Jan 19, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; The Denver Broncos cheerleaders make angels in the confetti after the 2013 AFC championship playoff football game against the New England Patriots at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Denver Broncos: The Real 'America's Team'

On the weekend celebrating America’s birthday, I wanted to honor the team that has become the new “America’s Team”; the Denver Broncos.

Since the 1970s, the Dallas Cowboys have been known as “America’s Team”. It is a moniker that has honored one of the NFL’s premier franchises. Well, what used to be a premier franchise, anyway. In a poll conducted a few months ago by Public Policy Polling, the data showed that the Cowboys are actually considered by a majority of the nation, America’s “Least Favorite Team”. This very same poll concluded that in fact, the Denver Broncos now own that prestigious title.

“In fact the designation the Cowboys do win out for is America’s least favorite team. 23% say the Cowboys are their least favorite team with no one else coming particularly close.”

Since the renaissance of Peyton Manning, the Denver Broncos have captured our nation’s heart. Manning has always been loved by the public at large. He’s well spoken. He’s classy. He’s funny, when he wants to be. And he takes winning very seriously. His Louisiana southern accent doesn’t hurt either. Ah, shux.

And in all seriousness, what’s more American than a Bronco? In fact, I was at a rodeo yesterday, just like thousands of others all across the fruited plain, as we collectively celebrated Independence Day. As I watched the rodeo from the bleachers, I saw the valiant participants, as they rode a bucking Bronco, holding on for dear life. The crowd cheered. And afterwards, we all beheld a fantastic fireworks show to top off the night. A rodeo. One of the great American spectacles. And what was the featured animal? A Bronco.

If you take a future Hall of Fame quarterback, namely, Peyton Manning, and combine that with a great American symbol, a Bronco, you’re halfway through the equation that ultimately sums up the new “America’s Team”.

The other factors…..

The NFL franchise that is the Denver Broncos. Also one of the league’s classiest, premier clubs. A team with a prestigious history and a winning culture. Americans love winning. In any facet of life, other than World Cup and the Vietnam War, America always wins. And the citizens of our country have come to expect to win.

Since Manning joined the Broncos, the team has gone 26-6 in the regular season. That’s a remarkable string of success. And in the NFL, an acronym that stands for “Not For Long”, it isn’t easy to sustain that level success.

Now we’re coming to understand the motivating factors that resulted in a majority of Americans calling the Broncos “America’s Team”. As the Public Policy Polling piece points out, this designation comes with no small measure of bandwagonism. And that’s okay.

Most of you reading this column have been fans of the Denver Broncos for years. Most of you for life. At the very least, you’ve been fans long before Manning came to Denver.

We suffered through the twilight of Mike Shanahan’s run as Head Coach and the McDaniels Depredations. We suffered through watching our Pro Bowl veteran QB, Jake Plummer, get benched in the middle of a season. A season that had the Broncos at 7-5 and atop the AFC West. That fateful decision to bench Plummer resulted in the Broncos not only losing the division, but missing out on the playoffs too.

We suffered through the loss of the leader of our defense: Al “Smoke Dog” Wilson. We suffered through the tragic loss of Darrent Williams. And after coming to love our usurping young  franchise QB, Jay Cutler, we had to watch the dictatorial Josh McDaniels trade him away to Chicago.

We lived through the ups and downs of the Orton/Tebow showdown. But we finally started to see some light at the end of the tunnel in 2011. The Tebow season. A 6-game winning streak that saw the Broncos miraculously pull off victories that defied all logic and explanation.

And we were ultimately rewarded for our long-suffering patience when the Duke of Denver, John Elway, managed to persuade Peyton Manning to come to Denver and don our beloved Orange and Blue.

The last two years have been a blur. I try to savor each and every game. I try not to take winning for granted. The loss we suffered on February 2nd, 2014 has helped to mitigate that urge. We all know that the duration of Manning’s career is finite. But I feel confident in believing that for the next 3 years, we’re going to be in the Super Bowl hunt. Why?

Because this team is built to win it all. It’s not all about Peyton Manning. They say that there are several cornerstones that make up a Super Bowl-caliber roster. First and foremost, the QB. Check. Then, you got to have a franchise left tackle. Ryan Clady. Check. Then you got to have a premier edge rusher. We have two. Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware. Check. Then, a true shutdown corner. Aqib Talib. Check. You also have to have stars at the skill positions. Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Julius Thomas and Montee Ball, please stand up.

We can confidently check off each of those cornerstones. But what really takes us above and beyond the pail is the DEPTH of our roster. From Derek Wolfe, to Malik Jackson. From Danny Trevathan to Lamin Barrow. From T.J. Ward to Quinton Carter. You can go through the roster and marvel at the quality of depth that Johns Elway and Fox have put together for the Broncos.

We suffered a brutal, humiliating loss in the Super Bowl. But we’ve been there before. And like the days of yore, I fully believe that we will rise above it and overcome the odds to win another Lombardi Trophy.

We only have a few weeks left until the 2014 season gets under way in earnest. And even though we lost the Super Bowl, we’re still the new “America’s Team”. But at the end of the day and despite this corny discourse of mine, that’s all fluff. It’s all window dressing. Pomp and circumstance. As a fan, it’s cool to know that a majority of Americans call the Denver Broncos their favorite team.  But what will in fact cement the Broncos as “America’s Team”, not just in name, but in deed, is a World Championship.

