The tale of my Broncos fandom begins somewhere between conception and birth. My dad was a lifelong Broncos fan growing up in the 70's and 80's. He lived in Montana at the time, and the football scene included several Seahawks, Vikings, Bears, and Broncos fans. If you were to ask my Grandfather, Fran Tarkenton was the greatest QB to ever live. Ask my uncle, and the 1985 Bears would obliterate any competition regardless of era. My Dad, on the other hand, bled Orange and Blue especially after the trade to acquire John Elway.
Some of my earliest memories are of watching games on a grainy television, sitting next to my dad on his old brown recliner chair. At the start of every game, I would ask "Who are we rooting for, Daddy?". Often times it was just colors or who had the ball at that particular point. But come the 1997 Divisional Playoff game against the Jaguars, he answered "Who do you think we're rooting for?".
That was my first memory of Broncos football. Actually watching Denver and realizing who we were going for.
The next season went in a blur. Really, my only memory comes from a cake that my Papa Bill helped decorate. That man was one hell of an artist, and he iced the cake all navy blue with a giant Broncos horse logo. It was GLORIOUS to behold, and tasted even better when I realized that Denver had won Super Bowl 32. My dad cried, and even though I didn't really understand tears of happiness at that time, I knew what had actually happened.
Fast forward to week 17 of the following year. We were in Montana visiting my grandparents for Christmas the week before, and my Dad gave me a Christmas card as my only present. As a typical small child I was truly disappointed seeing my brother and sisters open their new toys. My Dad and Mom told me to "Cowboy Up" and open the card because I was really going to like what I was given. I opened the card and my eyes lit up like the full moon. There were two tickets to Mile High Stadium to see the Broncos play the Seahawks for the final game of the season! I literally couldn't sleep for two days out of pure excitement.
We left early the morning of the game, me in my new Elway jersey and Dad wearing his orange Steve Atwater 27. The whole ride down I didn't say a word. Combined with my excitement was pure nervousness. I was almost sick to my stomach. Dad asked if we needed to turn around and go home, and I cried out of fear of missing the game. Upon arrival to the stadium, we walked down to the first row to watch warmups, and I got to see Elway run out on the field as close as we could get. It was so freaking cool that I started shaking.
The game went as we all know. Elway hit 300 TD's and Terrell Davis broke 2,000 yards, Denver won 28-21. Probably the biggest memory was the stadium bathroom stall. The crowd erupted for some reason and the walls literally shook. My Dad laughed as I came out wondering if we were gonna die hahahaha.
After that I was completely hooked. Every chance I could get I played with football cards and learned stats. So much so that my Dad started calling me the "NFL Encyclopedia".
I went through my high school years as a die hard football fan. Watching draft prospects and learning how offenses were supposed to work and what play was the perfect call against a weak side safety blitz with the secondary in cover 3. It consumed me, and I it.
When I left for college, a new addiction reared its ugly head. I found out what cocaine and ecstasy could do to the human mind, and football was a thing of the past. I didn't care anymore about stats or player names. I couldn't really tell you what happened for sure, but I do know that Josh McDaniels is a douche rocket. Fortunately, I was arrested for possession of marijuana, thrown in jail, and sobered up (even though it wasn't by choice).
The person who got me out? My Dad. The first thing we did when we got home that evening? We went to his buddy's house and watched the season opener at Sports Authority Field, Denver vs. Oakland. The craziest thing then occurred. My fandom was back in full effect. Something about watching that game with my Dad was so nostalgic that I felt like that 6 year old sitting on my Dad's lap watching games on a fuzzy TV screen.
I credit my father as the reason I became a Broncos fan, and the Broncos as the reason why I was able to quit a severe drug addiction and become the person I am today. If not for Him and them, I'm not sure where I would be. Probably jail. Probably dead.
Broncos football is my entire life. I eat, sleep, breathe, and dream Broncos. And this addiction is 10 times more worth it than any drug in existence.