Since it is the last day of February, I thought I should wrap up all this Denver Broncos hoopla surrounding their Super Bowl win. Although I do get to wear my Broncos gear proudly knowing we’re the best team in the NFL until September. For the first time since 1999, I can wear my Denver attire and not have anyone make fun of my team. They still will though, but they have no right to because my Denver Broncos are World Champions!!! It has been 17 long years since I’ve been able to say that.
My Denver Broncos have won Super Bowls 32, 33 and 50 – 3 time Super Bowl Champs! And John Elway has been at the helm for all three, first as a Quarterback and now as General Manager. I love that man! Not how I love DeMarcus Ware though – big sigh! I love DWare the way I love Brady Anderson, and I love John Elway the way I love Cal Ripken. But I digress. After losing those three horrid Super Bowls in the 1980s when I was in high school, I cried like a baby when the Broncos defeated the Packers to win their first Super Bowl in 1998 (the 1997 season) and owner Pat Bowlen said, “This one’s for John!” Nothing will ever beat that moment for me as a Broncos fan. 17 years later, those feelings were brought back when John Elway hoisted that Lombardi trophy high in the air after Denver defeated Carolina to win Super Bowl 50 and said, “This one’s for Pat!” (Owner Pat Bowlen has stepped back from operations as he deals with his alzheimers.)
This championship season was one of ups and downs for me and the Broncos. I was very happy when we opened up the season with a win over the Baltimore Ravens, came from behind to beat the Kansas City Chiefs on the first Thursday Night Football, beat the Browns as I traveled to Cleveland to watch the game, and then annihilated the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football. The Broncos were undefeated at 7-0 and then we lost two terrible back to back games against the Colts and the Chiefs. Petyon Manning got hurt in the Colts game, but still played in the Chiefs game until they finally took him out. Brock Osweiler took over at the end of that game and started the next five games. The Broncos won the first three games behind Brock and then lost the fourth and fifth to the Raiders and the Steelers. It was after these two terrible back to back losses that I just figured this wasn’t our season. I still bled blue and orange (I mean if I can live through those 3 super bowl losses in the 80s and still be a fan I can live through anything), but thought we’d regroup for next season. I honestly haven’t thought my Broncos were Super Bowl worthy since the season they lost to the Ravens in that horrible double OT playoff game a few years ago. I thought that was our season, but they proved me wrong the next season (although they lost to the Seahawks in Super Bowl 48) and they proved me wrong this season. I’m glad to admit I was wrong. But again it doesn’t mean I didn’t love my Broncos any less, just that I didn’t think we’d go to the Super Bowl.
Peyton came back to finish the season, and the Broncos won their final two games. He wasn’t the same though – we won in spite of Peyton, not because of him. The Denver Defense carried us through, as they had all season long. There were many games this season where the Broncos did not score an offensive touchdown. We owe this championship season to our Defense – and special teams. Let’s not forget about Brandon McManus who should really be our Offensive Player of the Year in my opinion – he kept us alive in most games. I never drank the Peyton Manning KoolAid. He was a great quarterback during his career, and did well for us most of the past four years. I have been a Denver Broncos fan for 30 years, long before Peyton and I will be a Broncos fan long after he’s gone.
When the Broncos made the playoffs and got that first round bye, I no longer had doubts. I knew we were going all the way. And when no one gave us a shot to win Super Bowl 50, I knew the Broncos would win. Again, our defense and special teams won that game for us as they had done all season. Now on to next season. I hope Peyton retires and our defense stays mostly in tact and Brock continues to improve with the Broncos. Not sure which away game I will be going to next season – either Tampa (close to my parents) or Nashville (close to my beloved Memphis) or Cincinnati (closest driving distance). But for the rest of the games I know I will be at MaGerk’s in Federal Hill watching with my friends in the Denver Broncos Fan Club – Baltimore Chapter.