You could not escape it this morning in Colorado. Peyton Manning. Denver Broncos. It's all anyone wanted to talk about. It didn't matter if it was someone you knew or a stranger. There's a palpable excitement for football that has not been around these parts since John Elway retired after his second consecutive Super Bowl victory following the 1998-1999 NFL season. Yes, we remember that the Broncos had a great year in 2011. They made the playoffs and even won a game. This time, though, everything is different. This time everyone is invited to join the ride.
A strong argument could be made that this fan base has been fractured for for over a decade. For the past year or two, the big divide was over Tim Tebow. Some believed in him, some did not. We would all cheer and get excited in the fourth quarter of games where Tebow would lead the Broncos to a comeback victory, but during the week that same divide over whether he was the answer at quarterback would return. Tebow wasn't the only one who has divided the fan base, but he was the most recent example.
Before that, there was head coach Josh McDaniels. His hire divided the fan base, but after a while he did unify it temporarily, albeit in a negative way, because everyone wanted him fired. Quarterback Jay Cutler excited fans, but there was that group that disliked Cutler's negative body language and his immaturity (and are still very vocal about that). The head coach before McDaniels was Mike Shanahan, and his firing was considered controversial at the time. There were those that loved the man for the two Super Bowls he helped bring to Denver, but there were many others who were frustrated with the team having just one playoff victory in the many years he coached the Broncos after that.
Denver is a Broncos town. This city has seen their Colorado Avalanche win Stanley Cups. They've seen the Colorado Rockies make it to the World Series. They have watched the Denver Nuggets make the playoffs numerous years. They love all their sports teams, but this is a Broncos town. There's no mistaking it, especially now that the team appears revived and on its way to future success.
The rare bird that watched Peyton Manning guide the Broncos to the victory Sunday night might chirp that Manning is still one hit away from retirement. There are probably some Tebow fans who are still holding out and stating (now very quietly) that the Broncos made a huge mistake in releasing the controversial quarterback. However, for the other 99%, the way the Broncos won the game last night infused this city with a much-needed jolt of excitement and hope. Excuse us for overreacting a bit to Sunday night's game and to the arrival of Peyton Manning as our quarterback. We just can't help but enthusiastically welcome the return of great football to Denver once again.
Julie is a featured NFL contributor who writes about the Denver Broncos for the Yahoo Contributor Network. A football fan her entire life, she began to follow the Broncos upon moving to Colorado in 2001.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Denver Broncos
- Peyton Manning
- Tim Tebow