Fortunately for Broncos Country, we have guys named John Elway and Peyton Manning and DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller, all waking up in the morning, each and every day, with the sole purpose of doing whatever it takes to climb the mountain. Only time will tell if we ultimately achieve it.

In the meantime, Predominantly Orange wishes you an awesome Independence Day weekend.

Go Broncos!


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  • truthbetold

    GO BRONCOS!!!!!

    • Chad Jensen

      Go Broncos!

  • mike scarpino

    You are dilusional with this article , and im not even a cowboys fan. . The broncos , you better go back and do some more homework. You do realize the cowboys had 20 consecutive winning seasons more than anybody else ever . The broncos have never had that kiinda run . People hate the cowboys because they were a successful team for many years . I wonder during this poll if they left the state of colorado .

    • Chad Jensen

      As the Dude would say, well, that’s like your opinion, man. Thanks for reading. The data is the data. Did I exercise some measure of hyperbole? Probably. But read the piece where the polling data is compiled. Mayhaps it’ll alter your point of view.

    • anon76returns

      In the last 41 seasons, the Broncos have had 7 losing seasons, the Cowboys have had 12. 20 winning seasons was quite a run, but that ended over 30 years ago.
      Like Landry, I don’t want my team to be named “America’s Team”, because it smacks of arrogance. But this isn’t about what the Broncos call themselves, this is the result of a nationwide poll by one of the most accurate polling groups in the business.

      • Chad Jensen

        Boom. That just happened.

    • Jacob Barefoot

      Yea they’re in their own little world up there. They get payton manning and put up a decent season and think they rule the world. They need to remove their heads from each others rear ends, and come back to earth.

      • Chad Jensen

        May I ask how you quantify a “decent” season? Just curious. I’m guessing you’re either a fan of a competing AFCwest team, or a Pats fan. I think there was a time when the Pats were America’s Team but that was about 10 years ago.

        • Jacob Barefoot

          Pats fan baby. ‘Boom’.

          • Chad Jensen

            That’s what I figured. Cool. See you then.

        • Jacob Barefoot

          Yea 10 years and we’re still running strong. Welcome to the top denver, must be exciting for you. See ya’s in the champ game again.

          • Broncosnative

            We’ve never been on the bottom dummy, elway has never lost to the patriots. Only reason why the patriots win their division every year because there’s no real competition in the AFC east and this season won’t be any different. The other three teams starting QBs are only entering their 2nd and 3rd seasons, they’re not good enough to compete with the Brady bunch

      • Broncosnative

        I have another stat for you little foot, since the AFL/NFL merger in 1970, the broncos rank 4th overall and the pats rank 9th behind the raiders. If you really want to go deep, after this season the broncos will be ranked in the top 10 all time assuming we win 4 more games than the raiders next season

    • truthbetold

      Lol 20 consecutive winning seasons? Why are cowboys fans always stuck in the past? In this day and age, the cowboys are a joke. And their fans are the punchline. Period.

      • Chad Jensen


        • truthbetold

          Harsh yes, but it’s the truth.

  • Jacob Barefoot

    Haha this is what they do up in denver? Pump themselves up with this crap to make them feel good because they know in the back of their heads that after the shamefull performance shown in the SB, they’re on the way down. You guys keep telling yourselves that if it makes you feel good. This is pathetic.

    • Chad Jensen

      You mad, Bro?

    • truthbetold

      The only thing pathetic is your whining bro. Who’s your team?

      • Jacob Barefoot

        You know who my team is lol ;)

    • Broncosnative

      So with your logic Jacob, I should stop rooting for my team or having faith in them because of a bad SB performance? I’ve been a broncos fan for 23 years and I’m not gonna turn my back on them after one game. Did you stop rooting for your pats after losing to the broncos in the championship round? Did you lose faith in them after going 18-0 before losing the one big game that counts? Stop sounding ignorant on here, that’s what fans do, root for their teams to succeed but still support them when the fall. You’re just a ban wagoner with this dumb comment, a real fan of any team don’t make comments like this

      • Jacob Barefoot

        ‘Dummy’. ‘Little foot’. Maybe if you guys weren’t so rude to people, you’d garner a little more respect. Jeeze even us pats fans don’t respond to opposing comments like this. Just proves everything iv’e said about the broncs and their fans, right. Haha denver is great but do they deserve this title? I dont think so, Broncosnative.

        • Chad Jensen

          “They need to remove their heads from each others rear ends, and come back to earth.” Dude, come on. You threw the first stone. Then you’re gonna complain that someone hurled one back? Get real. And thanks for reading.

  • Wyatt Holland

    Not sure why so many NFL fans don’t understand what a nickname is.

    1-It’s not something you give to yourself. The Cowboys were given that nickname by NFL Films.

    2-Other teams don’t get to lay claim to it. The Lakers will always have “Showtime”, the Steelers will always have “The Steel Curtain”. It doesn’t matter how bad those teams get.

    Seems like every year, some other team will claim they are “America’s Team”….no…that’s always going to be the Cowboys. Try it yourself…go into a sports bar and start a conversation about “America’s Team” without mentioning the team and everyone will know exactly who you are talking about.