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Jeff Vorva's Extra Point: Toasted in Orland, roasted in Denver

  • Written by Jeff Vorva

 

Columnsig924

Page 1 Bronco Schofield

This is what Sandburg High School Athletic Director Mark Krusz has to say about Eagles alum Michael Schofield, who is playing in the Super Bowl for Denver on Sunday:

“I gotta tell you, what a great experience this is for the village of Orland Park and Sandburg to share in. He’s such a humble kid from a great family. We’re all very excited about this.’’

This is what Devner area writer Kyle Montgomery said about Schofield in his Mile High blog:

“To call Denver Broncos right tackle Michael Schofield ‘embattled’ would be an understatement. ‘Maligned’ doesn't quite do it either. The guy is the least popular Bronco in the Peyton Manning era.’’

This is what new Sandburg football coach Scott Peters – who coached Schofield when the kid played on both the offense and defensive lines for the Eagles -- said:

“It’s awesome to know someone who is playing at this level. We’re really excited to see Mike do great things. I would like nothing more for him to come back and talk to our kids with a Super Bowl ring this summer. He’s a great kid and we’re super excited and super pumped for Mike.’’

This is what Denver Post columnist Troy Renk said about Schofield before a playoff game against Pittsburgh:

“Be warned Broncos fans. Michael Schofield might start at right tackle Sunday. If that news requires medication, meditation or amnesia, plan accordingly.

“The idea of Schofield even playing strained credulity after Tyler Polumbus replaced him in the season finale victory over San Diego. Polumbus entered the game in the third quarter at the same time as Peyton Manning. Both had success.

Schofield and Polumbus will see snaps against Pittsburgh. Why would the Broncos risk using the slumping Schofield?”

Schofield is the toast Orland Park but has gotten roasted in Denver.

Welcome to the world of professional sports.

It’s a tough business. And in the past, I had column when I covered the pros and I will admit I could be as rough on some players and teams as Renk and Montgomery were on our local hero. So I am not jumping on them as being the bad guys.

Denver is about a thousand miles away from Orland Park on the map and about a million miles away when it comes to the subject of Michael Schofield.

A lot of people around here see him as the kid who starred for the Eagles and University of Michigan and is now a part of the biggest game in the world. Others admire him for being humble and quiet and a kid who comes back home and talks to Sandburg kids in the weight room and still gives speeches to kids and adults about the evils of heroin and other drugs.

A lot of people around Denver blame him for getting quarterbacks Manning and Brock Osweiler clobbered during games. After a couple of bad games toward the end of the season, Schofield was pulled in the middle of the final regular season game of the year.

It was a low point.

His father, also named Michael and the acting Orland Fire Protection District chief, was in his son’s corner his whole life and he admits it wasn’t easy to read and hear criticism of his flesh and blood.

“The criticism is tough on any parent,” he said. “You know how hard he worked to get where he is at. You saw how he performed against Green Bay, the Bears, the Patriots the first time and the Steelers the first time.  He had some of his best games against the best teams in the country and you have one real bad game and I think the talk on ESPN and the papers affected him. As a young kid, how could it not?’’

Schofield played well against Pittsburgh and well enough against New England in the playoffs to get to Sunday’s game against Carolina and few people are scrutinizing his game right now.

“He came right back,” the elder Schofield said. “The websites are a lot nicer to him now after the last two games. And the team rallied around him.

“A lot of the issues were that he was a new offensive tackle and his best games were with Peyton. Now Brock comes in [after Manning was injured] and it’s a different game. Brock holds the ball longer and Michael had three sub-par games. He played the top defensive players in the country and there was a change in the offense. Now that Payton is back in, he is playing the way he did before.’’

Like umpires in baseball, offensive linemen’s success is determined by people NOT noticing them. You do your job and do it quietly. You screw up and…well…your quarterback gets splattered and you get the blame.

Not to be a cheerleader here, but I’m hoping for a nice, quiet Sunday afternoon for Schofield.

Then, maybe the critics from Denver will get closer to sharing the people of Orland Park’s feelings about him.