Thursday's Philadelphia-Phoenix matchup?
When asked about Bryzgalov's departure, defenseman Derek Morris told Fox Sports Arizona: "We're actually glad. First of all, I'm glad he's gone because the guy we brought (Mike Smith) in has done a great job and fit in real well ... made our team even closer."
Morris tossed a tape-to-tape pass to Adrian Aucoin, who added: "I think he was different as a player - obviously he was a great player - more as a person. Sometimes he just did things that weren't very typical of hockey players or teammates, but he's a good goalie."
Captain Shane Doan called Bryzgalov "a polarizing force in the locker room."
Sounds like the team MVP for the last two years might not be invited back for the alumni game.
Bryz got the last laugh, the Flyers won 2-1 on a last-season goal. But let's keep an eye on the Flyers as the season rolls on and see how his new teammates feel about him down the line.
• Ian Kennedy was the fourth-best pitcher in the National League last year? All kudos to Clayton Kershaw, a very worthy candidate and Cy Young Award winner, but Kennedy should have been on the stand as well.
Are you telling me that two pitchers from the Phillies (Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee) had better years than Kennedy, or were more important to their clubs? Take either one off the Phillies and they still win the East Division in a stroll.
And what a travesty it would be if the Dodgers, who finished a zillion games out of first place and had Los Angeles fans stay away in droves, wind up with the Cy Young and MVP (Matt Kemp) Awards? It could happen if Milwaukee Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder wind up splitting the votes.
• Speaking of travesties, how about the decision to add more wild card teams and further water down the importance of a 162-game regular season?
If this had been in place this season Atlanta and Boston - the teams responsible for the two biggest September collapses of recent memory - would have been the extra teams taking part in a one-game playoff. All the drama of the final week of the season would have been wiped out. Nice.
Next thing, you'll tell me that the Astros, who have been in the National League for 50 years, will be moved to the American League instead of the Milwaukee Brewers, who used to be in the American League. Oh wait, that's happening too.
• 49ers 27, Cardinals 13: I picked them to get hammered last week and I still don't believe Arizona. All the calls went against the Cards late ... and they still won.
But the Eagles are imploding against everyone. The 49ers, paper champions they are, are finding ways to win. And against the Cardinals, they are lots of ways to get that done.
Jerry Brown is a contributing columnist who appears every Sunday in the Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.