If you’re even remotely aware of the National Football League, you definitely know the Denver Broncos have a must-win game this week when the Kansas City Chiefs visit Denver to close out the 2011 season. If the Broncos win, they are in the playoffs; if they lose, the Broncos will need help from the San Diego Chargers (Oakland plays at San Diego in Week 17) in order for their season to continue.
All that being said, there is another reason this is a must-win game for the Denver Broncos. Unfortunately, I’m no longer a Colorado resident, and I find myself smack-dab in the middle of Chiefs country. That is not a good thing at any given time, especially when the upcoming game carries so much significance… not only for the team and Bronco Nation, but especially for us Broncomaniacs who find ourselves around so many Chief fans.
Before continuing, I will say there are probably die-hard Chief fans that have stuck with their team through thick and thin. For those fans, there is a small part of me (a very, very small part) that hopes they will one day, experience what it is like for their team to win a Super Bowl (preferably, not in my lifetime). Many Chief fans I encounter, however, are fair-weather fans and decide to be a big fan when Kansas City is winning, playing well, or, like this week, have the opportunity to spoil the Broncos’ season. That is understandable; the last time Kansas City won a Super Bowl was 1969. Even though the Chiefs made consistent playoff appearances in the mid-90′s, they were never able to advance to the Super Bowl, causing much frustration and disappointment for stable, die-hard fans. No pun intended, but I don’t want to sling only red-and-yellow arrows, because I am sure there are Bronco fans that are very similar, if not identical, to the Chief fans noted above. This game is not a must win for this type of fan – they will move on right after this game is over, despite the outcome. One reason this is a must-win game is for all the Bronco fans in Chiefs country who live and breath the Denver Broncos! They know who they are. Chances are, if you’re reading this article, you are one of those fans, or you know a Bronco fan like that.
Not only is a playoff spot on the line for the Broncos when they face the Chiefs, this game also carries bragging rights for Bronco fans everywhere; especially those fans who interact with the “enemy” on a daily basis. Heaven forbid the Broncos lose, we will not be able to use the argument that we split the series because this loss may very well end our season. If that happens, Bronco fans who live in this region will have to deal with this loss for the next nine months. Only the start of the 2012 season will allow the scars to truly go away.
As the sun sets on the first day of 2012, all the questions will be answered regarding the NFL playoffs. At this time, it will also be known which fans will be sitting proud – Bronco fans because the season continues, or Chief fans because, although the 2011 season has ended for Kansas City, their team also ended the hope of all Bronco fans everywhere.
It is simple for the Bronco organization: win and you’re in.
It is simple for Bronco fans who live within a four hour radius of Kansas City, Missouri: Broncos win, relish this moment and get ready for a playoff game; Broncos lose, find it within yourself to cheer for Philip Rivers and the Chargers to help our team and never, ever forget that the Broncos have two Lombardi Trophies, while Kansas City only has one. Whatever the outcome, we die-hard Bronco fans will stick with our team because our passion is a part of us, it is not something we sometimes have from September through December each football season.
Good luck Broncos! Good luck Chargers!