Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 3/20/12

The Denver Broncos have retired jersey No. 18–but the only player to ever wear that number for Denver said last week that he wanted to make it available for Manning.

Former Notre Dame quarterback Frank Tripucka wore No. 18 for three seasons in the 1960s, when he was the first quarterback in Bronco history. After his tenure, the number was ceremonially retired. But Tripucka is just fine with breaking it out of storage. The 84-year-old Tripucka said that if Manning wants that number, “He should have it. Let’s give it to him.”

And that’s a good thing because his number shouldn’t have been retired anyway. Frank “Trip” Tripucka has probably the worst statistical career of anyone who’s ever had their number retired.

He had a passer rating of 52.2 over his career, and 55.9 while with Denver. He threw 34 interceptions in just 14 games in 1960, and 20+ in 1961 and 1962. And in 1963, he tossed just 15 passes, but still had 5 of them picked off. Stunningly bad. Just hilarious bad. Yet the Denver Broncos decided to retire his number anyway?

Why just because he was the first signal caller in franchise history? That’s really messed up. Frank “Trip” Tripucka getting his jersey number retired is like the worst participation trophy in Little League history. It truly is the prime example of everyone gets a ribbon mentality.

Also, his son is Kelly Tripucka, former Notre Dame and Detroit Pistons star.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.

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