Congratulations! I knew you could do it!
Hey guys. We’re down to the nitty gritty now aren’t we? Excitement coursing through our veins and nervousness ebbing and flowing–it’s enough to drive us crazy, am I right? Thinking of loved ones and wanting to do them proud, knowing that we’re on the cusp of something so fulfilling and rewarding has made it hard to sleep, yes? It’s rare, this incredible moment and I can’t help wanting (no, yearning) for us to come back Champions.
You’re probably thinking, “What is this WE stuff, girlfriend?” I mean, I’m certainly not the one who trains every day, someone who has been hounded and hounded over and over again by everyone under the sun for the last fourteen days. I don’t have to worry about finding plane and game tickets for every relative I’ve never met. I haven’t had to ride the roller coaster of every game, dig down deep and make magic happen. But…But.
Aside from not physically being at the game playing by your side, I am here rooting for you in Denver and I AM part of the team. I’ve tried to stay away from the drama of a “Super” game that has no real physical payoff for me personally, but I can’t. Years and years of devotion to football (and to your team specifically) has made where you begin and I end harder to differentiate. I bleed orange and blue–and that isn’t always a good thing.
Some of my first real memories from my childhood come from standing around a kitchen island in the house of someone from my family, making tamales and shouting at the quarterback. John Elway had just become our number one when I started paying attention to the game. Laughing and playing with cousins one minute, and then standing, staring and screaming at the television the next. It was exhilarating and I did every thing I could to learn every aspect of the game. Admittedly, it was difficult to learn and follow everything that was going on, but I loved it and I internalized it–hard core.
We went to the “Super” game a couple of times in the eighties and we basically had our hearts ripped out and stepped on for the world to see. We went to the “Super” game back to back again in the late nineties and we won both (the Green Bay game made me feel more alive than I ever had before) and I felt it was our right, our time. I was so damn proud. I made the drive to Denver only to get my car surrounded by thousands of other orange clad people screaming and hugging as if this were the best thing that could ever happen to us. I got pepper sprayed, damnit. (But it was worth it.)
My favorite players began to leave (I love you Terrell!) and my attention began to waive. I enjoyed the grit of Bubby Brister, I quietly cheered Kyle Orton, and I said goodbye to Eddie Mac…My life was continuing on and it was harder and harder to keep up. But I did. I knew the numbers even if I hadn’t seen the games. I was finally making my own money but I could never double down on the one purchase I always swore I was going to make when I could afford it–season tickets to the Broncos. I just couldn’t find the desire I once had.
Then Tim Tebow showed up and the Broncos were being talked about on every television and radio channel everywhere. Who is this kid? Is he even that great? What has he got? I didn’t know, but the unity of our fans was firing up again and it was contagious. I started watching more games and more games and then…he was gone. It was confusing (because he was so popular) to see us going through another big change (because he wasn’t THAT good) and I just kind of dropped the ball on keeping up with your team. Then Elway showed up again.
You would have thought that OJ was in the white bronco driving on the highway again the way that our local media followed Peyton Manning’s arrival to Denver to talk with Elway. I watched him step off the plane, get in the car and drive to the Broncos headquarters. It was like the king had arrived–and I barely knew who Petyon Manning was. I mean, I knew he was an elite quarterback, but outside of Denver there weren’t exactly many teams I was willing to spend my time on. People were pumped. He was going to elevate the team. But wait, was he even going to join the team?
But he did. Not so great at first, but then he started to get his groove back. The Broncos were winning. No, the Broncos were WINNING! The roller coaster had begun again and I was all in. I started buying tickets to games, I found places around town to watch the game with like minded people. I bought a jersey! (Those suckers are expensive!)
Then two years ago we made it back to the show. You cannot even imagine how much NFL television I watched the week before. The predictions, the stupid banter, the animals picking their favorite teams… And we were playing Seattle! I have always been an AFC girl and they had been our AFC West Division so long I actually liked them. If they hadn’t been going against the Broncos I would have rooted for them. But I also felt sorry for them. They couldn’t beat us. No freaking way. (Crickets.)
I can’t get really deep into the devastation that was Super Bowl XXXXVIII. Really. I basically felt that I had been personally violated on national television. I can’t even begin to understand how you felt. By half time I had been through all seven stages of grief! By third quarter I began to believe it was a farce–someone was punking us. But no, it really happened and I had to quit you. I couldn’t face television for two weeks and I sure as hell could not have cared less about you and your stupid orange and blue.
But, I still watched. Watched as we had a decent year and then fall short of the big show. I wasn’t mad though. I didn’t think your hearts were in it that much and I sure didn’t want to get back to the top only to topple down again. I was happy with how last year came out. I saw how you were training for this year and felt, at best, we had an 8-8 season ahead of us. Boy, was I wrong.
Not that your season has been all that great, but you have the eye of the tiger right now. You have a spark in you that I haven’t seen in many years and I am loving it! I love the teamwork, the defense, the FIRE! I know that there a very few people outside of Denver that really think you have a chance against Carolina, but I disagree. You do have the power. You have the opportunity. You have the energy. You can do it!
Please don’t give up or rest on your laurels. Fight to the end–it’s what you have done to get here and it is what you need to do to beat the Panthers. I believe in you, the whole city believe in you, and we can’t wait to see the show you put on for us tomorrow!
© DRB 2016