DENVER — As the Broncos hopped and skipped into the home opener Sunday, all that was missing was a Jodeci mixtape and heartfelt apology: This time isn't like last time! We've changed! Promise!
“This team is totally different,” Von Miller guaranteed.
The Broncos are 2-0 with the 0-2 in Jets in town. And they are begging their significant other. Are you ready to take them back?
“I’ve been in some of the best fan bases — the Chicagos, San Franciscos. I grew up in the Philadelphia area. These guys are right there with them — if not better, as fans,” coach Vic Fangio piled on. “They love the Broncos and we’ve got to give them what they’re hungry for.”
There was never a breakup between Broncos Country and the beloved. True love is forever, as Bing Crosby said, and I trust Bing. But the relationship had grown complicated and moving toward some time apart. There were 9,000 no-shows for a game against the Rams in 2018, a huge number around here. Shoot, locals were swearing John Elway's name, saying Von Miller should go. And in each of the past three seasons the Broncos were booed at Empower Field — in ‘18 vs. the Rams, ‘19 vs. the Raiders, ‘20 vs. the Chargers, others I can’t remember.
Six seasons without the playoffs, with too many quarterbacks, has a way of driving a wedge.
Colorado is so thirsty to believe the Broncos are, in fact, the old version of themselves.
“We’ve got to win at home,” Fangio said. “It’s as simple as that.”
It really is.
Gifted with road games at the bad Giants and bad-bad Jags, the Broncos could lose the rest of their road games and still finish with 11 wins. Just have to win 'em all at home. Get ’er done!
But Fangio’s not talking about win-loss records. He’s talking about winning back Broncos fans.
All that goodwill from a 2-0 start would vanish with a loss to the bad-bad-bad Jets. Every time I think the Broncos should roll past the Jets, I think back to a 2017 game against the Giants.
The Broncos were 3-1 and double-digit favorites over New York. They lost. There were boos.
These Broncos are high on life and double-digit favorites over New York. They want to be loved.
“I expect it to be crazy. I expect it to be ridiculous. I expect it to be like the glory days — 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012. I expect it to be like that,” Miller said of the Mile High crowd.
Hey, the guys who forgot to take out the trash or a wedding anniversary don’t get to make the rules. How about the Broncos go out and play like the glory years then we’ll make demands?
“We’re talking about after a whole season of no fans and the play being what it’s been the past few years,” Justin Simmons said.
When the Broncos are good, they are monsters at Mile High. Their eight Super Bowl teams went 55-8 at home. Sheesh. The real ones remember Elway’s final three teams, including a pair of champs, went 24-0 at home. Goodness. Their 21 playoff teams went 141-26 at home. 141-26!
Seriously. That’s nuts.
The Broncos should be 3-0 and win three straight for the first times since 2018. That’s nuts, too, but the love from Broncos Country has proven to be unconditional. It stayed patient through the losing 1960s and 70s, a brief Steve Beuerlein-Danny Kannell-Jarious Jackson quarterback shuffle, first-rounder Paxton Lynch, even the Josh McDaniels fallout. But the past half-decade tested even the faithful among us.
I know, because I heard from you. Often.
Sunday, the first 70,000 fans, and the folks sleeping under the Colfax viaduct, should be awarded a dozen roses and a request to dance.
Teddy Bridgewater makes his Mile High debut — as a Bronco. He played here back in the day as the Vikings quarterback, a game in which he was chased all over and sacked seven times.
“Hopefully we can make the Jets feel what I felt in 2015,” Teddy said.
You know, the glory days, when love was in the air.