Hi Mr. B,
It's me, George. You don't know me but I sit in section 128 at home games, row 27. Been there for years.
Man, tough week, huh? I know that things were getting hairy, but I didn't think they were pull the plug and abort mission hairy, but hey, I'm just a fan with a super stressful 50 hour a week sales job, a wife and a little one on the way. I don't know what went on over there and I won't pretend to. That's your business. You're the one who makes or loses money on this team, so I'll do my best not to second guess your decision. I mean, you don't get to own an NFL team unless you know how to run companies and stuff, right?
I feel bad about all of this. I really do. I think we, as fans, lost our composure a little. See, we act like being Broncos fans is some super serious business, but it's not. It's supposed to be fun. But it wasn't fun anymore and maybe we couldn't see the forest through the trees. I'll be the first one to admit that I tend to start pointing fingers when things look beyond repair, and I'm sorry about that.
We all have super tough jobs and an insane amount of commitments and you have to understand, we barely have enough time to get the bills paid, do our Christmas shopping, visit our brothers, pick the kids up, call our moms, and gas up the car, but for a lot of us, our one and only true hobby is the Broncos. I'm sure that in Cincinnatti or Atlanta or Boston, it's the same story as here in Denver. I know we're technically no different from fans anywhere. The Broncos are one of the biggest bright spots that many of us have in our lives and we really want things to go well for the Broncos because we are really emotionally invested. And when things aren't going well for the Broncos, it means that the one thing that (right or wrong) we've put all this time and emotion towards isn't paying off, we get upset. I mean, hell, for more than 25 years of my life I've spent 20 to 24 Sundays with the Broncos. Wife wants to go to church at 10am? Only if the Broncos are playing at 2:00. Brother needs me to come by and help me paint his kitchen? He'll ask about Saturday, but never Sunday. Mom and Dad are in town and need to head to the airport on a Sunday afternoon? "Thanks honey, I appreciate you hepling me out", I say. That's how it is. No, seriously. I don't ask for a lot. But I ask for time with my Broncos.
It started when I was little. I mean I was 11 months old when Denver lost Super Bowl XII. My grandparents were there. The entire city of Denver was one more win away from literally turning into a full on nut house (I mean come on, a naked lady riding a white horse up the 16th street mall!!!). That carried the city for like 5 years too. One of my first memories was when I was just short of 5 years old. My best buddy and I were in his basement in Littleton. He had come home from King Soopers with playercard stickers of Joe Montana and was gleefully plastering them all over the place. I lost it. I demanded that he throw them away. "You're a Broncos fan. What are you doing!!?? FIne, you can like the 49ers, but you can't ever like the Broncos again." I was horrified. He was jumping ship at 5 to a bandwagon team. But I scared him straight.
Then we traded for Elway and the rest is history. He became the identity of Denver for me. Yeah, it's a little bit of a dusty old cowtown and a little bit of a wannabe big city, but its our home. And it's a city that had an inferiority complex. Especially when it came to sports. We had the Broncos and the Nuggets, but the Nuggets were barely an NBA team back then. John put us on the map and became the logo for the state of Colorado. I mean, by 1987 I think a vote to put his face on the state flag probably would have passed. In 1986, I met John at Dave Cook's Sporting Goods (later bought out by Gart Bros.) at Villa Italia Mall at an autograph signing in the middle of the season. I was in a long line with my dad. He bought a poster for me so John could sign it. I was very nervous. Everyone was pretty quiet as he signed their cards and footballs but some asked how he was doing and shook his hand. I was 9. We got to the front of the line. My dad shakes his hand and says, "this is my son, George". I say "Hi John, when's your offensive line gonna start blocking for you?". My dad immediately apologized. John laughed out loud and his eyebrows lifted. I mean, he was just a kid too. He couldn't have been much more than 25. He said "I hope pretty soon!". I'm one of probably half a million people from Denver who were kids in the 1980s and got to meet John or Steve Watson or Keith Bishop or Rulon Jones or Sammy WInder or Vance Johnson. It was and still is a huge deal for me. Because I grew up in those years and they were so consistently competitive, those teams became a huge part of my life and all my friends' lives and family's life. I think even John, although there were bumps in the road, loved that he was such a big part of the community then and still is now. That's how this town is. We love the Broncos in part because they've loved us back. I'm 33 now and although the last 10 years have been tough, the Broncos ended 6 of my 33 years in the title game. 2 of my 33 years in the conference championship game, and 9 other times, our season ended with a playoff loss. That's 17 playoff runs out of 33 years. Not bad. It was even better 10 years ago when it was 14 playoff runs in 23 seasons, but I know that things change over time. The Broncos spoiled us a little!
But, now we're at a foreign place where we just fired a guy who was trying to change some things for the better. Who's to know if things would have worked out. It seemed a little premature in some ways but frankly, its sorta felt overdue in other ways. We haven't been a really good team for more than 10 years and haven't even been an okay team for 3 or 4 years. On the surface, it didn't seem like we were getting any better and most fans around these parts either don't remember losing more than 10 games in a season or have mentally blocked it out. Look, I understand why you fired Josh. I really do. It was getting messy and the organization was taking a beating publically and probably in the ranks of player and coach circles too. It didn't look good. And the videotaping thing, that was just a stomach punch. That had to be the straw that broke tha camel's back for you. I don't blame you for doing it, but I do partially blame you for giving a 32 year old guy with zero head coaching or GM experience the job that you gave him. I hope that you learn as much or more than Josh learned. He was chewed up and spit out of a once-proud organization because you made assumptions and didn't empower enough people to make decisions. This is your fault. Josh certainly didn't make it easier, but in the end, you are the most responsible.
I wrote this so you have a reminder of what the Broncos mean to our city and state. It's not life and death, we know that. But it means a lot, nonetheless. We want to have playoff parties. I want my son to want to go meet a player at 8:30 at night at some awful mall after I'm exhausted from work and just want to plop on the couch. We all want the same thing: a franchise to be proud of. And right now, we're not proud.
We're sorry for going all 'Lord of the Flies" on you in the last 3 years, but what else would you expect when someting that you're accustomed to suddenly doesn't even resemble its former self. It's perfectly fine to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. So, please listen to your heart and listen to your head. If you do things the right way, then the way this town used to treat the Denver Broncos will come back to you in spades. Just take it slow. Learn everything you can learn. Get lots of sets of eyes on the team. If you're not in great health, then get people who you really trust around you and empower them. Don't make rash decisions or take unneccessary chances. Do the right thing for us and we'll reward you.
Thanks for reading and go Broncos,
p.s. Think about using the orange jerseys more often.