As another glorious NFL season is upon us, I thought I would share a story about the team I love. Being born and raised in Denver, Colorado you learn quickly that the Denver Broncos are king and the whole city is enamored with Broncos football. My family was no different. My grandfather first purchased our season tickets in the 1960's. The waiting list is now 28,000 strong and 15 years long.
I was brought up a die hard fan by the hands of my father. A burly man, my dad bled orange and blue and rarley ever missed a game. My grandfather passed away in 1980. Prior to that, my father and grandfather attended almost every game with various other members of the family including my grandmother and three aunts.
When my grandfather fell ill my father camped over night to get him a elevator pass so he could still attend games. My father then became the patriarch of the beloved season tickets. We would figure out who was going that week and we would all meet up at the great Mile High Stadium. We had four tickets, with my dad always sitting at the aisle.
My earliest memories of going to game on Sunday with my old man were of him having perhaps a few too many pops and screaming at then coach Dan Reeves at the top his lungs to " run it up the gut, Reeves ". The conserviative Reeves always had a tendicy to run quite more than the fans would prefer, especially with having a quarterback with a monstorous cannon of a arm by the name of John Elway. My dad hated Dan Reeves but he loved John Elway, as did the entire state of Colorado.
You have to understand, being a Broncos fan in the 80's and 90's was extremely painful. They had been blown out of four straight Super Bowls. They had always been known as the talented team who could never beat the NFC powerhouses of the time. I remember having a gigantic Super Bowl party as a child for the debacle againsts the Redskins. We had the whole house decorated, only to blow it again.
My father attended all but one of the Broncos six Super Bowls. He rarley ever had a ticket but he always got in. Then came the great season of 1997. The Broncos made it to the playoffs as a wild card and won there way to Super Bowl XXXII. The Broncos were heavy 12 point underdogs coming in to the game against the defending champion Green Bay Packers. My dad flew down to San Diego and got himself in the game. January 25, 1998 was the greatest sports day in our lives. The Broncos finally did it. They upset the packers in dramatic fashion with John Elway scrambling for a run and diving head first in what would later be called " the helicopter ". Pure joy, I tell you what. The celebration lasted weeks, not days. They would win it again the next year to go back-to-back.
Having that sports bond with my father was great. My brother and I loved going to games with the "old man". My father unexpectedly passed away 3 years ago after a short bout with cancer at the age of 53. The memories I have of him and our football team are some of my strongest. As another season is upon us and I, now 28 am the holder of the beloved tickets, I attend the game every week sitting in my dad's aisle seat. I look forward to another great season of Denver Broncos football, and I can't wait wait until I can take my young daughter to the game and pass on the great family tradition that is Broncos Football. What a great game!