I want to start this post off with a personal anecdote, a sort of MHR introduction if you will. I've made a few posts before that didn't garner or deserve a lot of attention but one of my resolutions going into this year is to be more involved in the MHR community. Bear with me, as I hope to use this post as much to figure out what I think as to share it with you all.
I've been a Broncos fan for 15 years, since I was 8 years old. One of my favorite things to do was watch football with my dad, a Steelers fan (born and raised in Pittsburgh), and my mom, a Cowboys fan (born and raised in San Antonio, Texas). Living in California as we did, I didn't have any real strong attachment to any team. The Niners were the hometown boys, and I still pull for them, but for whatever reason they just never really clicked for me. Why? Well, the answer's pretty simple: they didn't have sweet orange uniforms. My 8 year old self loved the color orange, so when dad turned on the TV one day and the Broncos were on, it was instant love. I made him buy me a gaudy Broncos warmup suit (pants and jacket) that I wore pretty much everywhere. I didn't know a lot about football, but I'll be damned if I didn't love my Broncos.
Obviously, it's developed quite a bit since then... I had the good fortune to hop onto the train right around the time the Elway express was leaving the building, and by the time '97 and '98 rolled around I actually knew a fair bit about football. One of my aunts, who lives in Colorado Springs, delighted in calling me to talk playoffs. The memory of those conversations still brings a smile to my face. Post Elway, well, I managed to finally convince my friends and family that I wasn't just a bandwagon fan - I've stayed true to my Broncos, obviously, through thick and thin. I hated Bubby with a passion, didn't like Griese much more, was a huge Plummer fan, and died a little inside when Al Wilson had to retire. I vigorously defined Cutler against all comers for a few years, and since that whole fiasco, have spent just as much energy trash talking him. I wasn't sure about McDaniels for a while - I thought he talked a good talk but wasn't quite walking it - but I've always supported him, and after the initial shock wore off I actually agreed with Bowlen's removal of Shanny.
Where is this all going, you ask?
Well, the other day, my girlfriend asked me a rather offhanded question about fans and free agency. Sportscenter was on in the background and Brett Favre was, shockingly, being discussed. She wanted to know why people root for teams instead of players, figuring that teams change so much that it'd be hard to really develop an attachment. But what she was really asking was "Why are you still a Broncos fan?" I had a really hard time answering her - it's not that there's any one thing about the Broncos I love, it's just that I can't imagine a world in which I'm NOT on top of the world when we win or in the dumps when we lose. It would be easy if I grew up in Denver - just deliver the normal "blah blah, home town, etc" lines and leave it at that. But there's something about the orange and blue that hooked me, and won't let go. Maybe I had the good luck to grow up with Elway's championship teams, but what is it about us that keeps us coming back?
So, the question posed in the title of this post is what it all comes back to. Even if I knew I could get away with it, that nobody would ever call me out, I still couldn't bear rooting for anybody other than the Broncos. I'm more certain that I'm a Broncos fan than I am about pretty much anything in the world, but why? My suspicion is that if anybody takes the time to respond, many of the responses will end up being very much like my own: "well, because I just am, I love the Broncos". I don't at all think there needs to be more to it. But it's far more than just wanting to avoid jumping ship while we sail through turbulent waters. Whether it's as simple as a childlike fascination with their colors, each of us has his or her own reasons, I suppose. At the end of the day, all that's really left to be said is GO BRONCOS!