Anthony Pomper has been waiting for this moment for a long time.
“I’m 20,” Pomper said. “I don’t remember the first two Super Bowls. This is a really cool moment.”
The streets of downtown Denver were packed ten or fifteen deep Tuesday afternoon as the world champion Denver Broncos celebrated their Super Bowl 50 victory with over one million of their closest friends.
Broncos players, staff, and family members climbed aboard floats and fire trucks to be carried from Denver’s world famous Union Station, past the 16th Street Mall, all the way to Denver’s City and County Building for a championship rally in front of the hordes of orange clad fans that had turned out to celebrate.
Annabelle Bowlen, wife of ailing Broncos owner Pat Bowlen, led the parade atop a fire truck hoisting the Lombardi Trophy high above her head. Mosley Manning, quarterback Peyton Manning’s four-year-old daughter, stole the show practicing her best princess wave sitting next to Mrs. Bowlen and Super Bowl MVP Von Miller, while her dad kept a careful eye on her from farther back on the truck.
Once the parade made its way to Civic Center Park, Miller, Manning, defensive end DeMarcus Ware, General Manager John Elway, and head coach Gary Kubiak addressed the sea of orange jerseys gathered to celebrate the city’s first major professional sports championship in 15 years.
Von Miller, who led his team through the postseason with two of the best individual defensive performances in playoff history, told the crowd that he knew they would be in this position.
“Both weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, we had great energy,” Miller said. “We came into the game with confidence and energy and came out with the win.”
DeMarcus Ware, fresh off an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” last night, spoke to the crowd about how special it was for him to finally win a World Championship after a storied 11-year NFL career.
“I think when you look back at all the years, and all the accolades that you can get as a football player, this right here symbolizes what team really means,” Ware said. “There’s no place like Broncos Country. This right here is awesome.”
Some may have expected five-time MVP Peyton Manning, who is currently contemplating retirement, to make an announcement about his future. He did not. Instead, Manning spent time thanking the Broncos fans that welcomed him with open arms four years ago.
“We’ve got the greatest fans,” Manning said. “These fans have been great all season long for us in a big way.”
While there was certainly jubilation and celebration at the rally Tuesday afternoon, there was one touching moment as well when Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper declared February 9th to be “Pat Bowlen Day” in the State of Colorado.
“Pat Bowlen has been a pillar in the City and County of Denver and State of Colorado for more than 30 years as the proud owner of the Denver Broncos, and an astute businessman,” the proclamation read. “The residents of Denver and Colorado thank Pat Bowlen and his family for everything for the city, state, and region.” Bowlen, 71, was unable to attend today’s event as he continues to battle Alzheimer’s disease.
This may have been the first championship parade in Denver in a decade and a half, but it won’t be the last if Von Miller and these Broncos have anything to do with it.
“We’ve gotta go back to back,” Miller said.
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