I had the privilege of meeting Bronco Mike in March 2013, when I first joined Mile High Report as its new Managing Editor. I later had the privilege of meeting him in person in the summer of 2014, but I chose the words in my first sentence carefully - even over this technical ether we call the Internet, I "met" and got to know Bronco Mike long ago. I met him the day we exchanged emails; over chats, email, Facebook, Twitter, and the occasional phone call/text message, I've interacted with Mike nearly daily since. In the weeks that would follow, Mike would choose to step up from a contributor role to become one of MHR's primary authors. More than anyone else, Mike helped make that transition as seamless as possible for the MHR community.
Mike was a personality. I remember thinking, when first joining Mile High Report, that he was a character I might need to reign in. I'm a very moderate guy; I stray from extreme opinions and think everything through carefully. Mike was the opposite - loud, passionate, honest and direct. Yet, amazingly, his loud-voiced opinions were still incredibly thought-out. He could argue with passion and intelligence any topic related to football and the Denver Broncos, nearly instantly. His mind was an encyclopedia of highlight reels and stats that he could use to back up his opinion in a heartbeat.
Of late, I know Mike had been going through a stressful time. It pains me that he possibly left this world in that state, and I hope he did not. And I have reasons to believe his heart and optimism held on. I believe this by the simple gesture he sent me only a few months back - a simple email, asking me if everything was alright and if there's anything he could do to help me (I had been travelling a lot for work, and frustrated at my inability to devote time to the blog). "Just checking in as a friend," Mike wrote - a simple email, out of the blue, that meant a lot to me then and the world to me now. Even as struggles in his every day life were catching up to him, Mike was considerate enough to reach out to me. It's just the type of man he was - a personality too big just for himself and, ultimately, a personality too big for this world.
I am proud to have known Mike Gomez, humbled to have called him a colleague, and honored to call him a friend. Mike loved music, the Denver Broncos, teaching both, and sharing himself with the world. We will miss him. This blog will never be the same.
RIP Bronco Mike.
If ever there were a truly passionate Broncos fan, it was Mike Gomez. No one could get madder at a loss or happier at a win - he was a man of true, raw emotion. And I loved that.
I will never forget how angry he was after the Broncos lost to the Colts this year, and his first comment in the chat room following the game was how mad he was at Manning and how "no one needed a sappy post about his legacy, Laurie."
Although I had only worked alongside Mike for one season, I was used to his outbursts and knew his bark was stronger than his bite, so I said nothing. But I LOL'd (as Mike would say often) when I read his reaction post to the game about "coping with loss."
Ultimately, Bronco Mike defended his team and his quarterback as only Bronco Mike could - with both anger and love: "Thank you Peyton Manning for laying yet another goose egg in an important game. It's really easy to defend your legacy and playoff record when you throw for 150 yards and average about 3.5 yards per attempt," followed a few paragraphs later by, "Thank you Peyton Manning for sharing your career with the Broncos! You gave us so many wonderful memories, Never have I seen someone command the field like you did. Your legacy speaks for itself and needs nothing else to be complete."
He sent me an apologetic email for his initial comment and then we laughed over how he had basically written the one thing he said Broncos Country didn't need. Turns out, we agreed, it always needs passion.
And that's what Mike had - a sincere passion for the Broncos (which fueled an equally deep disdain for the Patriots), for his kids at school, for his family, for his music, for his Scrabble games, and for all of us at MHR. I believe almost nothing gave him greater pleasure than a good debate about the Broncos.
I will sincerely miss you, Bronco Mike. I planned many more Twitter fights with you :) But I promise to do you right by defending Manning among our peers this year (because I know ultimately you would!) and then you and I can both laugh at all the non-believers when he wins another Super Bowl. I will imagine you in heaven playing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" on your sax, giving a few Broncos fans and every single Patriots fan there a hard time on Twitter (I'm sure it exists) and sporting your Broncos jersey proudly while simultaneously yelling at and cheering for our favorite team.
Now it's time for us to "cope" with your loss ... which will be much, much harder. Go Broncos!
I'd never met Mike in person, but I still considered him a good friend as we have blogged together for such a long time. I am going to miss our friendly banter and rage trolls on one another in MHR'S threads. It made this grind called blogging all the more enjoyable.
