I didn’t grow up loving football. In fact, I grew up not caring about it all. Ballet consumed me and football was for the boys in my adolescent mind. I remember only one time, very vividly, that I experienced the thrill of cheering for your team with insane passion; Super Bowl XXXII. The year was 1998, I was one week away from turning 12 and the Denver Broncos were about to take on the Greenbay Packers in the game of all games. My Aunt Beth hosted a super bowl party and my parents and I went adorned in our newly purchased AFC championship t-shirts. We sat huddled around the tv and I was just excited to be a part of the party. I had no idea what was happening on the screen but when my family cheered, I cheered. When they got angry, I made a fist and aggressively yelled “c’mon!” I had this football thing down. I most definitely don’t remember the details because at the time I didn’t know a touchdown from a field goal but the Broncos won and the energy was something I’ll never forget. Everyone was screaming and jumping up and down. This was fun! On the drive home we partied with ALL of Colorado, horns honking, yelling out windows, Bronnnccoooooossss!!!
It wasn’t until my early 20s that I was reminded of the fun of football. Part of what really pulled me to it was living in NYC and being able to flaunt my Colorado pride by simply wearing a Broncos hat. Oh you see my hat? That’s right, I’m from Colorado. Insert proud head nod here.
When I started dating Tom it evolved into an actual love of the game and I wanted to know everything. I wanted to be one of those cool girls that not only hung out with the dudes watching football but one the cool girls who also knew when it was appropriate to yell at the refs for bad calls instead of just nodding in agreement with fellow fans, unlike my 12 year old self. Watching football on Sundays became obligatory, so much so that a few years into our relationship, Tom and I got the NFL package at our apartment so we could watch the Dolphins and the Broncos from the comfort of our living room.
Over the years my love of the game became more intense and the Broncos most definitely made for an eventful journey. Can we all take a knee for a moment and remember our good friend Tebow? For all the regular season wins that felt like super bowl victories there were losses that made the time spent watching feel like a waste and the letdown from your teammates was real.
January 2014, the Broncos has made it to the AFC championship where they would go head to head with the New England Patriots. I sat at Bar Coastal, one of our regular Sunday football spots, surrounded by friends all in support of my Broncos and I. For anyone in America that isn’t a Patriots fan, you know what beating them feels like. My dislike stems from being personally victimized by Boston fans (read previous blog; Just Like Fine Wine for details). This night was no different. Before the game even started, some turd of a human wearing Patriots gear from head to toe, entered the bar, established eye contact and held up his middle finger dramatically as he crossed the bar to his seat. Umm…chill bro, the game hasn’t even started. I’ll never forget that man. He was the exact opposite type of fan I wanted to be and I made a conscious decision to think before I act when it comes to football banter… I too had a history of asshole moves(ask my dad about the time we went to a Denver vs. Oakland game) but that was going to change right now. I guess the football gods heard me because the Broncos won the game sending us right to the Super Bowl. The thrill of the win brought actual tears to my eyes. Tom wasn’t able to be there that night because of work but he knew how much this meant to me and within minutes of the final play, Ladder 13 pulled up to the bar. In walked my husband for a victory hug, bunker gear and all. More tears. All happy if course. SUPER BOWL!!!! My poor friends that continued to stay out and celebrate with me had to hear “Hey, did you hear who’s going to the Super Bowl this year?” on repeat. I thought I was hilarious but I’m sure it got old quick.
What came of that AFC Championship win was one of the best weekends of my life. Not only was MY team going to the flipping SUPER BOWL, but it was being held in MY city! THE BRONCOS WERE COMING TO NEW YORK CITY!!! This clearly meant VonMiller and I would soon become best friends.
My high school friend and likely the craziest Bronco fan in the world, Stephanie Weaver flew up from Tampa for the weekend and oh boy did we savor every second. We galavanted all over Manhattan sporting our Orange and Blue meeting other Coloradians here for the weekend. On the Saturday before the big game we went to Times Square where all the Super Bowl festivities we’re taking place. Times Square, usually overflowing with slow moving tourists was now a sea of Broncos Blue and Seahawks Green. We shuffled our way through the crowds, caught a glimpse of the Lombardi Trophy and other attractions all while high-fiving fellow Bronco lovers. What made the day so incredibly fun was the banter between Broncos and Seahawks fans. Denver and Seattle happen to be two of the chillest cities in America breeding the coolest of people and the back and forth trash talk was incredibly light and fun. Yes this was a big deal and in my mind the Broncos were going to annihilate those birds come Sunday but until then these people were fun! No finger-flipping New England turds to rain on this parade.
Our Saturday pre-Super Bowl partying lasted well into the night as we bounced from Broncos high fives and Seahawks boos. The night ended on the most amazing note and what has become one of my top ten favorite New York moments. Several Colorado natives had made their way to Manhattan for the celebration, some of them arrived in style in their Broncos themed vehicles. As we skipped through Times Square, there it was; a stretch limo with every single inch covered in Orange and Blue with bold Bronco logos. I HAD to get on top of that limo. No question. I politely (a true Colorado girl) asked the driver if I could get on top for a photo. He said yes(a true Colorado gentleman). There I stood arms stretched out wide, head held high, grinning from ear to ear on a Broncos stretch limo smack in the heart of Times Square! This. Was. My. Moment!
As much as I would have loved going to the game hosted by my city, tickets were priced way out of my league and so we hosted a birthday/super bowl party at our apartment and all of my friends wore something from my exuberant Broncos wardrobe collection. The Broncos ended up losing the game in an embarrassingly poo poo way. I cried.
Fast forward two years to Super Bowl 50 and the Broncos made it back to the Super Bowl, this time on the weekend of my 30th birthday and boy oh boy did they give me the best gift; a Super Bowl victory! Happy birthday me! Again, my friends rocked my closet and again, I cried but this time from so much joy!
The weekend of Super Bowl 48 was by far one of the best weekends I’ve had in NYC. I beamed with so much pride all weekend for so many reasons. Here I was, a proud Colorado girl, a proud Colorado girl who now lives in New York City and a proud supporter of a team going to the Super Bowl. Stephanie and I agreed that though the Broncos really dropped the ball…literally… the weekend was one we will cherish forever. A big fat L for the Broncos but a big fat W for us!