Yesterday, the Denver Broncos defeated the (favorited) New England Patriots for the AFC Championship and the right to head off to Super Bowl 50 (the NFL is forgoing the tradition of using Roman numerals to designate Super Bowls. I guess “Super Bowl 50” sounds better than “Super Bowl L.”)
Naturally, I posted a few things about this Broncos victory, because I’m a Broncos fan. A life-long Broncos fan.
Even more naturally, someone that I don’t even know chimed in on one of my posts with a comment along the lines of, “You’re a typical Broncos bandwagon fan. Who is REALLY your team? The Seahawks, the Cardinals, or the Cowboys?”
I replied, “Huh?”
“Well, now you live in Seattle, you used to live in Phoenix, and you’re always talking about being from Texas. Far as I know, you’ve never lived in Denver. So who’s your real team? You know, all the time, not just when they are getting lucky winning on the field.”
Here is where stupid just seems to take over the Internet at times.
1) I’m not aware of any law that requires one to live in a particular metropolitan area to support a team.
2) I actually DID live in Denver (well, Aurora, a suburb of Denver) for three years back in the early 70’s.
3) I have never, not once, claimed to be an Arizona Cardinals fan. Sure, they have some players I admire (Larry Fitzgerald for one — he’s one of the classiest guys in the NFL. He’s pretty good at catching footballs too.) Just because I lived in Phoenix for 10ish years doesn’t auto-qualify me to be a Cardinals fan. The Bidwell’s and their lousy leadership and ownership soured me on the Cards pretty quickly.
4) I do like the Seattle Seahawks. I’ve lived in Seattle for all of (almost) four years. In that time I have become quite the Hawks fan. I live about a mile from the stadium, this city is obsessed with the hawks, and I like the way they play. It’s hard NOT to like them if you live here. While I like the Hawks, they are not my favorite team. Because, Broncos. That little Super Bowl a couple of years ago where the Hawks slaughtered Denver? That freaking HURT. I had drunk dudes outside my downtown Seattle apartment for SIX MONTHS after that Super Bowl victory screaming, “SEA!” and other drunk people would respond with, “HAWKS!” All this, at 3:00am. For. Six. Months.
5) The Cowboys? Seriously? Just because I lived in Texas for years doesn’t make me a Cowboys fan. In fact, I put the ‘Pokes at the bottom of my “favorite teams” list, and rank, “whoever is playing the Cowboys” as my third favorite team. Why the disdain for the Cowgirls? Remember the Houston Oilers? I loved following them. But try doing that in Texas where you are constantly spoon-fed Cowboy pablum, and hear the “America’s Team” nonsense NON-STOP while Oilers coverage was relegated to the back page of the sports section, even when Dallas got their asses handed to them.
Can you really be a “bandwagon fan” if you’ve been following a team for over 40 years?
You see, here’s how I first came to love the Denver Broncos.
I was 11 or 12 years old when my dad got stationed in Denver (Aurora for the perfectionists out there). That’s the age where I really started following NFL football closely. About a year into Dad’s assignment, there was a solider who got transferred away — a soldier that happened to have Broncos season tickets. Anyone interested in taking over those tickets put their name in a hat, and the lucky winner that was drawn got the season tickets.
Dad got lucky, and we got season tickets to the Broncos.
Keep in mind this was in 1973 / 1974. John Elway was 13 years old at the time. The Broncos consistently sucked, yet consistently filled every seat in Mile High stadium with rabid, screaming fans. Our seats were in the end zone — we were “South Stand Superfans.” Introduce a 12-year-old kid to the home game insanity of rabid fans, and they’re likely to become rabid fans themselves.
How rabid a Broncos fan?
Rabid enough to weep like a baby at the end of Super Bowl XXXII — Denver’s first championship, and still one of the greatest Super Bowls played.
Hell, I still tear up watching this play:
I’m no Broncos bandwagon fan. I froze my ass off in Mile High Stadium in the early seventies watching them lose more than win. I stuck with them through four agonizing Super Bowl losses, and I rejoiced when they won back-to-back championships in 1997 and 1998. I’ve been a Broncos fan for 43 years (longer, I suspect, than the commenter who called me a “bandwagon fan” has been alive).
And I’ll bleed blue and orange until the day I die.
Bandwagon fan my ass. I’ll be screaming for the Broncos to beat the Panthers in Super Bowl 50. If they lose, whether on a last second field goal or they get whipped and added to this list yet again, I’ll still be cheering for them next season. Should they beat the Panthers and win a third Super Bowl, I’ll probably be as weepy as I was at the end of Super Bowl XXXII.
If that makes me a bandwagon fan, sign me up. I’ll drive the damn bandwagon right down the middle of Colfax Avenue…