Wow, that was unreal! I was lucky enough to go to the game and want to give the readers a little glimpse into what it felt like to be at the stadium. The place was loud and proud the whole game. It was a unbelievable feeling that is not going to be lost on me anytime soon.
Game day started with a 2.5 mile walk from my home to the stadium with my wife and faithful Bronco fan Grace. We chatted about the game and relaxed as we walked around Sloan's Lake before heading to a tailgate party with friends and family. Getting to the stadium two hours early, we started by sitting on some rocks and drinking a cold one while watching the crowd gathered at the south entrance. The crowd was large and full of energy with Bronco fans measuring up the Steeler fans to see if we would be outnumbered. From the initial count, I felt pretty confident that we had the majority and my wife and I started to get pumped up. We met up with the group at the RV and started throwing the ball around in the parking lot. What I noticed about this game was that it had the same feel as some of the college games that I've attended. Lots of energy and lots of anxious fans waiting to get the game going.
We decided it was time to go in and are walking past the south entrance when I see an ugly seen: a Steeler fan getting whooped by about four Bronco fans. He got it pretty good and the police were on the scene quickly before it really got out of hand. Both parties looked pretty waisted and I'm sure alcohol played a major role. The stage is set for the game though; Bronco fans aren't going to take it from the Steeler fans like we did on Monday Night Football a few years ago.
We get up to our seats at the top in the sun and are waiting for the intro's to start. The feel of the game is starting to concentrate and we're loving it. The National Anthem is played and the fly over gets everyone chilled. I love this part of the game! It is so special to be here and watch football. What a great country we live in. A BIG thank you to all the troops.
We win the toss and defer to the second half, all good things in my mind. We are in a large section of Bronco fans with a few Steeler fans here and there. Not as many of them as I expected! The game starts slow for the Broncos but the crowd is into it. When we are on D, the crowd is making noise and the thunder of the stomping is exciting. As soon as we start scoring, the crowd gets really into it. And I mean we are into it! The terrible towel is greatly outnumbered by our orange flags. I'm hugging the strangers next to me who we all see as a part of the larger family. The kid next to my wife is about 12 and he has a good mouth on him. Steeler fans beware, this kid is for real. He is yelling, "no means no" at the top of his lungs along with a couple other colorful things. The audience is alive and the place is thumping. I haven't stomped or yelled that much in my life. The second quarter is a dream . . . scoring on deep throws and stopping them on D. This is going to be a good one, but no one wants to think we've got it won.
The third quarter is drama with some bad calls by the refs. The fans let them know what we think, lots of boo's for this crew. The undeniable sets in, the Steelers are mounting a comeback. The game is now a few plays from being tied and the crowd is unwavering in support for the home team. Not too many people are upset or yelling at our team. I liked this about the crowd. We stuck together. I've been to a lot of games the past few years and seen a large number of fans turn on the team but not this time, not in the playoffs.
The fourth quarter comes and goes with the Steelers tying it up late and the Bronco offense stalling a bit at the end. Here comes overtime. Did anyone think different? It doesn't seem that way with all the fans at the edge of their seats. This is what we came for. We win the toss and we all cheer like we've just scored not knowing what was about to transpire. We talk about how this is the first game with the new rules and remind ourselves that if a team gets a TD, they win. The first play I call for a long pass to end it. My logic is based on the feeling that the best chance to strike is when they least expect it. It looks like a run up the middle . . . wait, play fake . . . DT is open and the ball is thrown perfectly in stride with him. We all have been standing already but now we're cheering like never before. Bey Bey is running for his life and we're behind him with all our force. He sprints through the field like a man possessed by the 75,000 screaming crazies in the stands. He passes through the end zone and the place erupts like I've never felt before. The crowd is loving it! Hugging and dancing with strangers, taking photo's of one another and screaming at the top of our collective lungs. What a win and what a way to win. Tebow chants erupt and no one but Steeler fans are hitting the exits. I must have spent twenty minutes in this pure form of joy, exchanging with each other the love we have for the team.
On the way out, we walk down the ramp from the very top and the feeling is electric. Fans are going nuts, pointing at each other and chanting Tebow, Tebow, TEBOW! It feels like we won the biggest game of our lives and we're soaking up every ounce of energy letting the team know we are back. The home field advantage that we enjoyed for so long is back. The fans are back. It took a playoff game to really get this going again.
Great fans created an atmosphere that allowed an underdog to believe and succeed. We should be proud as fans how we acted and how we gave our team it's home field advantage. The team won the game but as a collective we all played a role.
We start our trek home by stopping in at the RV for some beers and more mile high love. The walk was cold but our hearts are still beating with intensity. Along the way, Bronco fans are yelling from cars and we all exchange a few kind words. This is what it's all about. Bronco Country has been reborn.