Good morning, Broncos Country!
When the Denver Broncos went to two Super Bowls in three years with Peyton Manning, Jay Kornegay found himself in a weird situation.
It feels like decades ago now because of the last five years, I know.
Kornegay is the executive vice president of operations at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas. He’s also a fan of the Broncos. Now you see why it’s weird. Kornegay is a Colorado native and still thinks of himself as a Coloradan, despite being a longtime Vegas resident.
In an interview I did this week to announce the launch of the SuperBook in Colorado, I asked Kornegay to lay out how difficult it is (or how easy it is) to separate what he has to do as a bookmaker and a Broncos fan. As he talks, you’ll see a framed John Elway piece on his wall over his left shoulder.
As Kornegay said:
“Well, I wear a couple of hats. One is my work hat, and one is my fan hat. And when I’m at work, I definitely have that work hat on and I do whatever is best for our operation. But once it kicks off, I can put my fan hat on. Now, I shouldn’t tell my bosses that. ‘What do you mean you’re rooting against the book?’ I’m just rooting for my team.
“Sometimes it’s very frustrating, to tell you the truth. Like the Seattle (Seahawks) Super Bowl, everybody was betting the Broncos. And I was just like, ‘Oh my gosh. If the Broncos win, we’re just going to get destroyed.’ Not that I was rooting for Seattle. I was definitely rooting for the Broncos in that game. And it was over quickly, right? Pretty much the first snap.”
After the painful reminder of that Super Bowl, he pivoted to a much better memory two years later.
“And in another case, you’ve got Super Bowl 50 where everybody was betting the (Carolina) Panthers. Cam (Newton) was on a roll. The Panthers were destroying everybody. They just rolled, I think it was, the (Arizona) Cardinals. And it was a lot of fun then because I got the opportunity to root for my team and the book really needed the Broncos to win. So it was a double winner for me.
“In the other scenario it’s either, well, my favorite team is going to win. If they win, we’re going to lose a lot. The other way is my favorite team loses but at least the book can win a lot of money. But you do have to separate the two. And sometimes that is challenging, but I’ve been doing it for so long, Ian, that I kind of have got used to it over time. But there is no doubt that I will put my fan hat on, especially my Broncos and (Colorado) Rockies fan hat on, when the game starts.”
Each Saturday, I do a segment on Denver radio station ESPN 1600 AM. This week, alongside longtime Denver Post columnist Jim Armstrong, we discuss the Broncos GM search and the (unlikely) possibility Deshaun Watson is available.
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