There’s no other way to put it: The Denver Broncos’ performance on Super Bowl Sunday was downright pitiful.
Aspen locals and visitors flocked to bars or went to numerous private parties at homes and hotel rooms to celebrate the big game. In the end, for Broncos fans, it was one huge letdown, as the Seattle Seahawks dominated from start to finish and left MetLife Stadium with a punishing 43-8 victory.
“Monday’s going to be a rough day in Denver,” said Jerry Clark, a Mile High City resident who was visiting Aspen over the weekend. He watched part of the game at Cantina restaurant and the end of it at Zane’s Tavern.
“I think I might need to extend my vacation a few days,” he said. “People in Denver are going to be grouchy.”
The Broncos got off to an inauspicious start as the Seahawks won the coin toss and chose to begin the game on defense. Broncos returner Trindon Holliday took the opening kickoff deep inside the end zone and unwisely elected to run it out, giving the Broncos poor field position at the outset.
The first offensive play was a botched snap that resulted in a Seahawks safety.
For Denver fans, it just got worse from there as Seattle used its stifling defense to roll to a 22-0 halftime lead.
At The Red Onion on the Cooper Avenue pedestrian mall, Jason Jimenez, of Aspen, had a smile on his face as he watched the Red Hot Chili Peppers perform during the halftime show.
But as for his team, the Broncos, he had this to say and spell out: “Go Doncos! D-O-N-C-O-S.”
“I think they must’ve had a little too much Orange Crush,” he said. “They need to lay off that stuff.”
When asked if he thought Denver had what it took to come back in the game, Jimenez gave an emphatic, “No!”
Nearby, at Ryno’s Pies and Pints, Zach Andrews, a midvalley resident, was watching the game from the back side of the bar.
“I’m a big Broncos fan but I had to bet on the Seahawks, unfortunately,” he said. “Too many people were betting on the Broncos, and I just went the other way.”
As the third quarter was about to start, he wasn’t counting Denver out of the contest.
“They could come back,” Andrews said. “It could be a Cinderella story.”
Roo Marchetti, also at Ryno’s, is a true Green Bay Packers fan but was pulling for the Broncos on Sunday evening.
“Anything can happen,” she said.
Over at New York Pizza on the Hyman mall, some employees had their hopes dashed when Denver quarterback Peyton Manning threw a meaningless second-half touchdown with Seattle leading, 36-0. They had split the cost of one of the 100 betting squares at Finbarr’s Irish Pub, and would have made good money had the Broncos offense not marched down the field and scored a TD and two-point conversion with no time left on the third-quarter clock.
Denver would not score again.
After the game, DJ Mike Nakagawa, an Aspenite who is in Sochi, Russia, to entertain for the Winter Olympics, emailed The Aspen Times with his thoughts on the contest. He is regarded as one of the biggest Broncos fans in town.
“What a ride it’s been,” he wrote. “Peyton Manning, at age 37, had the best year any QB at that age has ever played.”
Give credit where it is due, Nakagawa added.
“Hats off to Seattle though; their No. 1 defense picked apart our No. 1 offense. It was pretty tough watching at 3:30 a.m. in Russia. But I’ve got a lot of events to cheer about out here. Go Broncos and Go Team USA,” he said.