In two days, the NFL will release the 2013 regular season schedule – let the offseason planning begin! Being an out-of-state Denver Bronco season ticket holder, this is one of the most important offseason milestones for me, because it allows me to start planning my fall & winter trips to Colorado! Obviously, this planning is only for home Bronco games…. but what if money and time were no object, and I could attend any and all Bronco games – whether at Denver, or on the road? Continue reading for my prioritization of 2013 Bronco road trips worth attending!
1. New England Patriots: Any professional football fan would obviously love to attend this game to see another head-to-head battle between future Hall of Fame quarterbacks, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Manning and Brady aren’t going to play forever, so you never know if this opportunity will exist again. This game gets the number one spot, because regardless of how you feel about the Patriots, the organization has been successful in recent years, and has set the bar very high for the other 31 teams in the league. What a road trip it would be if you could watch the Broncos roll into Foxborough, a place that hasn’t been kind to the orange and blue in the last couple of years, and snatch a victory from the dark side!
2. New York Giants: Older brother Peyton against younger brother Eli Manning – this game may redefine sibling rivalry! In addition to the “battle of the brothers,” who wouldn’t want to spend a weekend in New York City?
3. Indianapolis Colts: Compared to Denver and other cities the Broncos will visit in 2013, Indianapolis is just ok; but, this game rates third on my list because it is a reunion of a quarterback and a city that are both better known because of each other. Take away #18, or the city of Indianapolis, and the league would probably be very different today! I would assume Manning will get a warm welcome when the Broncos are announced, but once the game clock starts, the faithful Colt fans will stand behind their team and sophomore quarterback, Andrew Luck.
4. Dallas Cowboys: I struggled with rating this game in the top half of my list, but ultimately the Cowboys’ home stadium tipped the scale and secured the fourth spot in my ratings. I’ve not seen a game in Cowboys Stadium, but I have toured it, and it is quite impressive. The Cowboys still claim to be “America’s Team,” so a road trip would be fun in an attempt to rebuke this self-given title.
5. Houston Texans: Call me crazy, but when I see the Texans on television, it reminds me a lot of where the Broncos used to be. Perhaps, this is due to Gary Kubiak and his past ties to the Broncos, both as a player and coach. The Texans are considered one of the top teams in the AFC, so I would expect a pretty fierce battle when the Broncos travel to Houston. This trip would also serve as payback considering Houston came to Denver in 2012 and left with a victory.
6. San Diego Chargers: San Diego is the first AFC West team to make my list and also starts the bottom third of my ratings. Perhaps this is due to the fact that I will have an opportunity to see all the AFC West teams in Denver; any game in Denver, in my opinion, is head and shoulders above ANY Bronco road trip. The San Diego game comes in as the highest rated divisional opponent primarily because of weather or geographical location. Given that the probability of this game being played after October is high, the weather in southern California will likely be more comfortable than Wichita, Kansas (home for now); a road trip that offers 70 degrees and sunshine would be welcomed! On the football side, you know Charger fans will be ready for this game given the way the Broncos won here in 2012 – a memorable 35-24 Monday night come-from-behind victory!
7. Oakland Raiders: I have heard nothing good from Bronco fans (or any team’s fans for that matter) who have attended Raiders games in Oakland. If it weren’t for where I live today (see my number eight rating), this game would easily rate last on my list. All that being said, this is still a fierce rivalry; a small part of me would love to experience it in person, but not so much that I’ve added it to my bucket list.
8. Kansas City Chiefs: I’ve said it many times, and I will say it again – I have made enough road trips to Arrowhead Stadium to last a lifetime. Generally, when Bronco fans attend a Bronco/Chief game at Arrowhead, it is not a pleasant experience. Chief fans are passionate and many are respectful, but you will encounter many Kansas City fans that despise anyone in orange-and-blue and take it far past the fun stage. Bronco fans, please take this to heart from a fan who has visited Arrowhead many times, when you see visiting fans in Denver, please be respectful and say nothing if you can’t keep it light-hearted, safe, and fun. Finally, Arrowhead brings up the rear on my list only because of my Kansas City Chief saturation due to the location of my job and home – the middle of Chiefs’ country. Like any team, the Chiefs probably have die-hard fans who appreciate the difficulty of professional football, but the fair-weather fans exist, as well, and seem to be the most vocal and hardest to deal with or accept. In my area, I know the Chiefs will be on television whenever they play, which is acceptable two out of the seventeen weeks – the two weeks they play the Broncos. Since I know when the Broncos visit Kansas City the game will be broadcast on TV, I will most definitely choose to watch this one at home instead of in person.
That completes my list for the 2013 road trips, and how I would prioritize them. Of course, once the NFL determines specific dates, I may have to reevaluate some of my ratings due to weather; all of them except number eight – Kansas City will always be last!