Peyton Manning broke his Meadowlands curse yesterday when the Denver Broncos defeated the New York Jets 31-17, but it wasn’t easy. The Broncos struggled a bit on both offense and defense, actually letting the Jets into the game. It didn’t help that every penalty, except one, was against Denver. Seriously, every one! Manning threw three Touchdown passes bringing his career total to 506, just two shy of Favre’s NFL record. Julius Thomas now holds the NFL record for most Touchdown receptions (9) by a Tight End through five games. The Broncos tied the second longest streak in NFL history with their 26th consecutive regular season game with 20 plus points. The record is 28 points by St. Louis in the 1999-2000 seasons.
It was the third time in 13 months the Broncos had been to Met Life stadium, and it was also my third time there in a year (Super Bowl, Eminem concert, and now the Jets game). I continued my one Broncos game a season streak I’ve had since 2010. It doesn’t seem like much, but it is hard being a Denver Broncos fan living in Memphis and Baltimore. I’ve seen the Broncos play many times throughout my life (even at Mile High), but for the past five seasons I’ve seen them once each season: 2010 in Nashville against the Titans, 2011 in Nashville against the Titans, 2012 in Baltimore against the Ravens, 2013 season Super Bowl, 2014 in New York against the Jets.
Realizing I could not wear anything I wore to the Super Bowl last year at Met Life (why tempt fate?), I went old school wearing my John Elway jersey from the 1980s – the same one I wore in high school (it was a lot bigger on me back then). I wore a different hat, different jewelry, different shoes, everything. I drove up from Philadelphia, where I had been for the Nick and Knight concert (to see Jordan Knight) the night before. I didn’t get much sleep, woke up at 8am and was on the road just before 9am. I arrived at Met Life Stadium just after 10:30, and got a great parking spot near the exit (for easy access after) and near my gate. And my gate was right next to my section. The air was cold, but in the sun I knew I would be warm. I had nothing on under my jersey and had jeans on and flip flops. I was wearing a hat and took a sweatshirt. Of course my section was one of three that was in the shade the entire game. I was freezing, and my friends sitting in the sun were sweating. But I had an amazing seat! I was eight rows off the field in the corner endzone on the Broncos side next to the tunnel, but it was the wrong tunnel.
There were SO many Broncos fans in my section next to me and behind me, and in the stadium overall. There was a sea of orange. Back in the days before Peyton Manning, there wouldn’t have been so many Broncos fans at a New York Jets game. I used to be one of five. But yesterday at 15 minutes before kickoff the stadium was still half empty and most of those in the seats were wearing Orange. No one said a word to me in my Broncos gear. When I where just a Broncos hat to a Ravens game, when the Broncos aren’t even playing, I get screamed at, but the Jets fans were very nice. Thank goodness I never saw the dog killer. I thought I did, but then realized Geno Smith wears number 7. I missed seeing the Broncos in Philadelphia a few years ago because I refused to support a team who would employ a dog killer, but I guess I’ve let that go a bit now, but I’m REALLY glad I didn’t have to look at his dog killing face – and no one was wearing his jersey.
I was SO excited for this game, almost more than I was for the Super Bowl. Maybe because it was more relaxed and not as much riding on the outcome. Peyton’s first pass of the day was amazing, like a bullet coming right toward me. It was a 54-yard pass to Demaryius Thomas. Unfortunately, that drive only resulted in a field goal and those were the only points Denver scored in the first quarter. All the Broncos’ offensive touchdowns took place in the second and third quarters in the other endzone. And that was also the endzone next to the Broncos tunnel. I’ll know better next time. But I did witness the exciting finish just eight rows in front of me. With Denver ahead by only one touchdown, something exciting was finally happening in my endzone! My boys DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller sacked Geno Smith right in front of me! Then with only a minute left, the Jets were back in the endzone when Broncos’ Aqib Talib had a Pick 6 and high kicked into the endzone, my endzone. The screaming was so loud! My throat is still sore. It was a 22-yard interception that put the Broncos up 31-17, improving their record to 4-1. And their only loss this season was that come-from-behind loss to the Seahawks in overtime.
Since I stayed to the end of the game, I thought it was going to be tough to get out – and it was a little. I fought my way up the stairs. Being in the front has a disadvantage when you’re trying to get out. There was a lot of traffic getting out of the parking lot, even with my primo spot. I finally made it to the Jersey Turnpike and it was smooth sailing … for a half hour. Then it was stop and go from exit 9 through 6 and very congested after that all the way home. But I still made decent time getting home in just under four hours, singing U2 very loudly the entire way. I was exhausted because I had been running since Saturday afternoon with no down time. I drove up to Philly for the Jordan Knight concert, checked into my hotel, then walked a mile to the concert, then walked a mile back, then went to sleep but couldn’t sleep, then woke up and drove up to Jersey for the Broncos game, and drove home after the game. Sad this was my last road trip until the U2 tour next year (I have to save money and vacation days) – unless you count my day trip to Philly in December to see my Grizzlies play. I was looking forward to that Broncos game SO much. I am sad it’s over, knowing I don’t have anymore Broncos games to look forward to – unless they make the playoffs…