Mark and Kev's Most Excellent Adventure
Central Standard Time
Day 5 of 8
Woke up about 07:00 today. I am finally adapting to the change in Time zone. But guess what? I am changing timezones again today, luckily only by 1 hour. I woke up like a kid on Christmas morning looking for all my presents and wondering what Santa had brought for me. I am finally going to Denver and seeing my beloved Broncos. The flight is at 11:55 and I can't wait. More Mike sand Mike this morning, but without one of the Mike's, still entertaining to watch.
Spent 5 minutes chucking all the shopping in my suitcase, check I have the Broncos tickets for both of us and thens it there staring at the clock while waiting for 07:30 to go and have breakfast. Why does time seem to pass so slowly when you are looking forward to something and passes so quickly whenever you are not looking forward to doing a chore?
Breakfast was consumed in the hotel as everything else was closed for Thanksgiving, Had the usual too much fried food and bad coffee, but I didn't care because every tick of the clock brought me closer to the Bronco's game. The last thing that I pack into my bag is my Bronco shirt and gameday coldweather attire. I warn Mark that we need to leave the hotel by 09:00 in case the CTA "L" is running late etc. I have seen Home Alone 2 and know the type of things that will go wrong in American airports during the holidays. He is very casual about this and cannot seem to understand what an absolute disaster not making the flight would be. How did 2 such different people become friends? I again check the match tickets and sit on the hotel bed watching the door, hoping he would knock so we could leave. Finally at 09:40 we walk out of the hotel.
The "L" gets to O'Hare airport at about 11:00. I am now in full panic mode. We will never make the flight with 55 minutes to go. In the Uk it takes a minimum of 90 minutes to clear check in. We run up the concourse, scattering commuters to each side and swear at the elevator for taking so long to ascend 2 floors. Why is there only check ins for people without baggage? Finally we find a check in that will take our bags, but scan our passports upside down, causing a further delay. Now in full panic mode because the compter says it won't accept anymore checkins after 11:20 and the time is now 11:15. Finally we get a boarding pass to print and then queue to get it validated and airline tags for our suitcases. We check them in and then rush to the security checkpoint. Why do so many people want to travel today? Why do we have to take our shoes off? Richard Reid the shoe bomber may have been incompetent in setting off his device, but he appears to have caused more damage to my liberties than any other terrorist has ever achieved. If you wear big boots it is a pain to take them off and put them back on again without holding everyone else up. Especially when you are in a hurry!
Mark then decides he is hungry again! I think he must have a tapeworm. He gets his food while I rush to the checkin to try and stall them, only to find that we are not too late to board, because they have not even started the procedure yet, Panic over and I can start to relax. I wish the airports back home were as efficient as the one I experienced today. 30 minutes from check in to boarding time. How totally excellent! By the way, Mark made the flight. I was sad to leave Chicago because it had provided me with many happy memories and I will definately love to return if I ever get the opportunity.
We arrive at Denver about 13:30 Mountain Time (yet another time zone to mess up my body). It was great to see a John Elway advert within 2 minutes of vacating the plane, he was just above an advert fot the Dalai Lama, which I thought was about right in terms of the relative importance of these two spiritual leaders. The Rockies look awesome in the distance, and must be a constant reminder of nature's grandeur to the residents of Denver. I wish we were here long enough to hire a car and go exploring. Maybe next time? Took the SuperShuttle into Denver. When are you gonna get a high speed rail link from the airport to whichever hotel I want to stay in? On the shuttle we talk to a married couple, who are Bronco season ticket holders, and who fly in for every game. There was also a Giants fan who flew in from Bismarck, North Dakota. We have a good chat about the relative merits of both teams and the time passed quickly.
We get to the Burnsley hotel on Grant and 11th about 15:00 and check in. I get the elevator upto my room and open the door. I can't believe that Mark has booked us a suite each. It is mindblowing and far too much space for 1 person. I grab a quick shower and we head upto 16th street to try and find some food and beer before the game. Time is now speeding up again and it is nearly 15:45 before we leave the hotel. We walk to the bottom of 16th and proceed to walk up it looking for a food joint that was open. We finally manage to get a free table at the Palm and in a spirit of brotherly love we order their Thanksgiving meal.
