Oct 12, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; A fan of the Denver Broncos reacts during the fourth quarter against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
The Denver Broncos are the new “America’s Team.”
At least according to a new Harris Poll released on Tuesday (Oct. 14).
Anything that keeps the Dallas Cowboys from that nickname should be rooted for by everyone. Bert Sugar, a boxing writer and sports historian, couldn’t have said it any better in the title of his book, “I Hate the Dallas Cowboys: And Who Elected Them America’s Team Anyway?”
Of course the Broncos are America’s Team. Broncos “Country” knows no limits.
In all seriousness, the fact the Broncos are even considered in this poll is unreal to think about.
In the late 1960s there was talk that Denver would lose its AFL franchise.
According to the Broncos’ website, “In 1967, the Denver Broncos faced a crisis when voters declined a bond issue to construct a new stadium. But local fans came to the rescue, forming a nonprofit group called the ‘DOERS’ and raising $1.8 million to purchase Bears Stadium from its private owners and present the deed to the city. The following year, the addition of an upper deck increased capacity to 50,000, and the facility was re-named Denver Mile High Stadium. In 1971, voters approved a $25 million bond issue to expand the stadium to more than 75,000 seats.”
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Now the Broncos are considered the most popular team in America? Simply stated: Wow.
Regardless of how people feel about this moniker, and some hate it, it’s pretty cool. With success comes the bandwagon fans. It’s inevitable. Look at the Los Angeles Lakers. The Boston Celtics. The New York Yankees. The Cowboys. The Pittsburgh Steelers.
The addition of Peyton Manning three years ago was the start of Denver’s bandwagon getting a little crowded. But when a team wins and wins consistently is when it really fills up. And let’s be honest: It’s easy to root for the Broncos.
Over the last 30 years under Pat Bowlen’s ownership, Denver has more Super Bowl appearances (six) than losing seasons (five).
As it says on the Broncos’ website, “Denver is the only team to post at least 90 wins in each of the last three decades, and the franchise’s 307 overall victories under Mr. Bowlen (1984-pres.) rank third in the NFL (2nd in the AFC) during that span. In addition, the Broncos’ 302 national television appearances under Mr. Bowlen are the most in the league. That total includes a league-high 171 prime-time games, as well as 127 appearances as part of network doubleheaders. Both will see their numbers increase the rest of the season.
“Mr. Bowlen’s six Super Bowl appearances, including back-to-back World Championships following the 1997-98 seasons, are tied for the most by an owner in NFL history. Denver’s 11 division titles since 1984 are more than all but three NFL clubs, and its 25 seasons with a .500 or better record during that span are easily the most in the league.”
Add to that the players who have donned the orange and blue, and no wonder America has fallen in love with the Broncos. And it’s all possible because of the best owner in all of professional sports, Mr. B.
With that success comes those who hate the franchise. See the teams listed above.
My advice: Embrace the trolls. If there are a few bandwagon fans rooting on the Broncos, who cares? It doesn’t challenge your fandom. It doesn’t make you any less of a fan.
If someone calls you a bandwagon fan, laugh it off and ignore them. Silence is more powerful, and eventually the bandwagon fans get exposed. Like when they say “Nation.” When and if the team has a drop off, they will go away and hop on the next bandwagon.
Embrace the success.
Embrace the popularity.
Then think about what could have been in 1967 when the Broncos could have left Denver.
I would take the nickname “America’s Team” over not having one at all.
Jan 12, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos fans react during the 2013 AFC divisional playoff football game against the San Diego Chargers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports