Denver Broncos fans have to be one considered one of the top fan bases in the league. Doubt what I’m saying? You should have seen the number of fans who stayed through a torrential downpour Saturday night to watch the third string teams duke it out to break a tied preseason ballgame with 3:30 remaining. A jog to the stadium parking lot easily could have been justified.
New Bronco and longtime former San Diego Charger Shaun Phillips was impressed.
“Telling the honest truth – it’s been my favorite stadium to play in all the time,” Phillips said after the Broncos’ 27-26 win over the St. Louis Rams. “For one, I’ve always had career games here. Two – the Denver fan base. The field is always perfect. The fans are always loud.”
While Phillips has seen a lot of preseason action and even scored the team’s first preseason touchdown off a fumble recovery against the 49ers, he still doesn’t feel like he’s 100% apart of Broncos Country just yet.
“I keep telling everybody it’s not official until I get a sack and do the ‘Mile High Salute,’ and then I can really feel like I’m a part of the team and the city,” Phillips said.
Defensive tackle Mitch Unrein knows what a treat it is to play in Denver. He grew up in Eaton, CO.
“I get more nervous playing at home than I do at away games, just because of the atmosphere here,” Unrein said. “It’s just so loud, and being from Colorado (Eaton), it just makes it that much more special for me.”
From where I was seated in the press box, I could see the sky south of the stadium. Lightning bolts flashed down miles away in the first half, and appropriately, the Rocky Mountain Thunder from within the stadium drowned out the actually thunder I’m sure was there.
With a great fan base, expectations are always high. With Peyton Manning at the helm, those expectations are miles high.
The Broncos’ preseason woes should be taken with a grain of salt. If the team was at it’s peak now, then fans should be concerned.
“I’d be a little concerned if we were a finished product and a finely oiled machine in the third preseason game,” Manning said. “I want to be a well-oiled machine toward the end of the season and peak at that point.”