If you've spent any time on the internet perusing MHR and other Broncos media outlets, you've probably come across that poor soul who proudly proclaims he's a member of 'Broncos Nation'... and the inevitable cavalcade of Broncos fans who are quick to jump in and admonish him for not saying 'Broncos Country'.
It's an honest mistake. Broncos Country is as old as the team itself, right? No. No, it's not.
What we know as 'Broncos Country' was a multi-platform marketing campaign put out by the Broncos less than ten years ago. The whole thing popped onto the scene in 2005. For those of you who don't remember, 2005 was a fantastic year to be a Broncos fan. With a 13-3 record, the Broncos secured the second seed in the AFC. It was also the last time the Broncos won a divisional round playoff game. To this day it was the most successful season since the back-to-back Super Bowl years. Between the billboards, internet and TV/Radio ads, the Broncos Country campaign was a smashing success. (I'll leave out the part about the now defunct Broncos Country message forums that were a spinoff of DenverBroncos.com... Not every site can be MHR, now can it?)
The marketers won. The fans of the Denver Broncos identified themselves as proud citizens of the Broncos Country idea they were selling. Unfortunately, there was an unintended consequence. Broncos fans now, without fail, call out those who do not use the marketers branding. Now, if someone uses 'nation' they are identified as 'less-than' and need to be corrected.
This leads me into something else to which I'd like to call your attention. I'm seeing a cold reception to new Broncos fans. Sure, many of us consider ourselves dyed-in-the-wool fans who have stuck with the team through thick and thin. Sure the "bandwagon fans" are getting in when being a fan is easiest, they haven't lived through the pain. Let's not forget one thing, of all thirty-two teams, they're picking the Broncos. In all honesty folks, a lucky few of us were born Broncos fans. We came to the Broncos for one reason or another and our fandom grew into our own individual brand of Broncomania. We can all look back on a time in our lives when we weren't as versed in our orange and blue heritage. A time when you could have easily been called out as less than a die-hard fan. Even now, regardless of how much you know or care about the Broncos, there is always someone who pushes the needle just a little further than you do (the Barrel man has trumped us all... for all time, regardless of how big a fan you are). I think we owe it to those dipping their toes in the Mile High brand of football to cut them a little slack and welcome them with open arms. If they leave, they leave... but many will stay, and they will pay it forward.
Last season, the Broncos unveiled a new marketing campaign, United In Orange. I can't think of any sentiment more prescient for the current state of Broncos fandom. Whether you're a fan of the team for its history, its uniforms, Peyton Manning's record crushing arm, or Eric Decker's rock-hard abs, we all must remember that we are all in this together as Broncos fans. From season ticket holders on down to the guy who's only rooting for the Broncos to get back at his brother-in-law the Raiders fan, we all must strive to be United in Orange.