Thank goodness the offseason is progressing quickly. Why? When the offseason ends, the real football season begins! The NFL Draft is just over a month away, which will be followed by the 2014 NFL schedule release. While the teams and players make the NFL, the fans, especially dedicated Denver Bronco fans, need recognition as well. For that reason, I am continuing my offseason Bronco fan profiles. The Denver Bronco fan that’s up this week – Randy Ybarra of Wichita, KS.
Of all Bronco fans outside the state of Colorado, Randy Ybarra is my favorite. Not only do both of us breathe orange and blue, we’ve both been Bronco season ticket holders for many years while living in Kansas. I knew Randy was a dedicated, die-hard Bronco fan when he was able to bring up his passion for the Denver Broncos, as well as his dislike for the Kansas City Chiefs, in a job interview – the very first time we met!
PO: How long have you been a Bronco fan?
Randy: I have been a Bronco fan since 1977. So I have been a Bronco fan for 37 years.
PO: How did you become a Bronco fan?
Randy: I was watching the AFC Championship game between the Denver Broncos and the Oakland Raiders. Watching the Broncos that day, I knew that was the team for me.
PO: Have you ever been to a Bronco game in Denver? If so, please give brief description of that experience.
Randy: My very first Bronco game was a Sunday night game in Denver. Denver and the then so called Los Angeles Raiders. That was a great experience; John Elway led one of his remarkable 4th quarter comebacks that night.
PO: Who is your favorite current Bronco player and why?
Randy: Peyton Manning is currently my favorite Bronco Player. I have to say his competitiveness and being a student of the game. I admire someone who puts his heart and soul into the game as Peyton does. (Reminds me of John Elway)
PO: Who is your favorite Bronco player from the past and why?
Randy: There is no doubt that my favorite all time Bronco player is John Elway. John put the Denver Broncos on the map, taking us to five Super Bowls and six AFC Championships.
PO: Which team do you love to see the Broncos beat the most and why?
Randy: The Team I enjoy watching Denver beat is no doubt the Kansas City Chiefs. Some of the Chiefs fans seem to have no clue and are never realistic about their team. They try and compare Kansas City to Denver and there’s nothing to compare. Yes, the Chiefs have more regular season head to head wins, but when you look at the numbers that really count, they don’t compare. We have nine AFC Championship appearances, seven AFC Championships, seven Super Bowl Appearances and two Super Bowl Titles. Kansas City has three AFC Championship appearances, two AFC Championships and one Super Bowl Title. Really?
PO: In addition to the three other teams from the AFC West, the Broncos will play Buffalo, Miami, Arizona, San Francisco, and Cincinnati at home in 2014. Which team to do think will present the biggest challenge to the Broncos?
Randy: Our home game schedule will be tough as usual. I see the San Francisco 49ers as being the biggest challenge. San Francisco has an extremely versatile quarterback and a defense as good, if not better than the Seattle Seahawks defense.
PO: Who is the Broncos biggest rivalry and why?
Randy: The Broncos biggest rivalry is the New England Patriots. The games have to be competitive to be a rivalry.
PO: What is the worst part about being a Bronco fan in the middle of Chiefs Country?
Randy: Again, refer back to my answer about the team I love to see the Broncos beat the most. People here in Wichita are not realistic about their team. Denver can beat them by twenty-four and if they beat us by one point in the same year, they say they whipped us. It’s hard coming to work on a Monday when Denver loses to Kansas City. Thankfully, it’s been a couple of years since we have had to deal with that.
PO: Describe your mood when the Broncos lose.
Randy: My mood when the Broncos lose is very somber. I know people say “it’s just a game” but as a Bronco fan it’s more than a game to us – it’s a way of life; the Broncos bring my family together every Sunday. We can be mad at each other during the week, but come Sunday that all changes when the Broncos are playing.
PO: What did you feel like after the crushing 43-8 defeat in Super Bowl XLVIII?
Randy: After the loss to Seattle in the Super Bowl, I had knots in my stomach and I kept telling myself that this could not be happening. I was crushed, especially after the way we had lost to the Baltimore Ravens the year before. I was extremely disappointed and a bit angry. It took me about a month before I could even watch NFL Network or ESPN.
PO: In 2014 the Broncos have the second toughest schedule in the league. Predict their record.
Randy: I think this Bronco team will be better this year, but their record probably will not be. I am going to predict that we finish 12-4. I think we lose one home game, maybe San Francisco; we will lose one AFC West game; we will lose at Seattle in a much closer one, and last but not least, a nail biter in New England to Tom Brady.