Simply the Best

Broncos Update columnist Sam DeWitt thinks something special is happening with the Denver Broncos this year. DeWitt reflects on past "special" seasons for the team.

What a year. We've seen ups and downs, backs and forths, tops and bottoms. We've been acclaimed, dropped out of view, and then acclaimed again. We've won big, lost big, and come close to winning (and losing) several times this year.

All in all, it's been my favorite season as a fan.

In 1997, the year of our first Super Bowl title, I was living in Missoula, Montana, a freshman at the University there. My exposure to the orange and blue was tarnished by the facts that A) we were in the Seahawks' broadcast area, and B) I was only 18, unable to legally gain entrance to The Press Box, a sports bar across the river that I later made famous by drinking my way through a UM Grizzlies basketball game while writing a column for the college paper.

Sometime in the middle of my first semester at Montana, I met a junior who had the NFL package at his house, was from Denver, rooted for the Broncos, and had access to booze. This would be a lasting friendship, as me and ol' O'Dell watched all the games from the midpoint of the season on. We watched in horror as the team dropped a Monday-nighter to San Fran, complete with Bill Romanowski spitting on JJ Stokes; we went crazy in the playoffs as the Revenge Tour rolled on, beating Jacksonville at home, then taking it to the Chiefs and Steelers on the road.

It was a good year. But not the best. I missed the parade.

The next season (that's 1998 for all you Raider fans) was made easier, as I spent every Sunday with my buddy Damon, watching the Broncos reel off 13 straight wins. Saw them drop two winnable games (the Giants game in the Meadowlands after I purchased a new Broncos hat, "just because," bringing immeasurable bad luck to my team), then was at Mile High to see Terrell Davis top 2,000 yards for the year. Saw them roll through the playoffs with nary a scratch.

I seem to remember a Super Bowl win over the Falcons too, although those details are hazy and there are a few scenes missing, probably due to the jell-o shots, beer, whiskey and pot being consumed all around me, but never by me (as far as you know).

It was a good year. But not the best. I missed the parade.

In 1986, the Broncos were led to a slaughter against the Giants in the Rose Bowl, losing 39-20. I went to the parade. We thought we'd be back, and that next year would be the year. It wasn't. Timmy Smith rained on our parade, and we lost 42-10 against the Redskins.

Those were good years. Horrible endings. But good years.

Which brings me to this year. I've been in Denver all year long. My team dug its way out of a hole, starting off 0-1 and then finishing the season 13-3. I've seen my defense rise up time and time again, a living legend in Champ Bailey represent the team with pride. He's a lyric in lycra, moving so fluidly in coverage. I've watched two rookies make more of an impact than anyone thought they would. I've watched Jake the Snake become "The Jake," watched a maligned mastermind become The Mastermind again, and seen four castoffs from a terrible defense come in and make an impact. No, we aren't leading the league in sacks, but anyone who says those four men aren't making a difference is either a moron or completely out of touch with what matters in football.

For me personally, 2005 will be one of my favorite Broncos campaigns, if only because I was here; I got to see the excitement, watch as the Broncos gear came out and was constantly worn by everyone in town.

Got to go to a few games. The dismantling of the Eagles. The total domination of the Raiders. Watched as the games at Invesco became some of the most anticipated tickets in town. It was magical. It is magical.

Something is happening this year. Can you feel it?

I can. It feels great.



Sam DeWitt is a sports writer living in Denver with his dog, Bailey. He spends his time commuting between his home, his favorite coffee shop in Lowry, and gigs with his band. He can be reached via email at BUMoose@gmail.com or on his Scout.com handle, TheRealMoose.

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