Welcome to the first of a series of posts on my friends’ favourite teams. Most of my friends don’t share my penchant for masochism–I’m a Bills fan— and thusly have chosen their favourite teams far more wisely. As a celebration of their superior vintage, I bring to you their thoughts on their favourite teams upcoming seasons.
To begin, Brandon Forsyth, Broncos fan.
When did you first realize you were a Broncos fan?
I first realized I was a Broncos fan in 2005. Much like my personal relationships, it was a fandom in fits and starts; cautious-yet-reckless-headlong steps forward followed by months of undetectable, aloof interest. Choosing a team, as we all know, is no easy matter. None of us want our hearts crushed (I give you the Bills), (Ed. Note: NOT COOL BRO!) and I wanted to be sure.
My affinity for the Broncs goes back to Madden 2001, my first-ever computer game, given to me by my childhood best friend.
They were, believe it or not, the most balanced team in Madden that year, with a sub-par offense (even with Brian Griese at QB!), but a strong defense. I played as the Broncos for whatever stretch of time the video game was able to entertain the 14 year-old me’s thirst for entertainment, and then dropped them like an attempted completion to Ronnie Hillman in favour of either girls or Star Wars trivia (I’ll let you guess which one was more accessible).
I played football in high school, but it was not until 2004, when I was having Christmas dinner with my family, that I realized that football had sunk its hooks into me (much like some high school opponents who put fish lures under their uniforms!) Try as I might to pay attention to my aunts and uncles around the table, my eyes kept being drawn to the TV screen, where my old friends the Broncos were getting crushed by the Kansas City Chiefs, to the eventual tune of 45-17. I’m not sure where the connection originated; whether it was the dynamic Bronco logo, with its orange-and-blue colour scheme (the same as my high school team); some Canadian inferiority complex writ out large amongst the American dream playing out in front of me, forcing me to sympathize with a team down 30 points; or if I just thought I could have done a better job with Brian Griese and my Madden 2001 team. But from that moment on, I was hooked.
Plus, you’ve got to love a team whose quarterback was nicknamed Jake the Snake.
(Ed. Note: I’m impressed his fandom didn’t start during the back to back Super Bowls.)
What’s your ace in the hole that proves your fandom?
I’ve got the ticket and program from the one game I attended at Mile High Stadium, on October 12, 2010. That’s my ace in hole. My parents bought me a ticket for a graduation present, and it was one of the best presents I’ve ever received. My dad and I caught a flight down to Denver for Thanksgiving weekend, and took in some of the amazing beauty of that town. The Broncos played the Giants, and it was a blowout victory. I remember looking at the scoreboard at one point and realizing we had more points than the Giants had offensive yards. It was a pretty great feeling, and nothing can really prepare you for 60,000 fans literally moving a stadium by stomping on the bleachers.
It’s either that or the pylon-orange hoodie I bought on that trip, which makes me bear a startling resemblance to a traffic cone.
Kyle Orton or Tim Tebow?
Kyle Orton, for purely religious reasons. I will say that the Tebow era -it was an era, right? – evoked some of the most visceral reactions I’ve ever had watching anything, and I’ve seen 2 Girls 1 Cup. It was a wild ride, but one I’m glad is over.
Describe to me your thought process from the time Tim Tebow took over for Orton, won a playoff game, to the point where the Broncos signed Peyton Manning.
My thought process was kind of akin to the Jewish Diaspora, or the voyages of the crew of the Battlestar Galactica, if that makes more sense to you.
You could see it was just a matter of time before Tebow came in / Pharoah exiled us / the Cylons attacked. When it happened, the wise ones among us nodded their heads and adapted. We got used to winning in staggeringly unlikely ways in the last minute of the fourth quarter for four straight weeks / wandering in the desert for 40 years / drifting aimlessly through space trying to escape the killer robots. There were some who even dared to dream of better days ahead, ones where we could reach the playoffs, or even a Super Bowl / the Promised Land / Earth. When Tebow threw that 80 yard slant to Demaryius Thomas for a TD against Pittsburgh in the AFC Divisional Round, I actually believed I had witnessed a miracle. I believed that any given Sunday, anything can happen / Moses went up onto a mountain where God promised him a land of milk and honey / that Commander Adama knew where Earth was.
And when we rolled into New England the next week, there was a part of me that thought, sure, I’ve been traveling in a desert, eating unleavened bread in a spaceship that regularly breaks down, but maybe there is a way we can make it to the Super Bowl. And I was wrong. And Moses died. And Earth was a charred hulk of a planet. But in a way, we were right. Because Israel and Earth II and Peyton Manning.
I kid. A little.
Leading question/conspiracy time: do you think the Von Miller suspension is a desperate ploy by the league to weaken the Broncos in the wake of all the roster turmoil the Patriots experienced this season?
In a word, no. God knows we’ve seen that the NFL is a coven of conspirators in so many ways, but I think Von Miller is a 24 year-old guy who likes to get high and doesn’t really think too much about the consequences of his actions. We can, and probably should, have a discussion about whether his actions deserve the punishment he received, but it’s not exactly a secret that the NFL has several draconian policies about what consenting adults can put into their own bodies, and no one, to my knowledge, is claiming that Mr. Miller was unaware of those policies. In fact, it seems like he was all-too aware of them. Mr. Miller is a spectacular player, and I cannot wait to see him back in game 7, when we’ll still have plenty of time to make up ground in the playoff race. That’s when the NFL can explain to us whatever new Tuck Rule clone they can think of.
If Dallas had any brains at all, they’d just call themselves the Americans and never lose another game.
If you could have one rival NFL player disappear, Jimmy Hoffa-style, who would it be?
Ooh, that is a good question. Odin Lloyd? My serious answer is Darren McFadden – I know some people are calling him Walk DMC this year, and as much as I hope that the nickname fits him like Brandon ‘In Poor Taste’ Forsyth, I am sure he will go off for 3 TDs and 200 yards every time he plays us. He is a Bronco killer and we never seem to have a good answer to Oakland’s run scheme. Don’t take my word for it – look at this.
Any self-respecting fan (excluding Patriots fans since they have no self-respect) usually feels nervous about their team, regardless of how good they are. What makes you nervous as a Broncos fan?
In a word, everything. The RB situation is particularly bad, though, as we have our choice between a guy who can’t pass protect, a guy who fumbles a heck of a lot, and Knowshon Moreno. Coupled with the injuries to our offensive line, running the ball may prove particularly difficult in the early going. This has traditionally been a strong suit for John Fox offenses, so we’ll see if he can figure out something and set up Peyton’s play-action game. I’ll be happy if I see less than 8 guys dropping into coverage on every third down we have.
What about the opposite? What makes you irrationally optimistic about the coming season?
Irrationally optimistic? Peyton Manning and Wes Welker are playing on the same offense. I don’t know how that could make anyone ‘irrationally’ optimistic. These are two of the smartest veterans in the game, and after Peyton showed what was possible last season with a bunch of admittedly second-tier guys, I’m looking forward to the blown coverages, defensive head-scratching and double-digit leads we jump out to in at least 5 games (remember we get to play San Diego twice).
What’s your prediction for the Broncos’ season?
11-5, a first-round bye, a rematch of the Baltimore-Denver AFC Championship Game from last year…and that’s where I stop making predictions. But what are the chances Rahim Moore makes the same stupid play twice?
(Ed. Note: Knock on Danny Woodhead.)