NFL / superbowl
A sports fans passion: How I became hooked on the NFL and a life-long BRONCO fan.
Can you remember that moment? That moment when you became a fan? That moment when you saw something that captivated you so much that you were hooked right away. That moment happened to me on Sunday, January 11, 1987. I had just gotten my first Television for my bedroom. It was a Christmas present hand me down from my parents. I had just gotten it set up in my room and the cable was hooked up on January 10th. The following day is when I watched the first football game I ever witnessed. It was at that moment that I became a die-hard fan of the NFL and the game of football. The game was the 1986 AFC Championship game between the Cleveland Browns and the Denver Broncos. John Elway, the Broncos quarterback, led his team to an epic come from behind victory. He led his team on a miraculous 98-yard drive in the final minutes to tie the game and then stole a victory from the jaws of defeat in overtime. This comeback would go down in history as “The Drive” and it would also be the beginning of my love of the Denver Broncos and football. "The Drive"- The moment I was hooked! That was it!!! There was no turning back for me. At that time, I had no idea what the future had in store for the Broncos but I knew that I would always be a fan. My new motto was "You go your way, I'll go ELWAY!" As it turned out, the Broncos would prove to be a thorn in the side of the Browns for the next several years defeating them in three AFC championship games. I honestly see this as the turning point in the Browns fortunes and the ultimate spiral into NFL purgatory. Can you believe he almost played baseball instead? [Source]What got me thinking about this moment was when I was asked recently, how someone from Halifax, Nova Scotia became a Denver Broncos fan. Living in the Maritimes when I was a kid meant that we were restricted to market games. That meant that most of the games that were televised in our area were of teams that resided fairly close. This meant that we were subjected to endless Patriot and Bills games. Almost too much to bear, to be honest. I have often wondered if my first NFL experience was a Patriots game if I would be like so many others from back home who love them. Then I realized that if I had watched the Patriots play during those years, I might have been turned off on football altogether. Thankfully, my first game was that special moment in NFL history that was the first step to John Elway being coined "The Comeback Kid." I fell in love with his toughness and his never say die attitude. He was a quarterback that took control and had a bullet arm to back him up. I became enamoured with the team and its history. When I learned about the dominating defence of the 70's and found out that they had been nicknamed "Orange Crush", I knew that I had found the perfect team to cheer for. The 1977 defence that prompted the "Orange Crush" nickname [Source]The nickname still rang true for me in the 80's as I started watching one of the most devastating players ever. Steve Atwater was an absolute beast on the field and hit like a mack truck. He was known for having no fear. To this day I can still remember the time that he put 260 lb Christian Okoye "The Nigerian Nightmare" on his ass. Something that never happened. Okoye would never quite recover from that hit. I consider myself lucky to have found the Denver Broncos when I did. Well, maybe I should say lucky and unlucky. Under the leadership of John Elway, the team was becoming a dominant force in the NFL and went to three consecutive Super Bowls. Unfortunately, the Broncos would go on to lose all three of those Super Bowls in embarrassing fashion. Not only did they lose to the Giants, Redskins and 49'ers but they lost convincingly. It was all capped off with a 55-10 drubbing by Montana and the 49'ers. Thank god the Bills would lose 4 in a row and make Denver's failures less of a story. Standing tall in the face of defeat [Source]My support for the team never wavered and I always knew that Elway would lead the team to a Super Bowl eventually. This dream came true in the twilight of Elway's career. By this time the Broncos had assembled one of the most potent offences in the league. They seemed to be stacked at every position. The NFL's leading rusher Terrell Davis took so much pressure off the passing game. Shannon Sharp was an elite tight end in the league and receivers Rod Smith and Ed McCaffery were top tier players as well. With a solid as ever defence and all these weapons at his disposal, Elway was poised to erase the failures of the past and bring a championship home to the Mile High city. Finally, in 1997 the Broncos achieved the ultimate pinnacle of NFL football and won their first Super Bowl, defeating Brett Farve and the Green Packers. Elway proved to be the tough leader he had always been and sacrificed his body to help his team win. They would go on to win back to back championships by downing the Atlanta Falcons the following year. John Elway would do what few athletes get the opportunity to do. Go out on top. He would retire a champion after beating the Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII. The Elway legacy has continued long after his retirement. He has continued to lead the Broncos as the President and General Manager. He masterfully assembled another championship team in 2015 under the leadership of Hall of Fame QB Peyton Manning. [Source]There will always be ups and downs for every team and the true testament of a fan is your loyalty through the lean times. Through the good, bad and the ugly, my heart beats orange throughout my veins. I am and will always be a Broncos fan through and through. All because I happened to turn my TV on at the right time and watched one of the greatest football moments in history. Thank god the Browns didn't win that game! GO BRONCOS FOR LIFE!!!!!