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Ultimate Fan(s) Guide: Charged up, ready for a beatdown of epic proportions

It’s a short week, there's going to be a solar eclipse, and it's a Thursday night game - a trifecta of anomalies. But this is a whole new Broncos team, and anomalies do not phase us. Just ask our Ultimate Fans who both predict sheer dominance by the Orange and Blue. That's right - fans, plural.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Broncos fans were treated to one spectacular show on Sunday night and fans are hoping the primetime high is still at Mile High when the Orange and Blue take the field a mere four days after clobbering the 49ers.

So about that drubbing a couple days ago...

Here are a few words from Art Vanndelay, who - as you recall - has a certain spouse cheering for a certain team in red and gold (pewter? What is that color, anyway?) Looks like the Christmas tree lights get to be orange and blue this year, eh?

WHAT. A. GAME. I predicted a 34 - 20 victory for the Denver, obviously Peyton and the boys had other ideas.

Even with all the injuries, this is still a very talented 49ers team, and they were soundly destroyed on both sides of the ball. The defense was aggressive, John Fox was aggressive, the running game continued to pound the rock, they had no answer for Demaryius Thomas, my mother-inlaw conceded defeat during the third quarter (bless her heart), and the defense brought pressure, pressure and more pressure.

It was as complete a game as I've seen by a Peyton Manning-led Broncos team.

It was tough to see my wife watch this game; she bleeds red and gold and I was an awesome husband and didn't rub it in. I was relieved that Foxy called the dogs off and put in the Broncos' human victory cigar, AKA Brock Osweiler, because I was one touchdown away from sleeping on the couch.

I haven't discussed the game with the rest of my wife's family; I had to give them their space. Time heals all wounds, they'll have a nice Christmas. I wouldn't be surprised if these two teams meet up again in February, and no doubt we will have a chance to erase the memories of Super Bowl XXIV.

I love this team. Bring on the Chargers!!!


For this much-anticipated San Diego thrashing, we've got two fans - Arimaris and FloydBoyd - to help us look forward to Thursday night's game at Mile High, and both see no hangover effects from Sunday. (Also, I'll leave it a surprise, but one of these two wears orange underwear on game day - and in full disclosure, I might too, but I'll just let you wonder about that!)

Instead, these diehard season ticket holders believe the Broncos could - and should - run away with this one if the defense keeps up its stellar play and Philip Rivers where he belongs - pitching a fit and pouting on the sidelines.

rivers crying

Denver Broncos v. San Diego Chargers

MHR - Which part of Sunday's awesome game against the Niners was the strongest yet, in your opinion, and which still needs the most work?

Arimaris: The strongest part of the most recent game in what I saw was the offensive line.  This game there certainly appeared to be more improvement in how they worked together, and from what I did see, the switch from Chris Clark to Paul Cornick was an improvement overall.  Part of that could have been the injuries to the 49ers, but from the players who remained healthy, I thought that the line had a great day.

MHR - What would be your three takeaways from the game against the Niners on Sunday night?


  • The pure joy on Peyton Manning's face as he was congratulated by the fellow Broncos, coaches and the fans.
  • Von Miller is officially back and with a renewed vengeance.
  • My deep and sincere appreciation for Pat Bowlen. The Broncos are a small market team, but have a generous, dedicated and pure professional for an owner, which is a VERY rare treat in ANY professional sport these days.

MHR - John Fox is known for conservative play, yet he called blitz on 3rd and 17 Sunday night, resulting in a huge first down pickup for the 49ers. Regardless of that outcome, would you want Fox to try that again?

Arimaris: Bad Call. I also do not think it is Fox who makes it. Fox always seemed to be very much a manager-type who allows his coordinators and coaches to do their job, only stepping in when he feels it is absolutely necessary. So I think this was Jack Del Rio's call. Further I think it is his weakness. He likes to blitz on long third downs, or at least get very creative with his rush responsibilities.

With the difficulty in making a first down from that long of a distance, I would prefer we let the talent of the defense carry us against most teams. Play straight up Man, rush with the four beasts we have, and win with talent.

MHR - The Broncos have a 15-4 AFC West record in the last four seasons, but the Chargers have been consistently one of our toughest competitors, and even beat the Broncos 27-20 at home last December. What are the important things for containing their explosive offense and getting up on their defense?

FloydBoyd: Part of the reason that the Chargers have had our "number" has a lot to do with Head Coach Mike McCoy and his time with the Broncos. McCoy has made some very intelligent decisions in player personnel, game planning around Phillip River's strengths and getting complete buy-in from both sides of the ball.

With that said, Rivers is not going to be a deciding factor in Thursday's game. Rivers has even less mobility that PFM, less of a running game and his offensive line has ZERO Pro Bowlers and some serious lack of starting talent.