It feels surreal to even be typing these words. We're all going to miss you immensely, Mike. Rest in peace, brother.
I suck at writing these type of things, so bear with me here.
I knew Mike for almost 5 years. During those 5 year's I interacted with him on a daily basis. We often debated/disagreed/argued about Peyton Manning, John Elway...basically everything Broncos/football related. We had our many disagreements, but I considered him a friend.
I learned a lot of football from Mike and always valued his opinion. Speaking of his opinion, he was never afraid to give his opinion and argue with you for hours about it. In the end, it was nothing personal and we would talk about how much we both hated the Patriots and Brady.
MHR will never replace Bronco Mike. His passion, dedication and knowledge will be missed by us all.
I still can't believe it. I'm shocked, saddened, and at a loss for words. This sucks.
You will be greatly missed Mike. Thank you for all the memories you have left behind. You're in a better place now and you will have front row seats from every Broncos game going forward.
Rest in peace in Mike. You will be missed by me and the rest of us.
Even though we are both local Broncos fans I sadly never met Mike in person. But Mike was such a larger than life internet presence you didn't need to meet him face to face to feel like you knew him. Mike was one of the most welcoming staff members when I joined MHR last fall and was always quick to answer a question about the game he clearly loved so much. It's hard for me to think about MHR without him. I'll miss him pinging me on the staff chat room wondering what I was up to and hearing his hysterical rants about football and life in general. Condolences to all of Mike's family and friends.
Before I joined staff, I wrote quote a few fanposts. The best part of the whole process was chatting about the Broncos with other fans in the comments section. I got to know Mike fairly well because he was a very vocal and knowledgeable commenter on my posts even the ones that sucked. Mike liked my writing enough that he pitched me to join the staff at MHR. While I never had the pleasure of meeting him in person, I'll never forget his passion and wit.
Rest in peace, Mike. We'll all miss you, even those who only know you by your writing.
Bronco Mike will be missed. If ever asked, you'd be hard pressed to find a person as outspoken and passionate about the Denver Broncos. We didn't always agree on how best to get there, but we both imagined the greatness of the same thing... a Broncos Super Bowl victory. Mike lived in the Broncos moment and kept me in check when I'd harken back to the past to prove points about issues plaguing today's team. His focus was on today and tomorrow and he rarely reveled in past successes (something I do probably more than I should). Mike was colorful and he spoke his mind with hilarious wit. Make no mistake, Mike Gomez was one of a kind. Bronco Mike will be missed.
Bronco Mike: From the archives
Bronco Mike: From the archives
I first encountered Mike shortly before he became a staffer about 4 years ago got to know him better as we became staffers on Mile High Report around the same time. Like myself Mike was incredibly stubborn and while we clashed early as members of the staff we quickly started helping each others to improve our understanding of the game. Over the past 4 years I talked more football with Mike than anyone else in my entire life, my understanding of the game was shaped by studying with him almost daily. Mike was one of the most passionate fans out there, loyal to the Broncos above all else in football. It's a strange feeling, as someone who I talked to every day for years, it's odd that I won't be able to joke, argue and debate with him again. Mike made me a better and smarter fan and I'm indebted to him. We never met face to face but I don't think that stops me from knowing him.
I never met Mike face to face, but we had many online discussions -- and even debates -- that I will never forget. I consider him a great friend and person. He did many great things at MHR, and this site will never be the same without him. But I know he's in a better place now, and that gives me peace. I hope and pray that his family finds the same peace. We'll miss you, Bronco Mike!
I never met Bronco Mike in person, but because of his larger than life presence online I felt as though I had met him many times and I counted him as a good friend.
I learned more about football from Mike in my year plus at MHR (and before that) than I have from anyone in my life. Before I began at MHR, I followed Mike on Twitter and read his work on the site, he (along with a few other MHR writers) was truly my introduction into the non mass-media coverage of the Broncos, and I loved it. When I joined the staff, Mike was one of the first to welcome me in and get me acquainted with everything, and he drove me to have a better understanding of the game we both loved and ultimately drove me to be a better writer.
He was an intelligent man, who taught me a lot about football; a funny guy, whose messages on the group chat often had me literally laughing out loud (my roommates can attest to this); he was passionate about his Broncos and about anything else he believed; and most of all he was a friend, who welcomed me into the MHR staff with open arms and was always up for a chat about football, or anything else for that matter.
