Marolt: This one’s for you, me, and Bud!
Sometimes God provides moments of intense suffering through trivial matters. He also gives us tastes of rapturous joy. It’s up to us to keep perspective during these times. And so it is with Denver Broncos football.
A Super Bowl win, you’ve got to love it! And, thank you, Lord, for the beat down we got from the Seahawks two years ago in the world championship, the inexplicable drubbing we took from the lowly Colts in the playoffs last year and even the heartbreaking overtime loss at home in subzero weather to the Ravens in 2013 that we thought set the program back a decade. Those crushing defeats made this improbable victory all the sweeter. I’m sorry that thanking you at the time for those painful defeats didn’t cross my mind.
Can we please not call Peyton Manning’s dramatic ending to his Hall of Fame career a Cinderella story? The princess theme is not fitting for an NFL player who will now and forever be paying off a stack of IOUs for chronic pain he started writing playing pee-wee football. It is actually the dumbest cliche in sports, and that’s saying a lot.
Speaking of our beloved QB, it’s nice to see that he’s human, after all. I’m not talking about his below-average stats for the big game, throughout the playoffs and for most of the season, for that matter. You have to be a freak of nature to even be way below average in the NFL. What we learned that makes him mortal is that he kisses his wife and hugs his children after a hard day of work and takes the edge off with a couple Budweisers.
Being an underdog is a great thing. It takes some pressure off. Being a loud mouth is a terrible mistake. It piles the pressure on. Von Miller and Cam Newton are big, strong and immensely gifted athletes. Miller was fast and loose in the national spotlight. Newton looked slow and tight. In victory, Miller was gracious and gave credit to his teammates. In defeat, Newton was insolent and took little responsibility. They talk about maturity in sports. We saw the difference it makes.
There’s continual chatter in Aspen about “local” this and “local” that, but I’m just going to say this straight up: If the Broncos are not your team, you are not a local. I don’t care how long you’ve lived here. They say that home is where the heart is. If your heart is with the Patriots, you are a Bostonian. If you root for the Chiefs, they are your home team. Not that there’s anything wrong with not being a true local.
My youngest daughter is an astute observer. At the Pittsburgh playoff game she duly noted the ebb and flow of fans’ booing. At halftime, some booed the Broncos as they trotted to the locker room after a fairly fruitless offensive effort to that point.
“So, let me get this right,” she said. “They boo the Steelers when they come out at the start of the game to demoralize them and then they boo the Broncos when they are playing poorly to encourage them?”
It makes no sense, and if you boo the Broncos you are not part of this Super Bowl victory. Does the Bronco defense stand on the sideline and boo the offense when it’s on the field? When you boo the home team, you become only an observer at that point. You know when Demarcus Ware holds up the Lombardi Trophy and emphatically proclaims, “This is for our fans; the greatest in the world”? Well, he’s not talking about you.
A cool thing about big-time sports is that we, the fans, are an integrally necessary part. I’m not only talking about the thunderously disruptive noise we make at the stadium when the other team has the ball, either. We have far bigger impacts on the game than that. Without the fans there is no money, there are no star athletes, there is no fame or glory for anyone. Without the fans, what the players are doing is called screwing around in the park on Sunday afternoon with their buddies. It is the symbiotic relationship of fans, athletes, coaches, front-office suits, cheerleaders, the band, the media, etc., that allows us all to be a part of the teams we support.
Death may come to all of us before we get another Super Bowl victory; just ask the spirit of any of the many Detroit Lions fans who have expired during the team’s 57-year championship drought. Don’t be afraid to enjoy this one!
Roger Marolt solidified his devotion to the Broncos during their first winning season in 1973. The joy and agony has been nearly insufferable since. Email him at email@example.com
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