I was born, raised, and currently living in North Carolina. When I was growing up (born in 89) the Carolina Panthers franchise did not exist so my family didn't have a home team to cheer for. What eventually led to my family's connection to the Denver Broncos was the 1985 draft. My dad absolutely loved John Elway's playing style and followed most of his games while Elway was playing for Stanford, despite my dad being on the east coast. on draft night in 1985, the Broncos willed and dealed to make John Elway their next franchise quarterback which led to my dad following Broncos games. With each year Elway played, my dad's fondness of the Broncos grew. Then came "The Drive." In '87 Elway led the greatest drive ever witnessed and my dad became a full-fledged Broncos fan from then on.
Fast forward to '97 (when I was 7)... The underdog Broncos defeated the Packers in Superbowl 32. I just began playing football during this season and started to understand the game more (even though my knowledge was on a little league scale). The play that cemented my fandom for Elway and the Broncos was when Elway executed the helicopter drive on 3rd down that led to sealing the victory!
In '95 the Carolina Panthers had their expansion season and while my family were still Broncos fans, everyone pulled for the Panthers as well because they were the home team. After Elway retired, my family slowly began to drift away from the Broncos.... BUT ME! I am the type of person who believes you can't be a true fan of a team if you root for other teams as well. When I was in high school, I got to the level of understanding the game a lot more and could debate football so I wanted to pick 1 team and 1 team only to be a fan of. My choices were the home team Carolina Panthers or the original family favorite Denver Broncos. I ultimately chose the Broncos because of the fond memories of running around in grade school wearing my Elway jersey two and three times a week to school, rooting for Davis, Smith, Atwater, Mobley, Wilson, etc. every sunday, and the rich history of the team.
I also had this goal of seeing Mile High Stadium in person. To a typical Broncos fan in Colorado, this may sound silly. But for me, living in North Carolina all my life, I wanted so badly to go to a Broncos game. I mean, how could I call myself a true Broncos fan if I've never seen them play in person. I got my wish in 2012... The Broncos had an away game @ Carolina and I wore my Elway jersey proudly even though I was surrounded by my family all wearing Carolina gear. I may have been the only Broncos fan in that section that day but I got the last laugh when the Broncos steamrolled the panthers 36-14.
I got married in the fall of 2013. My wife and I struggled to find a place to go for our honeymoon. We both decided we'd rather been in the mountains rather than the beach so I suggested going to Colorado and find a cabin in the Rockies. My wife was quickly on board with the idea so I booked a cabin near Breckenridge. What I didn't know was that my wife convinced her parents to buy us Broncos tickets as a wedding present. When we got to Colorado, we spent the first day in Denver and at the time, I thought I convinced my wife to do a tour of the stadium so I could at least say I've been there in person. We went and toured the stadium (I WALKED BY JOHN ELWAY'S PRIVATE SUITE AND ABOUT PASSED OUT!) then visited the team store. After being on cloud 9, I drove us to Breckenridge and began organizing the rest of our trip for the week to visit the many awesome places of Colorado. My wife didn't say a word to me, she just put an envelope in my notebook. That following Sunday, I went to my first Broncos game at Mile High and experienced true euphoria.
I will alway bleed blue and orange and look forward to raising my newly born son to carry on the new tradition in the family of being Broncos fan in North Carolina. DB4L!