Today, as I sit down to watch the NFL conference championship games, I am absolutely miserable. A week ago, I was at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, watching my beloved Denver Broncos blow a late-game lead against the Baltimore Ravens. I will always bleed orange and blue, but the end to this season was especially tough for me as well as all of Bronco Nation.
Following a phenomenal regular season, everything was setting up for a return trip to the Super Bowl for the Donkeys. With Peyton Manning under center and a reemergence of the Orange Crush on defense, we won the final 11 games of the regular season, earning the top seed in the AFC and a first round bye in the playoffs. Matched up against the Baltimore Ravens, Denver was a heavy favorite going into the game.
Broncos football has always been an integral part of my family life and played a central role in my upbringing. My grandfather has had season tickets for decades, and I have been to too many games in my lifetime to remember. I saw John Elway play in the original Mile High stadium, saw the final game ever in Mile High against Steve Young, Jerry Rice, and the 49ers, the 2006 AFC Championship game against Pittsburgh, and Tebow Mania last year. There have been three coaches during my lifetime, and numerous quarterbacks, including Griese, Plummer, Cutler, and Orton, but nobody has captured my love so quickly as Peyton has (with maybe the exception of Al Wilson). I have experienced extreme peaks and valleys, including both Super Bowl wins as well as the death of Darrent Williams. However, last week's game makes a strong case to top the list of low moments.
Attending the game with me were my father, uncle, and cousin Eli, a third grader living in Boulder. The wind chill at kickoff was negative three degrees, and as the sun went behind the mountains, it only got colder and colder. The sold-out stadium did not sit down the entire game, which featured a whirlwind of scoring fireworks. There were numerous punt, kickoff, and interception returns for touchdowns, and a game between two teams billed as defensive stallwarts quickly escalated into double-digit scoring quarters. As some of you may know, the Broncos found a way to blow the game with numerous miscues in the second half and overtime. Even with the stinging defeat, I am looking foward to another great season.
Until next time,