Some of you may have noticed that there was no Studs and Duds when you woke up this week. Well fear not my friends, I did not forget. I have something different for you today. As some of you know, I live in Southern California where the weather is the best in the land, but going to Bronco games is difficult. Well, I'm pleased to inform you all that on Sunday, I was able to attend my first Bronco game. That's right. I was live at the game when Matt Prater kicked the game winning field goal in overtime to beat the Chargers. Needless to say, it was an amazing experience filled with tons of memories. So today, I am going to give you a full account of what I witnessed when I went to Qualcomm. So sit back and get your popcorn(or morning coffee?). I hope you enjoy.
My sister got the majority of my family tickets so the trip was a family affair. The journey began when we departed for Qualcomm at about 9 in the morning. The 3 hour car drive went by a lot quicker then I expected it to. We arrived in San Diego at about 11:45. By 12, we arrived at Qualcomm and were waiting in line to park. We figured we would be sitting in our seats by 12:20 and have a good hour before the game started. Wrong. Let me tell you, Qualcomm's parking is awful. We were forced to wait 45 minutes in a long line of cars just so we can pay 25 bucks and park our car in some field that they called overflow. When we finally parked and made our way to the stadium, it was easy to see Charger fans love their tailgating. The place was packed with BBQers, beer pong players and other people who were just waiting before they headed to the stadium. I saw quite a few Bronco jerseys on the way to the stadium. Some of the jerseys include Steve Atwater, Ed McCaffrey, Terrel Davis, Eric Decker, Knowshon Moreno, John Elway, Champ Bailey, Brian Dawkins and Tim Tebow of course. At first, there was such a wide variety that I wasn't sure if there was a jersey that was more dominant then the others, but the closer I got to the stadium, the more it was apparent that the stadium was going to be filled with #15's.
As we got to our seats(which were amazing by the way, as you can see above), I was shocked by just how many Bronco fans I was surrounded with. There Bronco fans to my left, right, in front of me and behind me as well. The fans I was surrounded with were loud and proud. We truly did take over Qualcomm, at least in Section 2. I looked around and most of the people were wearing the typical Bronco jerseys: Elway, Davis, and Tebow. However, I saw a few VERY peculiar jerseys as well. I saw a super hott girl in an Adam Weber jersey. That's right. The same Adam Weber who is on the Broncos practice squad. Unfortunately, I couldn't take the picture to show all of you. However, I saw another jersey that shocked me and that was the jersey of Mitch Unrein. That is right. The seldom used Defensive Tackle had his jersey being worn by some guy. Don't believe me? I was able to snap a picture of him on the way out.
As the Bronco players came out to warm up, they received a 50-50 mixed reaction of cheers and boos. The Chargers received a 75-25 cheer to boo ratio from the crowd. While the players were warming up, the first "Tebow" chant started up and it was pretty loud. The guys in my section (myself included) joined in and made sure the Charger fans knew who it was they were messing with.
A few things of note.
1. The Chargers big screen is very small. It made things very hard to see. When kickers kicked field goals, we had to wait for the signal from the refs to know whether it was good or not because it was simply too hard to tell.
2. It was VERY hot down by the field. The sun was shining bright and many fans were sweating profusely due to the sun. Some fans took off their shirts it was so hot. It didn't seem to bother the Broncos all that much though so that's good.
3. There are a LOT of attractive women at Charger games.
The first half was awful to watch. It seemed as if the Broncos had no energy in the first half. They were very lackadaisical on both sides of the ball, especially the front 7 who was letting the Chargers run all over them. It seemed like the Chargers were able to run for 1st downs at will. On the big runs, there was always at least one player who missed a tackle. Joe Mays and DJ Williams were two of the players I noticed who missed tackles that resulted in big gains for the Chargers.
