Visor Man's Warning
Does a Bizarre 1989 Denver Broncos Incident Finally Make Sense?
By Pete Tothero
he above photo is the only visual evidence that survives from the infamous 1989 Denver Broncos regular season game in which an unknown man wearing an orange visor appeared on the sideline, uttered a series of strange statements, and then disappeared. What follows is a transcript of a recording discovered mis-filed (deliberately?) in the NFL Films archive as “Neil Lomax halftime speech, St. Louis Cardinals.” When played, however, the recording is clearly what NFL Films microphones picked up of the encounter between coach Dan Reeves, quarterback John Elway, backup quarterback Gary Kubiak, and “Visor Man.” Kubiak spent his entire nine-year playing career as Elway’s backup. He is currently the Broncos’ head coach. The recording begins as Elway approaches the sideline.
ELWAY: No more shovel passes, I’m not running that crap anymore. What we’re gonna do is—
REEVES: Got some blood on your hand there, John. Gary, could you get a towel and wipe the blood off John’s—
ELWAY: Vance and Mark are just gonna go long and do whatever. Steve, too.
REEVES: Gary! Get your hands outta your pants! I told you ’bout that!
KUBIAK: [Indecipherable mumbling]
REEVES: Then move around a little! Christ, it’s like I’m—
VISOR MAN: No more right sweeps, no more bubble screens.
REEVES: Wait, who’s this guy?
VISOR MAN: I’m from the future. They must have put in the wrong coordinates and I ended up here but you have to listen, the transfer only works for a minute! Gary will be the coach of the Broncos in 2015! Gary, you have to stop calling bubble screens in the red zone or something horrible will happen!
KUBIAK: I ain’t no coach.
VISOR MAN: Yes, but in 2015 you’re still trying to be. And it goes to hell and John has to fire you, so please listen.
REEVES: What am I doing in 2015?
VISOR MAN: I don’t know, you’re fine. But listen, John is Vice-President.
ELWAY: Vice-President of America?
VISOR MAN: No, John, the Broncos. You guys never leave the Broncos, you just keep coming back. Gary, listen, you have to stick with Osweiler.
KUBIAK: “Off swiler?” Is that the play where you hand off and the running back runs to the side for a loss of three? I like that play.
VISOR MAN: It’s not a play, Gary, it’s a quarterback! Gary, I’m trying to save you. Listen very closely: do not do what you think is right. You are not a smart person and your instincts about everything are absolutely wrong. Do not do what you think you should do!
ELWAY: Do I ever win a Super Bowl?
REFEREE: Let’s go, let’s go, time out’s over.
REEVES: We gotta crazy guy here needs to be removed, I think.
Detail: Kubiak and Reeves confused as the man in the visor utters the name “Osweiler” in 1989.
ELWAY: Hey, 2015 guy, do I ever win a Super Bowl?
REFEREE: You want Kubiak removed? Kubiak, you can’t put your hands in your pants. League rules.
KUBIAK: [Indecipherable mumbling]
REFEREE: Coach, you want him removed?
REEVES: Not Kubiak, this guy here who...Where’d he go?
ELWAY: So everyone goes long, I run around ’til someone’s open. We’re done here.
REEVES: Where’d that guy go?
REEVES: I know John’s on the field, Gary! I’m not talkin’ about John!
REFEREE: Kubiak’s gotta get his hands out of his pants, coach. Official warning.
REEVES: Gary, get your hands outta your pants! I swear to God it’s like I’m dealin’ with a—
KUBIAK: You’re always yelling at me! You hate me, I know you do!
REEVES: Don’t start with that [expletive] again, Gary, we’re in the middle of a game. Did we call a play? What are we running?
KUBIAK: You always say we’re in the middle of a game! You never listen to what I—
REEVES: John...no, what’re you doing, John? Watch out! Don’t...no, John, don’t throw it, there’s not...YES! YES!
[Indecipherable beneath crowd noise. Recording ends.]
Pete Tothero is the magazine’s Sports Editor. He also writes about television advertisements.