The unlikely rise of Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian

Quarterback Trevor Siemian of the Denver Broncos in action against the Los Angeles Rams on Aug. 27, 2016.
Image: Getty Images

To sum up the story of current Denver Broncos starting quarterback Trevor Siemian’s football career, you have to look back all the way back to Nov. 8, 2014.

That’s when Siemian was a senior at Northwestern on the verge of upsetting Big Ten rival Michigan at home. It was Siemian’s first year stepping into the limelight, finally grabbing ahold of a starting job he’d spent the previous two years platooning with fellow quarterback Kain Colter, a player more famous for attempting to unionize college athletes than for his gridiron exploits.

A win over Michigan on Nov. 8 would have been a huge check for Siemian’s thin college rsum and, at first, it seemed as if that would happen. He connected on a touchdown pass with three seconds left in , but rather than tie it and go into overtime, the Wildcats opted to go for two points and the win. So, Siemian took the snap, rolled right and … fell on his butt. ( Really, watch the highlight at 0:40 below .)

Michigan won. The Wildcats fell back into relative obscurity. Furthermore, video games a long-winded metaphor for Siemian’s career: one expend constantly within shouting distance of greatness, but so often spent falling inches short.

Which is why it’s so odd we find ourselves where we are today. Trevor Siemian a longshot by any criterion to make it onto a professional roster, so much so that he reportedly debated going to get commercial real estate after college instead of pursuing football not only stimulated it to the NFL. He’s currently the starting quarterback of the defending Super Bowl champs in only his second year , no less.

It’s a scenario so farfetched it became one of the NFL’s biggest punchlines come the start of the start of the season.

But, minus missing two weeks to a shoulder trauma, Siemian’s play has actually been impressive, leading the Broncos to a 3-1 record in games he’s started. He’s run from third-string back-up to touchdown-tossing machine in record period, even if it took a bionic neck and a green-eyed back-up to get there. And the more he plays, the more he looks like a guy are worth starting under center in the NFL.

It’s a bit of an understatement to say this kind of thing doesn’t happen. Siemian was selected six picks from the end of the 2015 . Late-round quarterbacks not named Tom Brady often have a tough time making rosters in the NFL, let alone a starting gig. So how did we get here?

An underdog’s rise

Northwestern quarterback Trevor Siemian( 13) smiles as he celebrates with cornerback Joe Cannon after Northwestern defeated Notre Dame 43 -4 0 in overtime on Nov. 15, 2014.

Image: AP

Siemian played four years at NU, but his Northwesternian propensities of hurling the ball into turf or to person not wearing purples often made more headaches than cheers.

Splitting time with Colter in 2012 and 2013 cut his reps in half, but Siemian’s arm strength and awareness often drew kudo by coaches when he did consider the field. And there were definitely flashes of greatness.

In 2013, Siemian throw for 120 yards and ran for a touchdown against Mississippi State to help Northwestern to win its first bowl game since 1949. And in 2014, Siemian hurl for 284 yards and a rating to topple No. 18 Notre Dame in overtime. They’re scarcely moments to boast to NFL GMs about, but just enough to turn heads.

The Broncos took a chance on Siemian in the final round of the 2015 NFL Draft, despite him tearing his ACL during the second-to-last game of his senior season, which alone would have been enough for most to look the other way. But Siemian awaited on the Broncos bench for a year before skyrocketing up the depth chart following soon-to-be Hall of Famer Peyton Manning’s retirement and the decently mediocre Brock Osweiler bolting for Houston as a free agent this past off-season.

Siemian hasn’t appeared back. Take his game against the Bengals on Sept. 25 for example. He flung a season-best four touchdowns and 312 yards, all while looking like the second coming of Denver football legend John Elway himself, his most impressive throws coming on a 41 -yard arching touchdown bomb to Emmanuel Sanders and a 55 -yard heave to Demaryius Thomas for a score.

“Obviously going in , nobody really knew about him, ” Sanders told reporters after video games. “Now everybody’s starting to talk about him. He’s always soothe, cool and collected, even in the fourth quarter. You should have watched the route he took command in the huddle.”

It’s a far cry from what anyone could have imagined, especially for a guy who threw a pick on his first series in the NFL. But Siemian continues to impress on a squad that could very well expresses its consent to be bound for back-to-back Super Bowl appearances. In the NFL’s current cutthroat quarterback marketplace, he may not end up being the long-term solution in Denver, but the fact that he’s had this much success so fast is a feat in its own.

In fact, Monday night he’ll square off against Osweiler, the Broncos’ former successor under center, when Denver hosts the Texans on Monday Night Football . It’s Osweiler’s departure this off-season that paved the route for Siemian’s surprise success story, and now he has an opportunity to outshine his former teammate.

All of which voices a helluva lot better than selling office space in suburban Chicago, and a just a tad bit crazy with everything considered.

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