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January 16, 2013
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Thrill and agony: Oh, the agony!

Never has the slogan to that old ABC's Wide World of Sports TV show meant so much to me as it has since Saturday. But I'm also wondering why "the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat" keeps echoing off and on in my mind days after the Broncos total collapse against the Ravens.

After all, it was JUST a football game, in the great scheme of things.

No, it wasn't.

I've been a football fan, especially a pro football fan, since the year after Vince Lombardi left the Green Bay Packers. The Pack was my first favorite team, even though I was born and raised most of my life in Denver.

Bart Starr, the Packers quarterback during the Lombardi years and for a time afterwards, was my boyhood idol. I had the pleasure of meeting and shaking Starr's hand at a sports card show in Salt Lake City many moons later. I have the autographed football card to prove it.

I also thanked him for being my inspiration in all my backyard football games with my brothers, our friends and my dad.

My dad introduced all three of his sons to the joys and sorrows of following the local team. They've been my favorite team since their first Super Bowl in 1977. But I also feel the pain of the Broncos' 1960s teams in the old American Football League. Other than Floyd Little, not much to cheer about.

I've ridden the highs - obviously the two Super Bowl wins in 1997 and 98 - and suffered all the lows - the three Super Bowl losses, always by larger and larger margins, plus the '96 loss to Jacksonville in eerily similar circumstances to the Ravens loss, and the 2005 AFC Championship game defeat by the Steelers.

But this one lingers and lingers, like a bad case of the flu or a lazy brother-in-law who won't get off the couch and get a job.

It's always there, rummaging around in the back of my mind and my heart. I even caught myself watching some of the rebroadcast of the game on the NFL Network the other night. Why? Did I think it would turn out differently? Nope, same feelings of despair.

Still, it does make me think I'm putting way too much importance on the Broncos as a way to feel good. They're adults - very highly paid, very talented adults - playing a kid's game. Why do I care so much how well they play it?

I just do.

Unless you've gone through all the ups and downs, seen the thrills of victory and the agonies of defeat, you don't feel like you live and die with your team's fortunes.

The highs are incredible, and something you share with what, maybe a million other people? How many things can you say that about?

Again, in the big scheme of things, it's just a football game. There are many more important things to do, learn about and feel like you have a stake in the outcome.

But I'm a football fan. That's short for fanatic, you know. Even more, I'm a Denver Broncos fanatic.

That means, right now, I'm feeling the agony of defeat. And, if I'm honest, part of me likes the feeling.

Wait till next year!

Mike McKibbin is the editor of The Citizen Telegram.


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The Post Independent Updated Jan 16, 2013 05:20PM Published Jan 16, 2013 05:19PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.