What a crazy, sloppy, ugly game in the cold, cloudy, windy at the second mistake by the lake in Cleveland, but at least my Denver Broncos remained undefeated in their 26-23 OverTime win against the Browns. Aquib Talib had another pick six, Emmanuel Sanders had a 75-yard Touchdown from Peyton Manning and Brandon McManus went three for four including the game winning field goal in OT. Otherwise, the Broncos did not look good. Peyton threw two interceptions and our number one defense looked anything but.
After a six-hour drive and a visit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame the day before and barely six hours sleep, I was up bright and early Sunday morning ready to watch my Broncos! I looked out the window and saw dark clouds, wind and snow/sleet. What the heck? It’s not even Halloween yet. Since it was snowing and in the 30s, I decided not to go to First Energy Stadium early to try to meet the players as they arrived. Instead, I arrived around 10:30am, a half hour before the gates open – still too early to be standing out in that frigidly cold wind. I lined up at the gate with fellow Broncos fans from Virginia, Indianapolis, New York and Tennessee.
Once inside, I quickly ran to my seat (completely forgetting to stop by the team store for my game day pin) so as not to miss a second of warm ups. I couldn’t have been happier with my seat! I was six rows off the field at the goal line on the Broncos side between the tunnel and the bench (and far away from the Dawg Pound). The players came out to warm up: first the kickers, then the receivers, then the quarterbacks, then the defense and then the coaches and front office including my reason for being a Broncos fan JOHN ELWAY! It was at this moment when I felt, or rather heard, the hatred of the Cleveland fans for my Denver Broncos – especially John Elway. They haven’t gotten over “The Drive” – where we beat them in the last two minutes driving 98 yards to tie the game and then won with a field goal in overtime. That was January 11, 1987, almost 30 years ago – get over it! Or maybe they are angry because the Broncos have beaten the Browns the past 11 times they have played. For whatever the reason they hate the Broncos so much, Cleveland is a rough town with their fans rivaling those in Philadelphia.
Luckily my section was a good mix of Broncos and Browns fans. I was of course very loud cheering on my team. I never boo an opposing team. I just cheer for my own team – and very loudly. But if anyone yells anything against my team, I will yell back defending them. Needless to say, I got a lot of stares and don’t think I was very popular in Cleveland. (oh well!) The game was back and forth and then we finally won with a field goal in overtime. The second that ball cleared the uprights, I ran down to the front where I had been for pregame warm ups to watch my Broncos leave the field. As the players were running by, I realized the stadium was playing U2’s “Desire” over the loud speakers. What a perfect victory song for me! Then John Elway walked by and I started screaming! He just gave me the head nod and smiled.
After all the players had gone inside and the stadium had almost cleared out, I figured it was safe for me to start my walk back to the hotel. I was going to go wait out to try to meet the players, but according to the video the Broncos posted they drove into the stadium (giving no opportunity to meet them outside). And when we were walking out, we saw the motorcade drive out, so I didn’t miss any opportunities. I used the phrase ‘walking out’ loosely. It was a pedestrian traffic jam to where we were all a huge mob shuffling toward the intersection – and this was outside of the stadium. On the almost mile walk back to my hotel and even inside the hotel lobby, I was yelled at and booed for being a Broncos fan. All I had to say was, “We’re undefeated 6-0!” That seemed to silence them.
Please click here to see all of my photos from the Broncos – Browns game in Cleveland (just scroll through the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame pics first).