Recently the wife of a good friend reached out to me on Facebook to ask me:
Hey I'm thinking about ordering the ESPN 30 for 30 dvds for [my husband]. Are they worth it or more like something you watch one time and are done with?
Maybe I should just update his jersey wardrobe??
It goes without saying that my buddy has been a huge Broncos fan since birth. Answering her question was a no brainer. While the ESPN DVDs would have been nice, I knew - as many of you do - that a Broncos jersey is always a better gift than almost anything short of a Lexus or vacation home in the Bahamas.
Most often when we find ourselves surrounded by unwanted towels or a pair of brown socks that your grandfather's girlfriend divided among you and your nephews (ahem...), we wonder if there was something we could have done to thwart such awful gift giving. If only there was a guide that could be printed off and surreptitiously left in a conspicuous place... (like on top of your uncle's dentures... in the silverware drawer... or taped to your child's forehead - I would advise against using duct tape). You're in luck!
Broncos fans, this is that guide!
So, what do you get for the Denver Broncos Fan that has everything?
Autographed Mini Helmet
Every year for the last ten or so years, I have bought my father a Broncos mini-helmet. This is a great gift for someone close to you that you don't feel bad about blowing $50-$100+ on - a brother, sister, mother or father. It's the kind of thing that has the potential to be a centerpiece type gift. Something that stands out from all the other junk that they didn't want and it's something that has potential to appreciate in value. With the purchase of a mini-helmet though there's one important thing to consider: Make sure to pick a player that will be around for awhile. While looking at the helmets I've bought for my dad while I was in Denver for the Bears game, I was dismayed to find Ashley Lelie and Brandon Marshall among a host of other great helmet selections.
If you do make a bad choice with regard to a mini-helmet, keep in mind that they are still a fantastic addition when reenacting "The Drive" with your aunt Edna's cats. (This is a YouTube video I'd love to see).
Jersey (Autographed or Otherwise)
Like with the mini-helmet, this is a big ticket Bronco item. However, unlike a mini-helmet there is a greater chance that something could go wrong. Often times when a player moves on from the Broncos, their jersey ends up in the discount rack making the odds greater that someone who doesn't follow the Broncos could end up buying you a jersey you'd never wear. Jay Cutler, Jake Plummer and the occasional Travis Henry lurk in these discount racks and are to be avoided at all costs. When you strategically place this list, perhaps staple a picture of your favorite player to it so that nothing bad happens. When it comes to jerseys, there is a school of thought that it's best to go with retired players so that no matter what your jersey will always be valid. You have to make this call.
There are many quality videos that I endorse as gifts. A great starting point is the History of the Denver Broncos DVD. The best thing about this DVD is that it came out before the Cutler/McD eras so it doesn't end on a depressing note.
Next, I would recommend Denver Broncos Greatest Games. It's got both Super Bowl victories on it as well as the 1977 AFC Championship game. The only criticism I have of this DVD is that they didn't include any of the Super Bowl award ceremonies. Basically the games just end and that's it. No more fanfare than a pre-season game. That said, it's an essential item that every Bronco fan should have.
For the football history buff, I recommend both Full Color Football: The History of the American Football League and NFL Films: Inside the Vault 1960-1970. Between these two DVD sets, you can get a great feel for the humble beginnings the Broncos came from. Highly recommend these.
There are no shortage of Broncos books out there on the market. Rather than go into what each one is about and whatnot, I'm just going to list a few of my favorite titles. Personally, I like to get older books from used book stores. They capture a moment in time, usually before greatness (and sometimes after). Something to think about if the person you're buying for is a history buff. Some of these books can be gotten new, but some you'll have to buy used.
Wild Ride: The Illustrated History of the Denver Broncos - by Alex Marvez and Bob Moon (This one was written in between Super Bowl victories)
Denver Broncos: The Complete Illustrated History - by Jim Saccomano and John Elway
The 1977 Super Bowl
'77: Denver, the Broncos and a Coming of Age - by Terry Frei
Orange Madness: The Incredible Odyssey of the Denver Broncos - by Woodrow Paige, Jr.
A Few Seconds of Panic: A Sportswriter Plays in the NFL - by Stefan Fatsis
The Color Orange: A Super Bowl Season With the Denver Broncos - by Russell Martin
The Cookie that Didn't Crumble - by Cookie Gilchrist (and contribution from Chris Garbarino) - Look for a review of this book in the coming weeks on MHR.
Stadium Stories: Denver Broncos: Colorful Tales of Orange and Blue - by Larry Zimmer
Yes... That is a Denver Broncos toothbrush on my wall. It was a gift from my mother-in-law (don't be jealous). Other great stocking suffers include the Broncos Mr. Potato Head, a Broncos Hammer, Broncos Christmas tree ornaments, Broncos pens, Broncos anything really. You just can't go wrong with anything that bears the Broncos logo.... Except for Crocs. Never buy a man Crocs. Ever.
So there you have it. I hope the above ideas help you get what you want from your loved ones. What do you think? Is there anything that should be added to this list?
Happy Holidays and Go Broncos!