Bronco Mike will be missed and there will be no replacing him. Rest in peace, Mike, you'll not be forgotten.
I never had the privilege of meeting Bronco Mike in person, but truly enjoyed the opportunity to discuss the Denver Broncos and everything else under the sun with him over our time together at Mile High Report. Words cannot express how saddened I was to hear the news of his passing.
Mike was one of the most intelligent writers and football minds I had the pleasure of working beside. His in-depth analysis and takes on the Broncos are one of the reasons why Mile High Report is a great site and community. The Broncos discourse he offered was some of the best around -- and his quality insight taught myself, many other staff and fans of the site so much about the Broncos. Better yet, Mike had a vibrant personality and was one of the wittiest and funniest writers on staff. He always had something to say that would brighten our days or make us laugh.
Although Mike is no longer with us physically, his spirit will continue to live on through his family, friends and anyone who had the honor of crossing paths with him. He was one of a kind and the memories he forged at Mile High Report will not be forgotten.
My heartfelt condolences and prayers go out to his family and friends during this tragic time.
Rest in peace, Mike.
Bronco Mike was fiery, passionate, asking questions, and really hungry for learning more about football with the rest of us when he joined MHR years ago and when he started writing, he quickly became a poster that I would always go out of my way to read. I'll miss him as a friend on staff, the best damned play review guy I've seen at MHR, and a brother in Christ. Rest in peace, Mike. I look forward to the day when we get to catch up so I can tell you face to face how much you are loved and missed.
Like many of the other staff writers, I never had the opportunity to meet Mike in person, but it feels like I did. As soon as I joined the MHR staff, Mike was there helping me learn the differences between nickel and dime defenses, explaining the different roles of the offensive line, and giving us all more passion and humor to write with. From what I know, Mike was a wonderful teacher, and his music students loved him. I can only imagine the atmosphere he brought to the classroom. I can't imagine MHR without him, and my heart is heavy for his friends and family.
Rest in peace, Bronco Mike.
Around the Broncos blogosphere
Kaptain Kirk, MHR alumnus and Bronco Planet editor
It is very shocking to lose a friend. Especially this sudden. It really reminds us how important our lives truly are. Make sure the one's you love know it. Mike was always kind to me and when he asked me any questions about blogging or picked my brain to see how I went about my work, I gladly encouraged him into his own true direction and it made me proud that he took the proverbial ball and ran with it. When he wasn't breaking down film or trolling Raider fans, Mike taught and shared his love of Music to kids. He was also an accomplished Saxophonist and loved Jazz. I shared a few Training Camp practices, the Summer Scrimmage that tried to rain us out 2 years ago and a trip to Loveland to obtain Simon Fletcher's autograph with him. I think whenever I see it precipitate on a football field, I will think of my friend. R.I.P. Bronco Mike.
Luc Polglaze, Director of NFL Content and Broncos Team Manager, Pro Football Spot
Sometimes, life just reaches out and strikes you in the face. When I learned of Mike's passing, I couldn't believe it. I still can't. And I don't know how to sum it up.
Where do you begin with a man who has touched so many lives? Who can forget Mike's jokes, his jibes and his opinions? He was influential on MHR for so many readers and on a more personal level, for me as a young sports journalist. I started as a commenter on MHR who went by the name of broncosfanforlife, or BFFL. If you look carefully, sometimes you'll still see me around. Mike's articles taught me to write and to watch football closely. I learned from him and he always encouraged me. I wouldn't be where I am today without him. Love him or hate him, Mike had strong opinions and he stuck to his guns. The most recent tweet on his Twitter account reads, "Don't split hairs with me, you guys know what i'm talking about..." Mike, we always did.
Chad Jensen, Publisher, Mile High Huddle
Mike Gomez was a great guy and a good person. Opinionated, for sure, but also a caring and outgoing dude. Big fan of music and an extremely knowledgeable football writer. He will be greatly missed. Rest in peace, brother.
Patrick Smyth, Vice President of Public Relations, Denver Broncos
Sympathies to @MileHighReport on the passing of long-time Broncos blogger Mike Gomez, a very passionate & dedicated writer & Broncos fan.— Patrick Smyth (@psmyth12) June 28, 2015
Tyler Bleszinski, founder of SB Nation and Vox Media
Andrew Mason, Senior Digital Report, DenverBroncos.com
Scott Kacsmar, NFL Writer, Football Outsiders
Recognized the name right away. RIP Mike. These moments definitely make you pause https://t.co/NitijefqKM— Scott Kacsmar (@FO_ScottKacsmar) June 27, 2015
Brandon Spano Network
Mile High Huddle
From the comments
Broncos Country's outpouring of support has been overwhelming. Thank you to everyone who left comments on our original announcement post (read through them here). Here are a few we highlighted.
I am so deeply saddened to hear that Bronco Mike will no longer be with us here at MHR. My heartfelt condolences and prayers to his loved ones.
Such sad news. You will be missed, brother. Sleep in peace.
What awful news...... May Mike be at peace and condolences to his family.
It might be too soon, but I would have no issue with Mike being inducted posthumously into the MHR author HOF.
It somehow never ceases to amaze me how utterly words can fall tragically short of what we truly want to say.
Like I’m sure many here, I never personally met Mike, but I have had many interactions with him, both here and on Twitter. His knowledge of all things football, and especially Broncos, was nothing short of impressive. While at times he could be abrasive, and certainly there were times I found myself disagreeing with his approach or opinion, but one couldn’t help but appreciate his passion.
Our community has lost a great person today, he will truly be missed. I for one, second the earlier suggestion to add Bronco Mike to the MHR Hall of Fame.
I still can’t quite find the words, so I found these words, from Bronco Mike himself, from one of his previous posts:
"My soul, is as open as the sky. Often time, it’s just as blue. People tell me, I need to keep on dreamin."
(Another commenter, in reply, found that these were song lyrics to the Amos Lee's Dreamin').
From the SBN Jets family. I’d like to pass along my deepest condolences to Mike’s loved ones.
Mike was a wonderful commenter and Broncos ambassador on Gang Green Nation for years.
I am so sorry for his family and all of the MHR community that lost a real beacon of discourse and study that made us all better.
We didn’t always agree, as family never does, but I valued his perspective as a means to improve my own. This is a huge loss that we will only continue to appreciate as the days and weeks unfold.
To his family, thank you for letting him share so much of his passion and insight with the extended family that MHR is. We all benefitted from the MHR piece of who he was that we could interact with. But you got the whole man, and so your degree of interaction clearly pales our small fraction. My deepest condolscenes for what is quite simply a tragic loss for all of us.
Rest and be at peace, B-Mike. Thank you for what you brought, and what you taught.
Bronco Mike R.I.P. I’m going to miss your articles and posts. My condolences to your family and friends. MHR won’t be the same! You are the reason(articles and point of view) I joined the MHR instead of just lurking. So I could converse with you and ask your opinions on different things about the Broncos! Thank you Mike for everything
Ride off into that orange and blue sky, brother. You will be greatly missed by us all. God better be a Broncos fan, because if not, he’s gonna get an ear full.
this is the worst news of the offseason by far. i never met the man but i am tearing up
Bronco Mike was my favorite MHR Staff Member. I haven’t checked in for a few days and this is truly shocking and terrible news.
Just read through all of the comments and its nice to see what a special impact Bronco Mike had on so many fans: Broncos fans, fans of other teams, and wwe fans. It really does say alot to be able to have such a positive impact on others through your writing on a blog, many of whom who had never met Bronco Mike.
I always enjoyed his breakdowns and learned alot from them. Living in NE, I liked how he would go after pats fans both on pats pulpit and on MHR. I remember clicking on Bronco Mike’s name once and checking all the posts he had made on MHR, Pats Pulpit, Gang Green Nation, and Cage Side Seats to name a few. He really knew his stuff and knew how to talk trash and defend his team in a respectful way.
The column he wrote about Manning right after the playoff loss to the Colts was especially well done saying that if it was Manning’s last game with the Broncos then it was a great ride. At a time when many fans were highly emotional and reactionary, Bronco Mike put things in perfect perspective.
RIP Bronco Mike.
Thank you for all your great contributions to MHR and SportsNation.
If you'd like to pay your respects to Mike, please feel free to do so in the comments below and/or by donating to his family's Go Fund Me page. Thank you so much to everyone for your kind words thus far. We'll be sharing all of this with Mike's family.
RIP Mike. Mile High Salute!