MHR - How important do you believe the run game is to our offense being not just successful but dominant - no matter what kind of defense we face. In other words, with Peyton Manning, do we really need a great running game, or just an adequate one?

Arimaris: We need some kind of run game.  It doesn't have to be great, it just has to be able to crank out 3-6 yards consistently.  We play to step on the other teams' throats and crush them when we have the lead rather than to run the clock out, so the run game is only truly necessary for the play-action game that Peyton is so good at.

MHR - Which offensive weapon on the Chargers team is the most dangerous and will be the most problematic for our defense?

FloydBoyd: The most (and the only true) dangerous weapon is still Philip Rivers. He has an excellent arm, great game acumen and a fire that can inspire his fellow teammates. The Broncos know that the one way you throttle Rivers (and Manning) is to keep him off the field.

PFM and Rivers had the exact same number of snaps this week at 52. But PFM only played three quarters and scored double the amount of points. So San Diego either has to try to win the game by scores or by taking the ball out of Rivers hand and run, run, run. Their ONLY option is the latter.

MHR - Mike McCoy came from the Broncos where he had been a great offensive coordinator and has proved he knows some football since helping the Chargers become stronger in all facets of the game. What do you expect from him and his team's prep coming into this game?

Arimaris: McCoy has done the smartest thing he can - he has told Crimea Rivers to prove he is as smart as claimed to be under his previous coaches.  McCoy seems to have allowed Rivers to adjust and make changes while none of his previous coordinators or head coaches were willing to.  And it is working.

Against the Broncos I see a lot of quick passes attacking whomever a linebacker has coverage on.  I also see them sticking with a package for at least a drive to open up the opportunity to no huddle and reduce the matching up we need to cover for the loss of Danny Trevathan.

Defensively I see a lot of zone coverage simply due to the injuries in the Chargers' secondary.  It will be interesting to see if they even go with Drop 8 coverage against the Broncos and how they try to shut down our deep passing game, which has been effective.

MHR - Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware are looking magnificent. How much of Von's improvement this season is his own doing and how much is Ware's mentoring?

FloydBoyd: I truly don't think Mr. Ware has had much of an impact on Von's on-field performance. Von was a complete animal before his knee injury, and we are just now seeing a healthy Von pick back up where he left off last year. But I do believe Mr. Ware has helped Von take the all-important maturity leap from selfish individual to dynamic team player. Von not getting the Captain's star this year shows his teammates also think he needs one more year of maturation to be a true team player.

MHR - Which part of the stronger defense do you like best this year?

Arimaris: Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware. Basically we have two very intelligent players who can literally do everything at least effectively, and they work in the trenches.  I have thought consistently if even just Von Miller had been available for the Super Bowl it is a very different game.  Adding a more experienced player who is definitely in the same talent level has led to a defense that is very challenging to plan to defeat.

MHR - Brandon McManus hasn't been tested too much on his field goals, though on the short kicks he's had, he's brought in the three points needed. How confident in him are you and what would you like to see to feel even better? Or do you just want Prater back?

FloydBoyd: I, for one, am glad that Prater is no longer with the Broncos. He was a risk, he made absolutely stupid decisions to drink (and more than once) and made selfish decisions that were in direct conflict with the commitment the rest of his teammates have made and demonstrated.

In his first week in Detroit after being cut by the Broncos, he missed two of his three field goal attempts. Good riddance and best of luck. McManus is young and gonna make mistakes, but at least his loyalty is with the Orange and Blue and not with the Pabst Blue.

MHR - How big of a factor do you think the Mile High crowd will be Thursday?

Arimaris: Huge!  We always are of course!  More importantly I think Rivers wants to be able to check and make more changes this year at the line.  With the way our Defense is playing I would even suspect that is something they hope to do to increase the chance of success.  The reality is as fans we must prevent it from happening.

I think Rivers wants to be able to check and make more changes this year at the line. As fans we must prevent it from happening!   -Arimaris

FloydBoyd: HUUUUGGGGEEEE! Bronco fans are some of the smartest and best football fans in the NFL. They know how to make noise and how to rattle the opposing teams. Expect to hear a LOT of........IN......COM.....PLETE!!!!!!

MHR - When you look at the season stats between the two teams, there are many similarities - passing yard totals, points scored, interceptions, rushing and receiving yards, sacks, takeaways... What kind of game do you expect this one to beThursday night?

Arimaris: I think it will be a Broncos blowout actually.  Looking at who the Chargers defeated the only impressive win is against Seattle in San Diego.  And it appears Seattle is not as good as expected this year.  I will admit that the Broncos DID lose to the Seahawks, but that was in Seattle and at the time I feel that our offensive line was still literally asking "Who do you have?" before every play.