The offense couldn't get anything going and there were many reasons why. Wide Receivers couldn't get open to save their life and when they did get open they dropped passes. The run game was also having difficulty against the Chargers. Running lanes were not opening like they had before in weeks past. For every run of 4+ yards, there seemed to be a gain of 0 or minus yards on the next play which made finding a rhythm very difficult. When the Broncos went down 10-0, I began to worry a little. Thankfully, the worrying didn't last long as the Tim Tebow was able to lead the Broncos on a touchdown drive before half time. As Tebow threw to Fells and Decker and ran to get yardage, the crowd was getting increasingly excited. When he threw the dart to Decker (which was absolutely brilliant by the way), the crowd erupted. There were scattered boos, but it sounded like everyone started chanting "Tebow! Tebow! Tebow". As the Chargers went into halftime, the stadium broke out into a huge "boo" because of Turner's lack of attempting to put points on the board in the last minute. I almost booed John Fox for the same thing when he could have used his time outs before half time, but I let it go.
During Halftime, Junior Seau was inducted into the Chargers Hall of Fame. It was kind of boring, but one part I found interesting was when he asked the entire stadium to bear with him as he prayed. After he was done, he asked the crowd for an "Amen" and got a rousing response. I found this worth of note because it was an example of a well known sports figure who expressed his faith in public, yet didn't get criticized for it. If a certain Bronco QB does something like this, It gets media attention and a Jake Plummer scolding.
The third quarter was another tough quarter to watch live. The first two drives of the quarter were marred by poor execution on running plays that were directly related to the punts on both of those drives. One thing I do want to note is that a few players of Denver's D were giving the Chargers big time problems. Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller were collapsing the pocket on every play. It didn't show in the stats, but they were clearly getting into Rivers' head. Von Miller gets off the line so quickly, it shouldn't be fair. He is also able to bend around the OT on the outside very effectively. Doom looks like old self. He tries to get outside and if he doesn't get there, he simply powers the blocker backwards into Rivers. On the Broncos final drive of the third quarter, they got something going. The rushing game started to work as they worked their way down the field and eventually kicked a field goal to make the score 10-13 heading into the 4th quarter, but we all knew who was the 4th quarter king.
The 4th quarter started and the Chargers were able to get into field goal range thanks in large part to a huge gain by Ryan Matthews. Thankfully, our D stepped up and forced the Chargers field goal team to come out and they ended up missing. Bronco fans got very excited. Tebow took control of the offense and started going down the field. They had all the momentum and seemed like they were going to score. However, the whole thing stalled after a B.S. J.D. Walton hold call which certainly pissed off the Bronco fans in attendance. The next play, Eric Decker was shoved in the end zone on a pass that fell incomplete. There was no penalty marker. Needless to say, the Bronco fans were furious and Decker looked like he was seething coming to the sidelines. The Chargers got the ball, but their drive was put to an end when Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller got to Rivers and sacked him.
With 5+ minutes left in the 4th quarter, the Bronco fans got antsy with anticipation. One girl in front of me held up a "Tebow Time" sign as the rest of the fans chanted "Tebow! Tebow! Tebow!" The drive didn't start well and the Broncos ended up 3rd and 11. On that 3rd down play, Tebow was in the pocket for what seemed like an eternity before firing the ball down field to Eric Decker who caught the ball as the crowd roared. The catch was reviewed, but there was no doubt in our minds that it was a first down. The crowd was anticipating another Tebow miracle and Tebow was delivering. He completed a big pass to Rosario and someone in the crowd yelled "It's Tebow Time Baby". Denver was in the red zone when the drive stalled. Everyone in my section believed Tebow was going to get the ball in the end zone when he started rushing around on 3rd down. Unfortunately, he got brought down and Prater kicked the ball in for 3 to tie the game. The Chargers were no real threat to break the tie late in the 4th. Nobody thought they would. Everyone's thoughts were confirmed when Dumervil sacked Rivers for a 10 yard loss. The crowd broke out into a big "Doooooooooooooooom" chant. The Chargers went conservative for the final play and the Charger crowd was VERY displeased. They booed as the clock struck 00:00.
The coin flip occurred and I joked to a person near me that Champ should pick Tails. "Tails Never Fails" I said. Champ picked heads and he ended up being right. I turned to the guy and I told him "Heads is always the way to go!".
