|01-13-2006, 02:09 AM||#1|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Oct 2002
Wow, even that SOB Kiszla is getting into it.
Actully Haven Moses gives the best parts of the article. But Kiszla did have to write it. I'm glad the game is on Saturday, I don't think I could make it till Sunday.
New digs need old-fashioned party
By Mark Kiszla
Denver Post Staff Columnist
A Broncomaniac can buy a latte in this cushy pad they call a stadium, for crying out loud. That ain't right. The old Mile High was hard. And defiantly loud. And obnoxiously orange.
Remember the way we were in Denver? Orange cowbells. Orange hair. Orange toilet seats.
"Orange babies," said Ring of Fame receiver Haven Moses, on duty when Broncomania came of age.
"Girl babies were not dressed in pink. Boy babies did not wear blue," said Moses, who still can feel the ground shake from the inaugural NFL playoff game in Colorado, way back in 1977. "I think it took about a year for some families to figure out the gender of a baby in Denver. There was no pink. No blue. It was all orange."
Remember when football really mattered around here, when every street looked like a ghost town at five minutes before kickoff, and the orange sun refused to shine in a blue sky if the Broncos lost?
Football can count that much again. It can start now.
When the Broncos play New England, what's at stake is bigger than a Saturday night date with the defending league champs.
"This is about a lot more than winning a playoff game. There are a lot more implications for this franchise in this town," said Moses, who caught more than 300 passes for Denver from 1972-81. "This is the first Broncos team in my recollection where nobody seems to be obsessed with what John Elway did. And that's good. I get the sense this team has finally let the past be the past."
Since the day Elway retired, this franchise and this town have wasted too many years looking back.
Here is a chance for the Broncos to take a giant leap forward.
For too long, this new Mile High, christened with its first NFL regular-season game on Sept. 10, 2001, has been a gleaming sports appliance, shiny but too soft to have a soul.
Invesco Field at Mile High has never quite felt like home to fans who bleed orange and crave that Rocky Mountain high obtainable only from the big rush as a foot thumps the ball to start a playoff game.
For going on five NFL seasons, they could get a latte, but no satisfaction.
On Christmas Eve almost three weeks ago, as linebacker Al Wilson left the locker room, a broken thumb throbbed with pain, but he ached with a hankering more powerful, nagged by a desire to end the agony of Broncomaniacs who built this stadium with tax dollars, then have waited impatiently to party in the playoffs.
"I want to give our fans what they want, what they need, what they deserve," Wilson said.
On a Christmas Eve nearly three decades ago, the Broncos played their first playoff game at the old Mile High. They beat the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"Mile High Stadium had its character, but it didn't really put an imprint on football until that playoff run," Moses said. "The stadium was rocking. You could feel the field shaking. It was maddening. The city didn't know what to do with itself. The emotion was a volcano about to explode."
The spotless, sometimes sterile facility your Broncos call home has not earned the right to be called a stadium. Not yet. A stadium is where fond memories cling to a fan like a hot dog wrapper stubbornly stuck to the bottom of your shoe.
Old Mile High was a football paradise, but as coach Mike Shanahan recently pointed out, they paved it and put up a parking lot. The Broncos went 8-0 at home this season. Tradition is hard won.
"How many guys on this team were even around for the last Super Bowl? Rod Smith? Jason Elam? The rest of these players, they don't know what it's like. So this is all new," Moses said. "This is the first playoff game at Invesco Field. This is a new team, with new players and a new fan base, at a new stadium, in a new millennium, with a new chance to stamp their own identity on the franchise for the next 20 years. They can establish a new historic point in the Broncos' long legacy."
That old Mile High magic is gone.
"I don't think you can ever recreate the feeling of the first time," Moses said. "Why try to do that?"
There's no future in living in the past. But this old town would look good in a fresh coat of orange madness.
Staff writer Mark Kiszla can be reached at 303-820-5438 or firstname.lastname@example.org.