Now they are moving to the level of knowing what to do, and the game is at home. That and the advanced stats seem to back me up as the Chargers have been absurdly lucky with turnovers and about average according to things like Pro Football Focus' grading system and DVOA.

FloydBoyd: The (padded) stats for the Chargers are similar to the Broncos. But you have to peel the stinking onion of the Chargers' opponents a layer back or two. We have played FIVE teams that were in the playoffs last year, to the measly two by the Chargers. The Chargers also have played TWO winless (at game time) teams that have scored a combined total of 42 points on the Chargers. My prediction: Denver 38, Chargers 17.  We should be able to score a 40 burger on them, but since this is a short week and PFM's arm may be sore throwing so, so many TD's on Sunday night, we will show some mercy on the Chargers and only score 35.

MHR - How do you rate this year's Broncos team to 2013's? What about to the Super Bowl-winning teams of the late 90s or the Orange Crush teams in the late 70s?

Arimaris: We are a better team in my opinion than the Orange Crush teams.  Our Defense is at least as good, and the offense is way beyond what the 70s gave us.

Compared to the Super Bowl winners?  I think that the last Super Bowl loss was a health issue.  We effectively added 3 top players just because they are healthy in Harris, Miller, and Clady.  And those 3 are in the QB, LT, Pass Rusher, and Shutdown Corner group that many "experts" say are critical to a team's success.  The challenge is that the Super Bowl teams were very dominate in a very different way.  I love Elway, but Manning is a better passer than Elway was at that time.

FloydBoyd: I had to really think about this question. It is very conflicting. On one hand, the Bronco teams of 1997 & 1998 have already hoisted the silver trophy, while today's team sure has the potential to do the same. Looking at it from a player position quality point of view between the 1997-98 squad and today's team:

QB - draw

OL - ‘97

RB - ‘97

TE - ‘97 by a hair

WRs - ‘14

Special Teams - ‘97 due to change of rules, Elam & Darrien Gordon

LBs - ‘97

DEs - ‘14 (but close, hard to vote against Williams, Smith, Traylor, Pryce & Perry)

DBs - '14 (but another close call)

On paper, the ‘97 team looks to be the better team, but don't forget we lost four games that year, with two of those losses coming to the Raiders and the Chiefs and barely beating Buffalo in OT...yuck!

But until our current Broncos can lift the Lombardi, my heart will always tell me the ‘97 Broncos are the best team Denver has ever assembled.

MHR - Who makes your "Hall of Fame" Broncos team?


QB - John Elway

RB1 - Floyd Little

RB2 - Terrell Davis

FB - Howard Griffith

T - Ryan Clady & Garry Zimmerman

G - Mark Schlereth & Louis Vasquez

Center - Tom Nalen

TE - Shannon Sharpe

WR1 - Rod Smith

WR2 - Lionel Taylor

WR3 - Rick Upchurch

DL - Barney Chavous, Trevor Pryce, Rulon Jones & Rubin Carter

LB/DE - Karl Mecklenburg, Von Miller, Randy Gradishar, Paul Smith

DB - Champ Bailey, Steve Foley, Goose Gonsoulin, Billy Thompson

FS - Louis Wright, Dennis Smith & Steve Atwater

Punter - Billy Van Heusen

Kicker - Jason Elam & Jim Turner

Season predictions

Ultimate Fan Peyton Manning stats Manning TDs/INTs # yards by RBs WR with most yards # sacks by Broncos D # sacks by Chargers D Most tackles by Broncos player Broncos player with most INTs # penalties by Broncos Final score
Arimaris 20-28, 295 yards 3, 1 84 yards Demaryius Thomas – on a hot streak that continues 23? Really, I think 5 2 Bradley Roby Roby and Brandon Marshall (1 each) 8/70 35-17 Broncos (most of 17 in garbage time)
FloydBoyd 28/35, 317 yards 4, 1 123 yards Thomas ;) OK, D. Thomas On the concrete statue, Rivers? 7 0 Brandon Marshall Aqib Talib (2) 6/55 38-17 Broncos

The Favorites

Favorite team to watch the Broncos play?

ArimarisCowboys.  My wife is a huge Cowboys fan, and it is awesome to watch with her and be able to rib each other during the game.

FloydBoyd: Raiders, nothing gets the blood boiling like a great Raider game.

Team you most hate for the Broncos to lose to?

Arimaris: Faiders

FloydBoyd: Raiders, nothing gets the blood boiling like a LOSS to the Raiders :)

Favorite Broncos player on the current roster?

ArimarisChris Harris

FloydBoyd: PFM - Humble, always team first, extreme class, appreciation for the history of the game and the players before him.

Favorite Broncos player of all time?

