No. 7 was more than lucky for the Denver Broncos franchise across the better part of two decades.
One of the NFL's all-time great quarterbacks, John Elway donned No. 7 for an amazing 16-year tenure that included six Super Bowl trips and a pair of Lombardi Trophies. Following his retirement, Elway eventually found his way to the Broncos front office and likewise eventually found the next quarterback to take Denver to the Super Bowl: Peyton Manning.
Since Manning's departure following Denver's Super Bowl 50 victory, the Broncos' search for another franchise quarterback has been an ongoing struggle and is now on its seventh starting quarterback: Drew Lock.
Have the Broncos found their guy? Is Lock, though he sports jersey No. 3, lucky No. 7 and the franchise QB Denver has been looking for?
Broncos Starting QBs
W-L Win Pct.
Drew Lock 4-1 .800
Trevor Siemian 13-11 .542
Case Keenum 6-10 .375
Brandon Allen 1-2 .333
Joe Flacco 2-6 .250
Paxton Lynch 1-3 .250
Brock Osweiler 0-4 .000
Lock's status as the future face of the franchise and his ability to lead a young offense to a successful season will be perhaps the biggest storyline for Denver in 2020. A look into the numbers via NFL Research offers promise.
While the Broncos have yet to find their way back to the playoffs since their last Super Bowl win and Manning's ensuing retirement, they did find their second winner in Lock.
Lock went 4-1 last season, joining Trevor Siemian, who went 13-11, as the only two QBs post-Manning to record winning records as a Denver starter. Of the seven starting quarterbacks after Manning, Lock's four wins are stunningly already more than four of them had in their Broncos' tenures: Joe Flacco (2-6), Brandon Allen (1-2), Paxton Lynch (1-3) and Brock Osweiler (0-4). He's likely to pass Case Keenum's pedestrian 6-10 showing, as well.
How did Drew Lock's rookie season compare to John Elway's
John Elway 1983 Drew Lock 2019
W-L 4-6 4-1
TD:INT 7-14 7-3
Yards 1,663 1,020
Comp. % 47.5 64.1
In 2019, Lock's time as a starter came across the final five weeks of the season after Denver had already seen Flacco and Allen try out the starting job. In that span from Weeks 13-17, Lock's four wins were more than any QBs other than Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes, per NFL Research.
With wide receiver Courtland Sutton, running back Phillip Lindsay and tight end Noah Fant already on board, the Broncos added tailback Melvin Gordon via free agency and wideouts Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler in the draft. Lock's rookie performance provided plenty of reason for optimism and the Broncos' offseason additions provide even more.
So maybe the Broncos' search is over and Lock, the seventh starting quarterback since Manning's retirement, will once again have the Broncos faithful believing No. 7 can lead them to prominence.