Today, I let my emotions get the better of myself. I posted some very indecent words that I don't usually use in reference to the outcome of today's game in Nashville. Most of you don't know me, but it would be dishonest for me to say that I am not proud of how I let my emotions get the better of me. For that, I am truly sorry. No one has called me on it, I wasn't banned, and honestly, I didn't even swear. However, it simply was not something that I would want my children to know their father did. Denver Broncos fans are some of the best in the world, and we should hold ourselves to a higher standard.
But that isn't the only thing I have to say. After the jump, a release of what I, as well as many of you, are feeling right now.
My first experience as a Broncos fan was in the winter of 1985. My family and I had just moved there and I began attending middle school. I wasn't born in Denver, but due to my family moving around constantly, I never felt I had a real 'home'. Denver proved to be something different. We moved from Texas, where you were either a Cowboys fan, or nobody. What I found very early as a young boy was that the fans of Denver were just as passionate, just as rabid, just as devoted as those Cowboys fans. I thought it was so cool when my father bought me the first tickets to see a Broncos game. Mile High was a place of magic. It was a huge, intimidating place to play, a place where teams openly hated to be there in the snow, the cold, or the sonic shower that came from the fans. I don't even need to mention the south stands.....All through MS, HS, and College (I went to CU),
I showed unswerving loyalty to the team. I would buy t-shirts, a jersey every once in a while, and get tickets to as many games as I could, even once blowing all of my travel money and having to hitchhike on 36 to Denver.
I always loved my Broncos, no matter what.
Alas, I graduated and ended up working too far from Denver to make it. I did, however, always make it a point to throw a Sunday party for all the Bronco fans around us (my wife is also a fan) to enjoy the company and the excitement of an orange and blue Sunday.
I have gone through the highs, tearing up as I saw that ball hit the ground, cementing the first Super Bowl win; the sheer enjoyment of seeing a well-tuned machine dismantle the birds from Atlanta. The Drive, the Fumble, 2000, the list goes on and on....
I have also gone through the lows. multiple SB losses, AFC champ. losses, Jacksonville, Eddie Mac's injury, Al's injury, Terrell's injury, etc.
Through thick and thin, I was always there for the team, rooting from afar, buying the merchandise, wearing the apparel, doing all of those things a fan always does. And, at no time, did I ever really lose faith in the organization....until now. Not the 'I wonder why Shanahan did this?' or 'why did Reeves do that?' variety. I am not talking about those types of things. I am talking about a fundamental lack of faith and trust in the organization to do the right thing.
You see, this isn't a rant after today's game. This has been swelling up inside of me for the past few years. I couldn't place it, but I figured it out while looking through some old memorabilia in a closet. It became so clear to me that I feel a certain freedom now. Hopefully, some of you feel this way too (and I'm not crazy).
I watched today, and I have seen enough to know that my feelings are just. Simply put, I will no longer be a fan of the Denver Broncos in their current form. Now, before anyone goes a little too far with this, let me say that I am not a Tebow guy or an Orton guy, or anything like that. I root for the team, all the way down from 1 to 53, to the equipment manager. This is not about one guy. This is about a culture. This all began with the simple phrase:
"While the jersey is blue, the colors are predominantly orange."
I could not hold in my laughter at that phrase. The jerseys are blue. Everyone knows it. We clamor for the orange jerseys, and finally someone listened and we will be seeing them in the near future. Its a nice step in the right direction. But there is more to it.
To me, I have never seen a Broncos team with less identity, less swagger, less charisma, less passion, less 'Bronchismo', than I have seen the past few years. I can't say its any one thing. Its just EVERYTHING. I hated the McDaniels hire from the beginning. thought he was too young, and too wrapped up in his own thing. Once everything went down, I was torn inside. I really didn't mind seeing Cutler go, or Marshall for that matter. But some of the other ones, the guys who are blue collar-type players, just didn't sit well with me. The whole operation changed. The vibe changed. They simply weren't the Broncos I had grown up watching and rooting and supporting all of those years. I had a chance to see the team last season on a business trip (I live in Dallas) and went to the new stadium for the first time. I know I may ruffle some feathers, but it really upsets me for fans to call it MIle High. It isn't Mile High. MH was steep, run down, difficult to climb, cramped, all those things that the new place is not. But what it was was the home of the Broncos. It was THE extra player the team needed on so many Sundays. Its no wonder that the stadium, which DEFINED home field in the previous two decades, is long forgotten to most. Its a part of their history that is gone forever and cannot come back. It needs a man to bring it back. And, with all due respect, I don't think its John Elway....
Today, as I watched the end of the game, it donned on me that I have never openly felt no sympathy for a player on the Broncos until Kyle came to town. I don't dislike him as an individual, just a player. I have been able to ride the waves with Elway, Griese, Brister, Plummer, and Cutler (just to name a few), but I cannot connect with Kyle as a fan. His proponents look at some stats, his detractors look at the other stats. All I am going to say is this:
Watch the darn game.
The fire is gone. The team plays football and that's about it. The Broncos are simply an afterthought in the NFL and around the country because they don't make you watch. They simply play. In all my years as a fan, I have never seen this team be an afterthought. I don't need to root for a winner. I need a reason to watch. I have two kids, a mortgage, a beautiful wife, a good job, a life that is pretty much great. I am really blessed. There are too many other things I can do instead of watching the Denver Broncos on a Sunday afternoon. I now find myself tuning in to game of teams that simply have a face, franchises who, for better or worse, have established an identity. Its simply more interesting. I cannot believe what I thought today: I would rather watch the Raiders than the Broncos. It has come to that.
What is the solution? I think you have to make a change at QB for the sake of the franchise, or you need to come out and say what your true intentions are.. They may lose a bunch of games, but so far, that's what they seem to have been doing all along. If I were to speak to the powers that be, I would simply tell them "You're losing your fanbase on both ends. The older fans are leaving because of the lack of identity, and the young ones simply have nothing to get excited about.
So, I have decided to bow out and cheer as a casual fan of the team. The Broncos will be only another blip on the screen, like Jacksonville or Seattle. I am going to watch the teams that provide that experience of excitement, win or lose, that is ultimately what this is all about--entertainment. The Broncos are simply not entertaining.
So, good luck to the Broncos and all of the passionate fans (like on this site) for the rest of the season. If you, the Bronco, make changes that bring me back, so be it. If not, I will continue to enjoy the NFL and the wonderful games it has to offer and move on.
Good luck to all of you.