Arimaris: John Elway. He was my QB growing up

FloydBoyd: John Elway. I got to spend two days with Elway at a business event I hosted. I expected Mr. Elway but got to know John. He was incredibly friendly, engaging and a true professional.

How you felt after the Broncos lost to the Seahawks in the game before the bye week?

Arimaris: Meh.  I think the O-Line was not 100% and we put up a great fight in the currently most challenging road venue

FloydBoyd: I hate losing any games, but felt like Denver showed they can keep up with Seattle and we made some HUGE strides on the defensive side of the ball. We gained back the confidence knowing that we can not only keep up with them, but beat them.

Favorite thing to eat during a game?

Arimaris: When it is a home game I get a roast beef sandwich from the vendor just inside of gate 9 with real horseradish.  It is excellent and watching them cut the meat right as it is made is awesome.

FloydBoyd: Old family tradition of Taco Salad

Favorite Game-Day ritual?

Arimaris: Elway Jersey goes on either right before leaving for Mile High or as the game broadcast starts.  It comes off as soon as I am home or once the game is completely in hand

FloydBoyd: Putting on a Broncos Jersey. The numbers have changed over the years, but NEVER the has to be ORANGE!

Most embarrassing-to-admit superstitious behavior regarding Broncos on Game Day?

Arimaris: I don't have anything embarrassing that I can think of.

FloydBoyd: LOL, I have to wear Orange underwear, an Orange t-shirt and Orange socks. All three HAVE to have a Bronco logo on them also!

Best Broncos game ever played?

FloydBoyd: Nothing will EVER beat Super Bowl XXXII for me.

My family has had four season tickets to the Broncos since 1969, but we had never won the Super Bowl lottery ticket draw. Until 1997!

We were notified that we could purchase two tickets to Super Bowl XXXII, and HELL yes I was going. My brother-in law was a HUGE Packers fan and had gone to college in Green Bay, so the choice was made. Our seats were in the end zone with a ton of other Broncos season ticket holders. It almost felt like a home game as I recognized so many people. The energy outside the stadium was absolutely INSANE!

There were a lot of smug Packers fans assuming this was going to be an easy win, but the Bronco fans, down to the last one I met, just KNEW we were going to win.

Seventeen years later, I can still hear, see, smell and feel the atmosphere of the game. It was LOUD even before the game.

The first half was such a blur, but WE were up 17-14 at the half. The second half was a defensive battle back and forth. But the tone of the game changed in the third quarter. It was right in front of our seats in the end zone - third down on the 12-yard line. Elway goes back to pass, scrambles to his right and leaps for the first down...but is spun around by two Packers defenders in what is now known as the "Helicopter" run.


I truly thought at the time that Elway was seriously hurt. But not the Duke. He got up, and two plays later, Terrell Davis ran in for the score! 24-17

Wow, we just might win this game! We kick off and recover a fumble deep in their zone. NOW the game is going to be over. But alas, the football gods decided our Broncos needed to wait a bit longer.

Elway is looking to stick the knife in the heart of the Packers fan sitting right next to me, when that rat-bastard Robinson intercepts Elway in the end zone. The Pack marched 85 yards for the tying score as the 4th quarter started.

Now this is how a Super Bowl is supposed to be - edge of your seat, breathing hard, palms sweating, praying your team wins, unable to scream...but also knowing that Elway is the king of the 4th Quarter -FloydBoyd at Super Bowl XXXII

The tension in the stadium is everywhere. You can literally feel how tight every fan, player and official have gotten. Now THIS is how a Super Bowl is supposed to be - on the edge of your seat, breathing hard, palms sweating, praying your team wins, unable to scream because you lost your voice two quarters ago...but also knowing that Elway is the King of the 4th quarter.

We punt, they punt, but when Denver gets the ball back, down the field we go. Eddie Mac has a massive block to free Howard Griffith for a big 20+ yard gain. TD rushes 17 yards down to the ONE yard line. Then Davis walks into the end zone for his third touchdown of the game.

Game over, right? Not in this epic game!

The Packers drive down the field with Favre completing two huge passes to Dorsey Levens. They are marching into my end zone area. Down to the Broncos' 35! Incomplete, incomplete and then on third down, another incompletion.

But Atwater knocks the snot out of Packers receiver Robert Brooks plus Broncos' Randy Hilliard as well as himself. Time freezes - no one moves for what seems like minutes. Finally all three have to leave the field.

We can't lose Atwater on fourth down??? Ahhhhh!

THIRTY TWO seconds to go. Fourth down. Brett Favre. Atwater out. Favre takes the snap, steps back, takes an eternity to throw...

But guess who steps in to block the pass down and save the game? Our Kutztown Killer and No. 1 draft pick, John Mobley!!!!

Elway takes a knee, and the BEST football game I have ever watched, seen or attended has come to a glorious - and perfect - end.