Will Call: A mild case of Bronco Fever
In the lead up to the Super Bowl, you’ve probably read many informed and insightful opinions on the big game.
That’s not what this is.
I’m afraid I am one of those strange people that just doesn’t have a lot of interest in professional American football.
Many find such an attitude snooty or unpatriotic or downright offensive, and I hope they will find a way to forgive me. I had no immediate family members to instill a love of the sport in me. My mother was more partial to figure skating, and I grew up rooting for Gordeeva and Grinkov instead of Elway and Davis. Typically, the only way I knew it was Super Bowl Sunday was because the newspaper comics would reference it.
Then came Super Bowl XXXII. We had a big blue and orange themed party at Carbondale Elementary School, though I don’t remember for sure if it was before or after the game. In any case, it was my first exposure to the fandom and also left me with a lasting bias against the Packers even though they were the only other team I knew.
After that, I settled back into a pattern of ignoring pro sports.
In high school, I was a big supporter of the Roaring Fork Rams and twice made the trip to Fort Collins to watch the boys’ basketball team play in the 3A State Championship.
At CU, however, I could never seem to generate the enthusiasm to support the Buffs, much less pro ball where players and even teams move around.
I couldn’t help but hear about it when Tim Tebow joined the Broncos, but I didn’t pay much attention.
Peyton Manning, however, brought an ethos that even a philistine like myself could appreciate.
Coming back from an injury, dismissed by many as washed up, he led the team to the brink of victory in 2014. It was like a Hallmark movie, except with an ending that cast a shadow over the state for a few weeks after.
Shortly thereafter, I went to work in a newsroom and discovered that journalists are major sports fans. I was encouraged to fill out a March Madness bracket shortly after being hired, which I did by coin flip and lost spectacularly. I was not asked again.
Since then, however, I’ve tried to step up my game. I skim the sports section even when school’s out. I’ve followed Manning’s ups and downs and come to like the team Kubiak has assembled around him. I see hope for the future in Osweiler, although I find it strange to be the same age as a professional quarterback. I’ve learned a bit about the other teams and their strengths, and even predicted a Broncos vs. Panthers Super Bowl when sports editor Josh Carney asked me after the first round of playoffs.
I am still far from a convert. I have made no plans to watch the game. I rather enjoy the solitude that comes from being out and about while everyone is glued to the television. Besides, I don’t generally get invited to Super Bowl parties. I have been assured that that doesn’t make me a bad person, and hope others like me know that, as well.
Still, with Manning potentially facing his last big games, the oddsmakers casting us as the underdogs, and the infectious enthusiasm of those around me, I can’t help but at least shuffle along with the bandwagon.
For what it’s worth, this year I’m rooting for the home team.
Will Grandbois appreciates that the Avalanche and Rockies are named after the whole state and not just Denver. He can be reached at 384-9105 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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