The Broncos got the ball and the place was electric. The Broncos and Chargers exchanged punts which kept the entire stadium on their toes. During Denver's second drive, Jeremiah Johnson caught a pass for a first down. Unfortunately, the refs reviewed the call. The most unfortunate part is that nobody in the stadium had a clue what was going on. Everyone was wondering what was taking so long for the refs to start the game. After the ref came out and declared Johnson short, the Chargers fans rejoiced as many of the Bronco fans pleaded with John Fox to go for it on 4th and inches, but to no avail.
The Broncos punted and I got a bad feeling. My feeling only worsened after Rivers started the drive with a 1st down completion. After a few more small completions, the Chargers were close at mid field. Then, Ryan Matthews broke off for a big run that I thought was going to end the game, but was saved by an incredible Brian Dawkins tackle. Still, many of the Bronco fans thought it was over. The Chargers were in range and it seemed all but inevitable. On 3rd down, Von MIller got into the backfield and got the RB for a loss. Hope breathed back into life for the fans. I began pacing up and down the stairs, too nervous to sit in my seat. The Chargers lined up for a field goal and the attempt was blocked. Bronco fans went nuts. I didn't. I had seen John Fox call a timeout. The other fans became distraught. They lined up a 2nd time and this time the kick got off clean. The ball was in the air and it looked like it was going to miss. The ball hit the net and the crowd roared. I thought the ball missed, but a Charger fan started celebrating madly. He sprinted up the steps declaring victory. For 5 miserable seconds, I thought we had lost. Then, I saw the Bronco players celebrating followed by the refs signal that the kick was no good. All the Bronco fans roared with delight when we finally saw the signal from the ref. We began jumping up and down. With a little more then 2 minutes left, we knew it was now or nothing. One last chance for Tebow time.
Tebow missed a deep pass to Jeremiah Johnson but the hope remained. The next play, Tebow ran out of the option and got to the outside for a nice gain. The fans erupted. Chants of "Tebow" started. A few plays passed and then the McGahee run happened. We saw McGahee go into the pile, but as he came out, we all started screaming "GO! GO! GO!". He was in open space and looked like he was going to score a touchdown. He was tackled inside the 20 and the fans were downright giddy. We were yelling and hollering. Chants of "Tebow Time! Tebow Time!" filled the stadium. Tebow centered the ball and Matt Prater stepped onto the field. They lined up, snapped the ball and the kick was up. There was no confusion this time. The kick was good and there was no ifs, ands, or buts about it. The crowd erupted. Fans were hugging, high fiving and chest bumping. I must have given 10+ strangers high fives in the span of 3 minutes. Little did I know that the celebrating with strangers was just beginning. Chants of "Tebow" rang the stadium as Charger fans headed for the exits. Bronco fans were going crazy like when the ball drops on New Years.
After a bit, me and my family headed for the exits. As we were walking, Bronco fans were still celebrating on their way out. Roars of delight filled the halls. Fans were hugging as if they had just found their long lost relatives. It was something I'll never forget. Two people ran towards each other and did a huge chest bump that nearly knocked over a couple Charger fans. Whoops. Chants began for "Tebow! Tebow! Tebow!" I heard one person yell "5-1 baby!" I could have sworn I heard someone yell "Suck on that Merril Hoge" but that might have been my conscious. As we were climbing some stairs, one guy turned around and yelled "What time is it?" The fans screamed "Tebow Time!". The man asked again, "What time is it?" The fans yelled "Tebow Time!" For the last time, the guy screamed "WHAT F*CKING TIME IS IT?" The fans responded with a roar of "TEBOW TIME!"
Fans were still giddy outside the stadium walking to their cars. Strangers were still high fiving. Chest bumps were still being given. I was over 20 high fives when I stopped counting. People began Tebowing. It was pure madness. Pure, Bronco madness and I loved every second of it.
It was an incredible game and an unforgettable experience. There were a lot of highs and a lot of lows. It was the ultimate emotional roller coaster ride. In my first Denver Bronco game, the team won on a last second field goal in Overtime. The crowd was electric and the Bronco fans were overjoyed. It was one of the best experiences of my life. On the ride home, I did have one thought that stuck with me. If I could have that much fun and celebrate a victory with that many Bronco fans at Qualcomm, I wonder how it will feel when I see my first Bronco game at Sports Authority Field in Denver.
Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed. You'll see the return of Studs and Duds next week after we beat the Vikings!