Hundreds of Broncomaniacs showed up last Sunday to support their “Boys from Denver” as they prepare to take on the Carolina Panthers this Sunday in Super Bowl 50.
The rally – hosted by Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia and former Broncos players – brought out all walks of life – fans in blue and orange-clad fuzzy leggings and spiky football shoulder pads and fierce-looking horse heads made of foam.
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The surrealism would have delighted Hunter S. Thompson. But, for Broncos fans, their adoration for the Orange and Blue is as real as it gets.
“This is the backbone of Denver, the Broncos,” said longtime Denver resident Rick Byrant, who was wearing a Broncos jersey and carrying around a blue and an orange-colored cowbell.
For father-son fans like Jack and Jason Quinn of Thornton, the Broncos are more of a theological institution.
“It’s pretty much our religion on Sundays,” Jason Quinn said. “We’ve got the man cave in the basement, worship every Sunday.”
Jack Quinn, a former longtime Broncos season ticket holder, said his basement is filled with team posters, banners and boxes of pom-poms. His backyard contains original seats from the old Mile High Stadium.
No doubt, the Quinns are real fans.
“We’re almost too big of fans,” Jason Quinn said. “People don’t really like to watch the games with us because we’re a little too intense.”
“We tell people they can come over, but we might have to go to a different room at some point,” Jason Quinn said.
“We only want serious fans – and pretty much only serious fans – in the room with us,” said Jack Quinn.
That’s something Denver native Will Everetts can relate to. He’ll sometimes watch the games with friends and family. But he’ll often watch big games alone, to avoid distractions. But he has a ritual that brings a little thunder to his solitude.
“When I’m by myself, I like to stomp my feet and act like I’m at the game,” he said. “So, I get the house rocking.”
Superstitions Are All Too Real
Everetts won’t be making the same, terrible mistake he made last year, when he bought Broncos AFC Championship gear – before the Broncos even appeared in their first playoff game.
Fans need no reminder of how things turned out for the Broncos that year.
Plenty of Broncos fans at the rally talked about how they’ll be wearing the same socks or boxers they’ve been wearing throughout the playoffs for the big game.
Cole Schmauder of Highlands Ranch walked around the Civic Center wearing an Emmanuel Sanders jersey, Broncos pajama bottoms and orange-rimmed sunglasses. His best friend Bare, an 11-month-old Shiba Inu, also donned a Broncos jersey.
Schmauder said he only drinks a certain brand of coffee each game day morning, which of course must be sipped from his Broncos coffee mug.
Schmauder’s superstitions not only run deep, they even prevent others from watching the game.
“My foreman, he doesn’t watch the Broncos unless he wants them to lose, because he says anytime he watches the Broncos, they lose,” he said, very seriously. “So I told him, ‘This game, you cannot watch this game.’”
Then there’s Bill Babin. Don’t even mention superstitions with him.
“I can’t even talk about my superstitions,” he said. “That would jinx everything.”
Babin was dressed as some sort of orange bird-themed Broncos caped crusader. The number 12 printed on his football pads symbolize the “12th Man” role that Broncos fans play at every home game.
“The fans are the big reason why we beat New England (in the AFC Championship game),” Babin said. “If it weren’t for the noise, if it weren’t for the kinetic energy that was produced, that’s a part of it.”
Miguel Sifuentes will be among the Denver die-hards who plans to make a lot of noise for the Broncos this Sunday – in person.
Sifuentes, who grew up 10 minutes from the original Mile High Stadium, will be attending his first Super Bowl.
“(A friend) called me on Monday morning and was like, ‘Hey, we got tickets. You want ‘em?’” he said. “That’s a no-brainer right there. I was like, ‘Of course!’”
Sifuentes said going to the Super Bowl is “a dream come true.”
“You know, you can follow a lot of teams on TV, but once you have your team in your backyard, the feeling is different,” he said. “And we need to win so we can show this new generation (of Broncos fans) the feelings we had back in 1998-99.”