Posted Mon Sep 24th by Monty
Historically, the Denver Broncos have enjoyed one of the fiercest home field advantages in the NFL. Visiting teams to Mile High Stadium speak of the intimidating crowds, the oxygen-deprived elevation, and the greeting they are presented with as they exit the locker room and enter the field, reminding them that they are 5,280 feet above sea level. The Broncos are one of the winningest teams in the league at home historically, and have gone undefeated in home games as recently as 2005.
So where has this home field advantage gone?
The Broncos have lost 5 of their last 7 home games, many of these games to teams that had no business beating the team, home or away. Take a look at the last 7 home games for the Broncos:
2006 Week 8 – Indianapolis 34, Denver 31 – The Broncos lead at halftime 14-6, but Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne torch the Broncos defense for three touchdowns in the second half as Adam Vinatieri kicks the game winner in the closing minutes. The Broncos fall to 5-2.
2006 Week 11 – San Diego 35, Denver 27 – Another big halftime lead as two 7-2 AFC West teams took the field on Sunday Night Football. After leading 24-7, Ladainian Tomlinson ran wild for 3 rushing touchdowns to close the gap in the final 20 minutes of the game, and the Broncos lost a second straight home game.
2006 Week 13 – Seattle 23, Denver 20 – The story is beginning to get old. The Broncos lead at halftime in Jay Cutler‘s debut, but blow it and get beat in the end on a last second field goal. The Broncos are now on a 3-game skid at home.
2006 Week 16 – Cincinnati 23, Denver 24 – The Bengals and Broncos play a good game, and in the final minutes the Bengals look to tie it up. A botched snap at the point after attempt saves the Broncos from another potential disappointing home loss as the teams would have been headed into overtime.
2006 Week 17 – San Francisco 26, Denver 23 – The game that sent the Broncos home for the postseason. After a long overtime struggle, the 49ers pull through and Joe Nedney gives the Broncos their 4th home loss of the season.
2007 Week 2 – Oakland 20, Denver 23 – The Timeout saved the Broncos from a very disappointing loss, and barely. Many wonder how the Raiders could go into Mile High and have their way with the Broncos through the second half.
2007 Week 3 – Jacksonville 23, Denver 14 – Some fans now believe the Broncos aren’t as good as we thought they were. I disagree, but this game was certainly disheartening.
As you can see, the two games the Broncos have won of the last seven were barely wins at all. Cincinnati’s botched PAT snap… Oakland’s overtime field goal that was, then wasn’t… call these luck, call these magic, call them whatever, but the Broncos are doing a horrible job of defending their own house.
Is the new stadium to blame? Some think so, and it’s hard to disagree. The old stadium was louder, among the loudest in the league. One fan posted on a forum how he had never been to a Broncos game until yesterday. He said he was disappointed with the fans at Mile High, and their lack of passion.
I can remember hearing how in the AFC Championship Game against Pittsburgh in 2005, after the team in won, there were still around 5,000 Steelers fans in Denver supporting the team. 5,000 Broncos ticket holders sold their seats to Steeler fans rather than going to see us hopefully make the Super Bowl.
Are these the same Broncos fans who kept the horribly performing team in Denver in the 1960′s based on fan fervor alone? Are those in attendance representing the wine and cheese crowd in the new stadium, with box level seats and VIP accomodations, instead of the beer and hot dog blue collar crowd that originally kept the franchise in Colorado?
If you have the privilege of going to see the Denver Broncos play in Mile High, STAND UP! Shout your lungs out and support your team! This is one of the best home field advantages in the league, and reports of a quiet Invesco Field are an insult to the fans! This is a good team we have on the field this year, and we need to come out and support them in all facets. If you have the means, go and help the Broncos defend their home turf. 2-5 is plain disgusting at home, and it’s time we helped turn this around.
As soon as I graduate college and have a little money of my own, one of the first items on my list of “Things to Do” is go to Mile High for a Broncos game. And scream my freaking lungs out.
Let’s bring the magic back to Mile High. We have games against the Chargers, Steelers, and Packers at home in the weeks ahead. Do what the Broncos of the past have done. Go 3-0. Defend our home.