Welcome to the first edition of "You the Fan"! This is something we have given a little thought about in the past and I remember doing an interview of firstfan several months ago which can be found here that was pretty well received, so we felt it would be a good idea to introduce/interview various members on MHR who have helped make this place the best place on the web for Bronco's discussion.
Through my history posts, there is one contributer who consistently helps me get things accurate. That guy is Broncfanstuckinsd, also known as Dan the Fan. He and I both share a love of Bronco's history. The difference is, he lived through most of it while I have to read and study most of it. My history lessons are as much a learning exercise for me as it is informing others of it. Thankfully, I have guys like Dan here and firstfan, Trinidad Jack, Mike Clark, and many others out there who remember the darkest days of the 60's and the coming out party of the 70's.
Through them, the younger generations have a chance to continue to respect the past and build towards the future. As for the next interview, I would like to see if there is any member out there that people would like to see interviewed. Feel free to email me your requests at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will contact the person who gets the most votes to inquire about a possible interview.
Hope you enjoy this conversation with Dan the Fan!
When and how did you become a Bronco fan? Describe the first Bronco game you can remember.
Wow, the first game I can remember is the AFC title game of 1977, on New Years Day 1978. My family went over to my aunt and uncles. They lived in Broomfield off of highway 287. It has changed since then, plus I haven’t been home since 1994. Well anyway that was the birth of my Bronco fanaticism. The play that sticks out is when Craig Morton hit Haven Moses on a 64 yard TD pass. It was awesome. When Moses was around the fader 25, he was looking around and there was nobody with in miles of him. Then when Denver ran the clock out and the stadium went crazy. I will never forget the fans tearing down the goal posts and passing them over their heads to the rows behind them. It was awesome. I still get chills thinking about it, to this day.
Describe the course of your fandom. Did you start out fanatical, have there been lulls or dry periods for you?
I am a total fanatic when it comes to the Broncos. Just to tell you, my first car was a Mercury Bobcat and it was Bronco orange. I kid you not. It just kind of worked that way. My friends really did not give me no crap because they said, “Well, Dan is such a huge Bronco fan.” But I had posters, team photos and media guides from 1979 on. Down in our basement I had a poster of Elway in his road whites playing in his first game against Pittsburgh in 1983.
Have you noticed any differences from the way a Bronco fan was back in the 70's compared with the fans of today?
I think they are as different as they are alike. I think the older Broncomaniacs are a little more patient. They have been thru the 2-11-1 seasons, the blowouts to the faders and Mizzou Indians. I think they are willing to see the team struggle for a season or two if it will ensure the product has a real legit shot at doing something in the playoffs. Some of the newer Bronco fans are spoiled in a sense; been use to playoff appearances and Super Bowls. I have overlapped both. I think it is great that we want the Broncos to go 12-4 each year and to expect less is the way I want my team, but I also want it sustained. I don’t want 12-4 this season 9-7 next season and then 4-12 and a total rebuild. I would take a 7-9 followed by a 8-8 or so, knowing then the years following Denver is the team to beat.
That is what Denver has in Shanny. I don’t want to seem like I am demeaning anyone its just in today’s society instant gratification and success seems to be too important. I want long term success. Does one SB win equal 7-8 years of crappy football? Not to me, I do want another title here, but I want it to where defending it the following season is possible and the years after they are considered a contender each year.
Lots of longtime fans break up their love of the Broncos into different eras. Do you do that, and if so, how do you classify those eras?
If I had to break them into era it would go like this:
1960-72 would be the growing pains era. I mean those teams were awful. If you think about it, in 1962 Denver was 7-7 which was the best record they would have until 1973.
Then I go from 1973-1982 as the first taste of success era. The first winning season in 1973, a botched fake punt in the final game of 1973 at Oakland cost them a chance to win the Division. Then the 1977-79 Playoffs and a Super Bowl appearance. To tell you the truth, I think the Broncos were just happy to get there. As poorly as they played they had their chances to win that Super Bowl, but 8 turnovers is Mt. Fuji to climb. With all those turnovers they only lost by 17. It took until Super Bowl XXVII for Buffalo to break that record and they had 9 turnovers and lost 52-17.
