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Of Mules And Men - A Tragicomedy In Three Acts (Act II)

This is the second act of the saga which tells of Brock Osweiler's exodus from Denver and his arrival in Houston. It may or may not be based on actual events.

"That's what you get for jerking me around, Elway!"
"That's what you get for jerking me around, Elway!"
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In the unlikely event you missed the opening act of this saga, click here to catch up.

Act II, Scene 1


The field is littered with shiny blue and orange confetti.  Surrounding a podium that, from the ground, stretches into the sky, is a crush of cameramen, journalists, and Denver Broncos players.  Among them is BROCK, who watches as ELWAY, VON, and PEYTON stand at the front speaking to a worldwide audience.  Standing among them is JIM NANTZ, voice of CBS Sports.

NANTZ:  And now let's get the MVP of Super Bowl 50 up here, Von Mill--

PEYTON pushes his way past VON MILLER and injects himself in front of NANTZ.

NANTZ (continued):  --I mean Super Bowl 50 winning quarterback, Peyton Manning!

PEYTON:  It's okay, Jim.  Everybody makes mistakes.

NANTZ:  Um...Peyton, your second championship, first quarterback to win a Super Bowl with two different teams, how does it feel?

PEYTON:  It feels great, Jim.  It was a real struggle, a battlefight if you will--

KUBIAK and a handful of Broncos chuckle uncomfortably.

PEYTON (continued):  But when I was on the bench, Coach Kubes saw that I still had that little something left in the tank and gave me a second chance.  Best decision he ever made, wasn't it, Coach?

KUBIAK smirks uneasily. ELWAY grins broadly.

PEYTON (continued):  So I got back in, flashed the ol' Peyton magic, and here we are.

VON stares blankly at PEYTON.  Another Broncos player makes a gagging noise.

NANTZ:  What are you going to do now, Peyton?  You going to hang 'em up?

PEYTON:  Well, Jim, I'll tell you what I'm going to do.  I'm going to get in my Buick, which is insured by Nationwide, drive to the hotel, make a call on my Sprint phone, order some Papa John's pizza, buy a case of Budweiser, put it all on my Mastercard, and then I'm going to turn on DirecTV to watch highlights of my performance on ESPN.  In the morning, I'll down a couple bottles of Gatorade to feel like a person again.

PEYTON turns to face the camera and puts on a dirt-eating grin.

NANTZ:  That's, uh, that's a really detailed description, Peyton.  Does this mean you're ending your career?

PEYTON:  We'll see.  We'll see.

In the crowd of Broncos, BROCK's eyes go wide at the coyness of PEYTON's retirement "news."

PEYTON looks down at BROCK and his dirt-eating grin morphs into a malevolent sneer.


Act II, Scene 2


ELWAY sits with his feet propped up on his desk, a phone receiver in his hand.  Periodically, he looks at the shiny Lombardi Trophy in the case behind him.  It has been three weeks since the Super Bowl.

ELWAY:  Yes.  Jimmy, how many times do I have to tell you, we want to keep Brock here for a long, long time.  I understand.  I'm very loyal, and the Broncos are loyal to their own.  Ji--Jimmy, you're not listening.  I want to sign him to a long-term deal.  The thing is I don't want to make any signings until after the start of the new league year.  You understand that, right?  No, I'm not stalling, I just want to put the team in the best possible position to repeat next year.  I'm looking at the paperwork now, Jimmy.  Once the league year starts, I'll be in touch with you.  Bye.

ELWAY presses a button on phone.

ELWAY (continued):  Miranda?  Send him in.

PEYTON flings the door open and strides in triumphantly, as if his very appearance was an accomplishment in itself.  He sits down.

PEYTON:  You wanted to see me?

ELWAY:  I did.  I wanted to know what your plans were.  You haven't given us a straight answer so far and it's getting kind of close to the wire.

PEYTON:  Oh!  Oh.  I haven't decided yet.  I'm leaning toward playing another season, but I haven't made up my mind.

ELWAY:  You haven't?  What is this article I'm seeing in Pro Football Talk that says you're definitely playing next year?

PEYTON;  You can't trust those reporters.  They'll tell you whatever drivel they hear.

ELWAY:  So when will you know what you're planning to do?

PEYTON:  Give me a couple of days to discuss this with Ashley.  You'll have your answer soon.

ELWAY:  Good.

PEYTON:  Wait, didn't you say you wanted what's-his-face to want the starting role?

ELWAY:  I did.

PEYTON:  Then why are you asking if I'm coming back?

ELWAY:  I want Brock to want the job, but if you come back, I gotta know what to tell him when he doesn't get the starting job.  Don't doubt the plan, Peyton.



BROCK sits at home watching television, two days after PEYTON met with ELWAY in his office.  The phone has been silent.  He looks at the calendar above his television.  It reads March 7, 2016.

The phone rings.

BROCK leaps up and grabs the phone.

BROCK:  Hello?  Jimmy? (Beat) No, I'm not interested in taking a survey, thank you.

BROCK hangs up the phone.

The TV starts playing again.

ESPN ANNOUNCER:  And we cut now to Peyton Manning's retirement press conference.

BROCK slumps in his chair.

