It seems like every year about this time, Real Denver Broncos Fans start quantifying who gets to be in the cool clique.
On a recent archival trip, I unearthed some rules written in the blood of an ancient RDBF (although it smelled like old taco sauce, so I could be wrong about the blood). They were rubbed underneath a wooden step from the old South Stands in Mile High Stadium.
Here they are. I'm giving up my honorary fan card to share them and am barred from Dove Valley, er UCHealth, for life.
1. Be born in Denver.
2. Be a season ticket holder.
3. That you inherited from your parents.
4. Root for every single Denver area team.
5. Support both CU and CSU.
6. Never question John Elway.
7. Never question Gary Kubiak, unless
8. You are 1-5, but mostly 1-3.
9. Never, ever become a fan because of a player.
10. Especially in the last 20 years.
11. That means no Tebowstans or Manningstans,
12. These people are aren't even fake fans.
13. If your Denver parents were Elway fans, it's ok.
14. As long as they moved to Denver before you were born.
15. Players aren't real fans unless they're drafted,
16. And remain Broncos for life, except for Elway.
17. He gets the 10-second drop rule because Colts are dumb.
18. Know the original name of the Bronco atop the South Stands
19. Know Barrelman's real name.
20. Have never, ever, ever liked another NFL team, ever. Ever.
These rules may only be printed out if they are mounted inside an authentic Broncos frame and hung in a Broncos shrine room, inside a Broncos painted house, within the city limits of Denver. The only people allowed access to this room are fellow RDBFs.
Anyone who breaks the RDBF rules will be kicked out of the RDBF Club and banned for life. No exceptions unless the son you pass your season tickets to becomes a Denver player that is drafted by Denver and plays for Denver, his whole career.
If you're still alive, you may gain re-admittance based on a RDBF vote. This secret vote will be held at Elway's Steak House in downtown Denver. It's never happened, but don't give up hope. After all, two John Fox coached teams made it to a SB.
The RDBF Club will, on occasion, recognize some fans as very good or good fans. This entitles the VGF or GF to some perks. Those perks are allowing a VGF a minor disagreement with a RDBF as long as that disagreement never, ever is about Elway or Kubiak or Wade or the players of their choice.
They may disagree on which uniform is nicer as long as at the end of the disagreement, you see things their way. Or which seats in row W is better, as long as you agree in the end.
Another perk for both VGF and GF is they will say happy birthday, provided you don't break rules No. 6-20. Ever.
GF may never disagree with a RDBF on anything Denver Broncos related or any Colorado team, but may have disagreements on other topics, as long as at the end, you tell them they're right. And never break 6-20. Ever.
If you live in Australia, like Sunil Awasthi and Nathan Martin do, who have been fans since the Elway years and fly half-way around the world to see two games a year, you get a VGF card. Having luggage lost and resorting to WalMart-chic doesn't elevate you any higher than VGF.
If you became a fan like Canadian Graham in 2005 when Mike Shanahan brought you to a private practice and stole your orange heart forever, and you drive 1,100 miles twice a year with a wheelchair in tow, you're a VGF, but don't quite pass the RDBF test.
If you became a fan from watching SB32 while living in Manchester, England, like Stuart Brunt, it doesn't count. Even though American football was only shown one hour a week. You're not even a good fan. You're just a fan.
If you lived in England and became a fan in 1987 but stayed a fan, like Keith Utting, even after he saw the Broncos massacred by the Redskins in Super Bowl 22, you're not a bandwagon fan but merely a fan. After all, England didn't show full regular season games. Plus, he spent his money on feeding his children instead of Broncos tickets. Some people's priorities are weird.
If you grew up barefoot on the sandy beaches of Florida and your parents were Dolphins ticket holders, but as a kid, jumped ship because the Big D, mountains, and Orange Crush (gasp, not “coke-cola”) was your favorite soda, so became a fan, it doesn't count. Even if you saw Elway play in Miami and wore a No. 7 jersey ordered from an NFL catalogue with John Elway and Howie Long on the cover...dressed as cowboys.
Ruben Silva started watching in 1985 from Mexico. The games were English, so not everything was understood, but he followed them through the Mexican newspapers to get a better grasp. He suffered through SB losses and never faltered, even living close to Cowboys' land. He's not been able to travel to a game, so he's only a GF.
If you grew up in Kuwait, came to Denver in 1995 for college, like Sager, saw Terrell Davis, fell in love and now fly back once a year, you get a VGF card, but a map shows, there's no Denver in Kuwait. Too bad, no RDBF for you.
If the only way you got a Broncos jersey or any item, was to order an NFL catalogue and pick from the 20 Denver items offered and mail in a check, then wait a month for delivery, it makes you a VGF, but not a RDBF.
If you only got to see them play during one hour of world sports shows in Japan, fly 15 hours for a game, sorry good fan.
If you pay five times the value for a ticket sold by a RDBF, fly 5,000 miles and pay for a hotel and rental car, you're dedicated, but have you been doing it since 1975? If so, you're a VGF, if only since Elway, you're a GF.
If you did this even during the years that will remain nameless, sorry, no RDBF card for you.
If you have memorabilia dating back to the Craig Morton years, you get a fan card, but not a RDBF, card.
If you want to pass yourself off as a RDBF, you need to photoshop yourself living two miles from the stadium, in a Broncos onesie your parents bought from the local K-Mart and then laugh at the idiots who bought your SD tickets so you could fly to Florida and watch the game from a tiki bar drinking mojitos and getting a tan.
To all the unreal Broncos fans, here's a Mile High Salute! Welcome to the uncool clique. Meetings are held 24/7 on Twitter, Snapchat, and Facebook. All are welcome, even fans who came because of Tebow and stayed.