Being, from Boston and, a fan of the Denver Broncos has been a roller coaster ride. I have experienced moments of great elation, and instances of utter despair. “Why don’t you like Boston teams?” I love all of the teams from Boston! The Patriots are from some foreign land called New England. (If you read my post, ‘Why I Cry on The 4th of July,’ you know that I like old England!)
“Of all teams, why did you pick Denver?” It all started on the twenty sixth day of January in the year 1986; it was a cold windy day. The Chicago Bears were playing in the Super Bowl against the lowly Patriots from New England. I, along with my cousin “Dough”, cheered for the Bears. The Bears killed the Patriots and we celebrated like a young man who, after a week of confusion, just learned that his girlfriend received her period! (I have no idea if it was windy, but the Bears destroyed the Patsies, so I decided to pay homage to the victorious squad!)
Following the Super Bowl victory, I was a Bears fan…or so I thought! Dough quickly notified me that the Bears were his team. “How could he be so cruel?” I wondered. It was I who cheered louder than anyone for Walter Peyton, the Fridge, Ditka and the gang! I didn’t know what to do, until…
My cousin Kevin stepped in and offered a great suggestion. “You should choose the Broncos; they have John Elway!” He said. I have been a Broncos fan ever since!
For years, the Patriots were the laughing stock of the NFL. My favorite year was 1990, when the team finished with a 1-15 record! (What a wonderful time it was to be alive! When it comes to competitions, my friends and family members talk a lot of trash…the Patsies sucked and I GAVE THEM HELL!)
For those who don’t know much about NFL history, allow me break down how difficult it was to be a Broncos fan in the eighties and early nineties. In 1987, the very next season following the Bears victory, my new team, the Broncos, won the AFC title and played in the Super Bowl against the New York Giants. We lost the game 39-20. (I say we, because I am that kind of fan!) It was a tough loss, but I was happy that my squad was a dominant force. “We’ll win it next year!” I boasted.
John Elway, the greatest quarterback in the history of the NFL, backed me up and led the Broncos to another Super Bowl appearance the very next year, against the Washington Redskins. I was extremely pleased. (I tortured Kevin! “Thanks for suggesting the Broncos…I owe it all to you!” I taunted.) The game started perfectly. John Elway hit Ricky Nattiel for a long touchdown pass and the Broncos put up a quick ten points. I was talking so much trash. I can remember the game like it was yesterday! The Redskins went on to score forty-two points; we lost 42-10. (It was not a pleasant year!) “How do you lose two Super Bowls in a row?” Why are you guys asking me? I didn’t play jackasses!
Two years later, my Broncos did it again. The great John Elway led the team to another Super Bowl appearance, against the San Francisco 49ers. I had no doubt we would win. Boy was I wrong! The 49ers embarrassed us! The final score was 55-10, and my phone rang with every touchdown! I will never forget one call, in particular. I picked up the phone, “Peter, your team stinks!” It was Dough’s father! (Super Bowl XXIV was one of the longest days of my life!)
That’s right folks; we appeared in Super Bowls XXI, XXII, and XXIV. We lost all three in a four year span. “The biggest chokers in the history of the NFL!” “Elway is a born loser!” The trash-talk was vicious and on-going. In a way, I deserved it because when my team was winning, I could dish out the vitriol with the best of them! (It doesn’t take a genius to figure out how horrible the next few years were for me!)
Thankfully, the Buffalo Bills existed. “Why do you say that?” Because the Bills, the quintessence of choke, appeared in an unprecedented four consecutive Super Bowls from 1991-1994; they lost all four! The Broncos were still considered “Big Chokers,” but the Bills were the undefeated Kings of Choke!
The only satisfaction that I had during this low period as a Broncos fan was the fact that the Patriots SUCKED! We were choke artists, but we were relevant. Everything changed in 1997. The Patriots shocked the world and won the AFC. They were In the Super Bowl against the Green Bay Packers. I was scared out of my mind. I would never hear the end of it, if the Patsies won the Championship before the Broncos! Luckily, the Packers prevailed (35-21) and the Patsies returned to their rightful place in the league’s basement.
In 1998, an aging John Elway’s career was reinvigorated by a great young talent, running back Terrell Davis. The Broncos won the AFC and appeared in the Super Bowl against the defending Champions,the Green Bay Packers. Would 1998 finally be the year? The Broncos led by seven with a few seconds remaining on the clock. Brett Favre threw a fourth down pass which was knocked to the ground by Denver linebacker John Mobley. WE DID IT!!! The score was 31-24; I was finally a Champion. Team owner Pat Bowlen, held up the Lombardi Trophy and said the famous words, “This one’s for John!” I rarely get to the point of tears, but on that day, my eyes were watery! (What a wonderful time to be a Broncos fan!) I’ll never forget sitting in my dining room and simply enjoying the moment. I didn’t make any phone calls, I just enjoyed the moment! I felt like a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. (The phone rang; it was Kevin. He was the first person to congratulate me!)
The Broncos were no longer losers. The team won for all of the great players of the past. Steve Atwater was still playing safety and knocking players out. Dennis Smith, Karl Mecklenburg, Bobby Humphries, the three amigos—Vance Johnson, Ricky Nattiel, and Mark Jackson, and all the rest!
Unbelievably, the Broncos, led by the great John Elway, returned to the Super Bowl and killed the over-matched Atlanta Falcons by a score of 34-19. (This game was personal for Elway. He had a turbulent relationship with former coach Dan Reeves, who was then coach of the Falcons!) After the game, Pat Bowlen lifted the Lombardi Trophy high in the air and said, “This one’s for you!” (He was talking to the fans…Specifically, ME!) The great John Elway retired after the season. I was crushed, but he left the game on his own terms!
Although I was a die-hard Broncos fan, I was forced to tell friends at Seton Hall University that I liked the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because I didn’t want to seem like a bandwagon hopper! (My friends and family suffered a great deal during this period! I remembered the three Super Bowl losses and I relished in the moment. I still talk about the back-to-back Championships! WE ARE STILL NASTY!)
In the NFL, there are the top teams and the scrubs. I’ll take it back to Married with Children and separate the greats from the scrubs by using the terms, Upper Uncton and lower Uncton. Denver belongs in the Upper Uncton and teams such as the pitiful San Diego Chargers are members of the lower Uncton.
The lower Uncton teams are the ones without any Super Bowl victories. Their players suffer through depressing seasons, until finally escaping, via a trade or through free agency. Some of the lower Uncton players are fortunate enough to sign with great teams and have opportunities to win the Super Bowl. San Diego produced Rodney Harrison and Junior Seau. Harrison was fortunate enough to leave in time to become a champion, but Seau remained in San Diego too long. Super Bowl victory eluded him, and Seau retired a loser!
People often ask me why I don’t switch teams and support the Patriots. Maybe after reading this post, they will understand! The Denver Broncos, still under the ownership of Pat Bowlen, have hired the great John Elway to run the team as the Executive Vice president of Football Operations. The team selected Tim Tebow in the NFL draft last year. With the greatest player in college football history and the greatest NFL quarterback of all-time, our future looks bright!
I love the Broncos, but I honestly couldn’t tell you what makes me happier; the Broncos winning the Super Bowl, or the Patriots losing one! (One of my favorite seasons is 2007. The Patsies won 18 games in a row, but lost the Super Bowl! THAT HAS TO SUCK!!!)
When it comes to football, I’m ORANGE AND BLUE for life!