ESPN ANNOUNCER:  With the retirement of Peyton, the question now turns to why we haven't heard more about Brock Osweiler being given a contract extension by the Denver Broncos.  Is it because Elway isn't sure about Brock being the guy, or is it because Brock is being a surly twerp and demanding more money from John Elway?

Phone rings again.  Brock answers hastily.

As he answers, the screen splits.  On the left side is BROCK.  On the right side of the screen is Brock's agent, JIMMY SEXTON, on the other end of the line.

BROCK:  Hello?

JIMMY:  Hey Brock, it's Jimmy.

BROCK:  Hey, what's the word Jimmy?

JIMMY:  Yeah, um, I'm still not getting a straight answer from John about an extension.

BROCK groans while pinching the bridge of his nose.

BROCK:  You've gotta be kidding me.

JIMMY:  Exactly.  I do have some other news though.

BROCK (curiously):  Go on.

JIMMY:  I've gotten some nibbles about you as a starting quarterback.

BROCK:  A lot of interest?

JIMMY:  Some.

BROCK:  Some?

JIMMY:  Okay, one.


JIMMY:  They're willing to pay top dollar, and you're all but guaranteed the QB1 spot, unless your arm falls off between now and the start of the season.

ESPN ANNOUNCER:  Joining us now from Denver is Broncos general manager John Elway.  John, any word from the Osweiler camp about an extension?

BROCK:  How good an opportunity is it?

JIMMY:  They were a playoff team last year.  If you join them, they could be a dark horse in the AFC next year.

BROCK:  Who's the team?

JIMMY:  What are your thoughts about south Texas?

ELWAY (on television):  We want players who are loyal to the team, to the City of Denver, and to the Broncos organization.  We've been in contact with Osweiler's agent for the last several days but we're not as close to signing a deal with Os as we'd like.

BROCK:  John just said he's been trying to get in touch with you about a deal.

JIMMY:  It's the first I'm hearing of it.  I've called him a couple times a day, but I never hear back from him.

ELWAY (on television):  It's a privilege to play for the Broncos, and I only want people on the team who show their gratitude for being on the team.

BROCK stares at the television, oblivious to JIMMY on the other end.  He gets a far-off look in his eye, thinking of the benching, the disrespect, the kowtowing towards PEYTON during the last season.

JIMMY:  Brock?  Brock, you there?

BROCK:  So the Texans, huh?  And I'm guaranteed the starting job?

JIMMY:  Not guaranteed, but close to guaranteed.

BROCK scowls at the television.

BROCK:  Make the call.

Act II, Scene 3


The day is March 9th, the first day of free agency. BROCK has agreed to terms with the Houston Texans on a four-year, $72 million contract (where only $37 million is guaranteed) to be their new starting quarterback.  On television, BROCK is flanked on either side of a table by the Texans' stuffed shirt general manager RICK SMITH and head coach BILL O'BRIEN.  In ELWAY's office sits KUBIAK, watching the press conference of his former team.

RICK (on television):  This is a great day in the Houston Texans organization.  We're here to welcome Brock Osweiler to Houston and take some questions from the press.  Bill, did you have any words you'd like to share before we got started?

BILL (on television):  We're really happy to have Brock here and possibly bring our team a big step closer to winning a Super Bowl.

ELWAY (buzzes on intercom): Miranda!  My office!

MIRANDA enters.


ELWAY (tents fingers):  Clear my schedule for the next week.

MIRANDA:  Yes, sir.  And what will you be doing instead?

ELWAY:  I want you to get me the numbers for every national, regional, state, city, suburb, exurb, rural media outlet you can find.  I want interviews with print journalists, online blogs, television appearances, ESPN, FS1, Yahoo, Pro Football Talk, NBC, CBS, ESPN--

MIRANDA:  You said ESPN twice.

KUBIAK:  Shhh, he's rolling.

ELWAY (continues without stopping):  --Radio shows, whatever the hell that "First Take" crap is, advertisements, every single affiliate in every market in this country, on this continent, throughout the entire northern hemisphere!  Every single light on that phone will be lit for seven straight days.  If a single light is off for longer than two seconds, you will be fired.  Is that clear?  Everybody will hear my side of the story.  They will believe my side of the story.  They will swallow my side of the story.  Anyone who dares to doubt me will risk my ill will, my wra--(inadvertently neighs)--

KUBIAK and MIRANDA stare at ELWAY in confusion.

ELWAY:  What?!

MIRANDA:  Nothing, sir.

ELWAY:  Brock Osweiler will rue the day he decided to foul up my plans.  I will make sure the world knows of his inadequacy, his ineptitude, because I SAID HE IS!

KUBIAK:  Um, John?

ELWAY (in a lather):  What?!

KUBIAK:  That's all well and good, but we don't have any quarterbacks and free agency is drying up already.

ELWAY:  Of course.

ELWAY looks at a list of potential free agent quarterbacks.

ELWAY:  Oh, no.  This list is awful.

MIRANDA:  Can I go now, sir?

ELWAY:  Y-yes.  But first, get me the agent for...(gulps)...Mark Sanchez.

MIRANDA (now more than a little frightened):  Y-yes, sir.

MIRANDA quickly closes door behind her.

ELWAY:  What have I done?  God help me, what have I done?

ELWAY stands out of his chair, pounds on his desk with both fists, and hangs his head down.

ELWAY:  What have I done?

End Act II

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