The butternut squash soup was the best I had tasted, the Caesar salad was as good as anything I had eaten in Europe and the turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potato and creamed spinach was an absolute delight. There was a choice of dessert, but I was too full to try either the Pumkin pie or the Pecan pie. Mark had the Pecan and sang its praises. We drank a Breckenridge winter beer which tasted delightful and bodes well for the next 2 days. The meal was $120 and worth every penny and our waiter Scott was superb, highly recommended.
We were gettingvery cloes to game time and took the free bus upto Union station and then the train to Invesco Field and followed the crowd to the stadium. It looked very impressive in the dark and I told Mark that we would have ot return tomorrow for the tourist photos. We walked around the stadium to the West stand and entrance 3. The security guards and employees are a lot friendier than in Chicago and I manage to keep hold of all my possessions this time? We walk up to the fifth level and find our seats. We estimate that the stands are easily as high as those at Soldier Field, but not as steeply banked. Our view of the pitch was great from the 30 yard line and we were really impressed with the stadium.
We arrived in time for the kick off this time and sttled down with some trepidation about howthe Broncos would play today. There was no need to worry. From the first play to the last, the Bronco's dominated. I thought that Kno Mo ran very well, especially to the edges and we were both surprised by the O Line dominating the Giants D. I told Mark that their D was on the pitch for a very long time and that this would cause them fitness problems in the 2nd half.
The crowd was very noisy for all the Broncos D play. This was a lot louder than at the Bears game, and was sustained rather than just on third down. The rolling thunder was imprssive and I was sure that this helped fire up them up. Agent X was exceptional and seemed to be involved in every play. He was definately Mark's favourite Bronco's player. Our D made Manning look as orginary as we both believe him to be, and on most plays he was under serious pressure. We were both shocked that he passed for morethan 200 yards. Also the turnovers are back! This is the difference maker for our team.
I thought that on at least 2 plays Manning should have been flagged for delay of game. One of them was onthe passing play that McD challenged the catch being in bounds. I think that the 2nd was the almost safety play, where Manning just managed to throw the ball away in time.I can understand why the Bronco's fans feel victimised by the zebras.
Mark was also very impressed with BMarsh's one handed catching and maybe now he appreciates why Jay C is struggling at the Bears because he gets no protection or quality receivers to throw to.
I thought that the crowd were very supportive of all the Bronco's apart from the family next to me booing Kyle after the interception. I guess that it just emotions taking control and who am I to judge. I was a bit disapointed about the fans booing Chris Simms's Happy Thanksgiving video. I know thta he played badly for us, but most backups do. Does anyone know how the practice QB reps are split between Kyle and him?
I was incredibly moved by the halftime link up between families and their sons and daughters serving in Iraq. It was an incredibly emotional experience and is probably the main thing that I wish that UK sports did for our service personnel. We do owe them so much for the freedoms we sometimes take for granted.
I had a fantastic visit to Invesco and am insanely jealous of the season ticket holders who are lucky enough to go to every game. I know that maybe my views were tainted by the win and great play of our team, but I would like to think that the Bronco fans are classy enough to offer the same levels of support when the team needs it most. There appeared to be a numbewr of no shows for the game, but this was probably down to season ticket holders going away for Thanksgiving. I wish that more of them gave the tickets back to the club for games that they cannot attend, so that more Bronco's fans could experience what I had.
The last observation was that Denver had nothing to compare to the Bears fans "Let's Go Bears!", unless of course you count the rolling thunder that generates just as much noise. I am just happy to be privaledged enough to have been. I am already working on Mark to come to another Broncos game soon and I thinkl he will agree because he too had a great time.
After the game we headed back to 16th to look for a bar, but we searched in vain. We did find a bar on 15th, but I was refused entry because I didn't have any ID on me. Tomorrow I will carry my passport with me to every bar, because no beer is bad for me! I had a couple of 10 shilling bottles in the hotel bar with a man from Seattle who coaches college rugby and we chatted about NFL and rugby. Thanks Sean for the entertaining and informed company.
Friday we will be visiting in no particular order:
Wynkoop Brewing Company, 18th Street
Rockbottom, 16th Street , (to compare it's beer to Chicago)
Breckenridge, Kalamath Street.
Hopefully the beer will be as wonderful as I anticipate after your kind recommendations.
NFL Games 2
Real beers tried 10
I can never thank Mile High Report high enough for the friendliness of the community and the insight and analysis that it provides. I am so luck because I can now hold my own in conversation with most fans, and I don't just spout the MSM line, but can have a reasoned discussion about why a particular play worked or failed in its execution. Long may you continue to educate me.