From 1983-1998 is the Elway years. If Denver wins a Super Bowl before they did it would have been considered a Dynasty. It was the most exciting time to ever be a Bronco fan, no matter what. 5 Super Bowl appearances and 6 AFC title games, along with great regular season and playoff games. Nothing could have been better. What a way to put an exclamation mark on that era than beating Dan Reeves and the Falcons 34-19 with the greatest QB of all time winning the MVP of the game.
Now we are what I like to call the Shanny era. Hopefully it gets renamed from 2006 as the Cutler era, but I am gonna stick with 1999-? as the Shanny era. Good things will happen.
What is your most cherished memory from the Orange Crush days?
The Orange Crush days is the Super Bowl appearance. To have the great defense they had with Gradishar, TJ, Bob Swenson, Billy Thompson, et al. That was a true defensive football team.
Do you have any personal Bronco moments in your past, a chance meeting with a player perhaps, or a one on one at an autograph session that stands out?
Let’s see, I met Steve Watson at an event at Water World. It was a private party for certain members of the public. He was the coolest person. He also was a coach when I went to a Sam Pagano football camp. Was one of the nicest guys ever. Wanted to talk to us, and he was insightful.
We are all incredibly impressed with your feats of memory. Is there anything at all that is difficult for you to recall about the Broncos? Names of cheerleaders, seat and row designations at old Mile High, anything?
I don’t really have a difficult time remembering anything. If I have a weakness its the 1960's. I remember the Pony Express, but they disbanded them after some of the girls posed for Playboy(Do that today and its a badge of honor). I just love the history of the Broncos so much, It’s like if you really like something enough you can retain the info. Well that’s what I do. I was great in school about math and things I like, Language arts and crap like I hated.
Do you know of any great Bronco performances that many may not remember from years past?
Sure, in 1979 Seattle comes to town. Norris Weese was the starter, why I have no clue, but he led the Broncos to resounding 34-10 deficit. In comes ole Craig Morton and three touchdown passes and a rushing touchdown later Denver is up 37-34 and that was the final. My parents won a trip to St. Maarten in the virgin Islands, so I was at my uncles. He missed it.
Also, in 1977 Denver is down to the Chargers 14-3 in the 3rd quarter, but had a Moses TD pass from Morton to come back and win the game. Another great one was in 1979 when the #1 offense in the NFL, Air Coryell, came into town. Denver beats them 7-0. To shut out that offense was a testament to Denver’s defense.
If you could choose one Broncos player (excluding Elway) to stand for what the Broncos represent to you, who would it be and why?
Man, that’s tough. Floyd Little comes to mind, then there is Billy Tompson, and Randy Gradishar. Taking smack was TJ. Rod Smith is a great one. hmmmm , there are so many quality former Broncos. I would say anyone who is on the Ring of Fame.
Obviously you are in the camp that feels the Broncos are underrepresented in the hall of fame, but what do you think about the Broncos Ring of Fame? Any glaring omissions there?
Dan Reeves should be there. No doubt about it. But I think its well represented right now. I would like to see Howard Griffith there, but I honestly don’t think he did enough or play long enough as a Bronco. Maybe they could put the 1997-98 Broncos up there as a team.
*NOTE: Dan asked to add Simon Fletcher to this answer. Along with Dan Reeves, Simon Fletcher would be a good addition to the Broncos storied Ring of Fame.
How much of your time is wasted/utilized on MHR?
I spend a good portion of my time on-line at MHR. Its my first stop each day, before checking e-mail. When I first found it, I liked it, but it was missing something. I don’t know what, but to me it wasn’t as fun. Then around the Chicago loss, last year, something happened. I was there everyday reading Guru, Styg, HT, and you breaking things down and agreeing with what was being said. No bashing like in the Denver Press, or no ignorant commenting saying Shanny has to go, Cutler is a bum and crap like that. I found out that I had a forum and a group of friends that had the passion for the Broncos as I did, and who looked at the glass as half full and not half empty. It was great. It has only gotten better.
Tell us something cool about Dan the Fan that we don't know.
What you don’t know about the fan is that I am really into the History of the Broncos and NFL. Me and my buddy Shawn use to go out on the town and go into certain bars and bet the bartenders beers on football knowledge. I would say I would win 8 of 10 times. So many times we would have so many free beers and that was awesome. Another thing is I have a huge collection in Denver of Bronco collectibles, like pennants from Super Bowl 12, game programs from the 60's, 70's and autographed footballs from the all-time greats of Bronco lore.