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Published on 11/10/2009 at Tue Nov 10 14:04.
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Invesco Field at Mile High

With 1:22 left in the fourth quarter, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward leapt over Denver Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey, strode through the end zone and straight to a throng of black-and-gold-clad Steeler fans, taking only a moment to find one donning his #86 jersey.

As Ward put the football in the fan’s hands, and the game out of reach, I wondered aloud which was more disgusting: the ease of Ward’s touchdown, or the ease of which he found a migrating fan wearing his jersey in Denver’s stadium?

The City of Pittburgh completely overwhelmed every inch of Invesco Field at Mile High Monday night, from the front row to the luxury suites to the nosebleeds to the hashmarks. And every Broncos fan — you and I included — shares the brunt of the blame.

Now, there are certainly degrees of guilt involved in this lack of Broncomania, and I plan to discuss each in incremental levels of fan depravity. Let’s first absolve those who did attend. Let us celebrate the season ticket holders who would not be bought out. Let us offer a Mile High Salute to the fans who purchased single-game tickets and cheered for the Broncos through the fourth quarter. The end result was not what any of us had hoped, but Invesco Field is not the same without you.

Now, let us discuss the classes of Broncos fans who should be embarrassed by the state of affairs in Denver last night. And I invite you to look inward to see if you fall into any of these groups.

The Perhaps-Displaced Broncos Fan who could afford to go but didn’t plan ahead of time or made excuses not to

I admittedly fall into this category. I’m a 12-hour drive away from Denver and made the trip only three months ago to cover the team during training camp. I’ve never been to a game in Denver.

I don’t expect every fan to attend every game, but how many of us can afford to go to a game (or more that one game) and simply don’t because of the inconvenience of travel?

Now, I have excuses. I’m a senior in college (technically), and am not made of money. I’m blessed to have two good part-time jobs that pay the bills, and while I live relatively month-to-month, I know that, if I had made it a priority, I could have gone to a game this season. I should have known that, after the AFC Championship Game in Denver in 2005, Steelers fans would show up in droves to invade hostile territory on a prime time Monday Night game. With a bit of foresight, I could have arranged to get off work. I could have held off on purchasing this or that. But I didn’t make it a priority.

An unidentified fan of the Denver Broncos, front, turns away as fans of the  Pittsburgh Steelers celebrate after a Steelers touchdown during the fourth quarter of the Steelers' 28-10 victory in an NFL football game at Invesco Field at Mile High, Monday, Nov. 9, 2009, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

An unidentified fan of the Denver Broncos, front, turns away as fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrate after a Steelers touchdown during the fourth quarter of the Steelers' 28-10 victory in an NFL football game at Invesco Field at Mile High, Monday, Nov. 9, 2009, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Thousands of Pittsburgh Steelers fans from all over the country made it a priority. Their level of fandom, at least in regards to being dedicated to seeing and supporting their team in person, exceeds mine.

So before I cast stones (and believe me, I’m about to cast stones), I look inward to my own glass house and see that I’m by no means the perfect fan. Twenty thousand Steeler fans took it upon themselves to attend the game in Denver last night. I didn’t.

And looking back, I ask myself, “Why not?”

The ticket holder who couldn’t go and cut their losses by selling it to Steelers fans

Frankly I have little pity for you. Sell it to a Broncos fan. Give it to a Broncos fan. If you made the decision to buy the ticket in the first place, you obviously meant to go. You are barely a shade better than…

The season ticket holder who deliberately sold his or her seat to make a quick buck

You are the worst Broncos fan of all, and my blood admittedly boils at the thought of you. The Broncos have a season ticket waiting list that takes years and years to traverse, with thousands of fans waiting for their chance to never do exactly what you did this past week:

Sell your fandom for a quick buck.

I’ve heard the argument a dozen times now. “It’s my hard-earned money, I have the right to do with it as I please.” Technically you are correct, the laws of this country do not forbid you from profiting off your season tickets.

But Broncos Country law does.

What happened to the notion that attending a football game is more than a privilege, it’s a responsibility? Broncos fans of old embraced this idea. Read Jim Saccomano‘s fantastic Denver Broncos: The Complete Illustrated History sometime, and you’ll know what I mean. With the franchise on the ropes and rumored to be moving to Atlanta, thousands of Broncomaniacs took it upon themselves to save their football team and keep it in Denver.

The Broncos of old were awful, and frankly didn’t deserve the passionate response the city of Denver gave them. These Broncos were 6-1!

I daresay many of those fans would be embarrassed by the absence of Broncomania last night.

It’s time for each fan to look inward and take the responsibility of Broncos Country upon himself or herself. If you have a friend that falls into one of these categories, perform a “citizen’s arrest,” if you will, and tell them what’s what. Look inward as well, and see if you’re not guilty.

If you don’t fall into one of these categories — if you can truly say you couldn’t make it to last night’s game, or any game this season, even after thinking long and hard (that’s what she said) about the Steelers fans who could — fine. You are absolved from criticism.

But everyone else, it’s time we took back the Mile High Magic. And rather than pointing blame I invite you to see what action you can take to improve Broncomania.

It’s what the fans of old did to save this franchise, and it’s what we need now.

May we never give the Hines Wards of the world such easy access to one of their fans in our stadium, ever again.

  • George Costanza

    BRONCOS SUCK….BRING BACK CRAIG MORTON!!!!

  • http://www.crackforsale.com/ kdeazy

    a good time for a trip to denver is coming up soon where there are 2 games in a 5 day period. just put it on the credit card who cares the worlds melting down anyway. also screw ur family etc for thanksgiving, broncos r the only family u need. san diego and nyg nov 22 and nov 26. be there.

  • herc_rock

    This is a little too harsh.

    Thanks to front-running jerkoffs and Pitt's steadily declining population, there are Steelers fans all over the country. They overrun EVERY stadium they play in. There wasn't an inordinate amount of Cowboys fans or Pats fans earlier this year, and there won't be a ton of Giants fans next home game. It's just the Steelers.

    I was there last night and it wasn't as bad as everyone is saying. I thought it was worse in '07 and it was definitely worse for the AFCCG. That was a fricking embarrassment.

  • herc_rock

    Chargers are the next home game, of course.

  • http://www.broncotalk.net Josh Temple

    Last night looked much worse than the 05 Championship game from what I could tell.

  • herc_rock

    Really? What section are you in? I thought it was way worse in '05.

    Some of the yellow I saw was our throwbacks. I had a little yellow on last night, too. Poor choice in retrospect.

  • http://www.broncotalk.net Josh Temple

    I didn't go to the game, my sister's family used all three of our tickets, so our Broncos civic duty was fulfilled. Last night disgusted me to no end. When you can audibly hear the Steelers fans when they're playing defense, that's ridiculous. Especially when they can pull off the Heath Miller chant like it's a home game. My fellow ticket holders should be ashamed.

    This all boils down to one thing, Steelers fans will pay out the nose for tickets. Back in 2005 I was offered $2000 for three seats to the AFC Championship. I turned it down, playoff games are priceless. It was tempting to get 1 1/3 years of tickets paid for by one game. But that's not why I buy the tickets. Invesco is much more corporate, but I can tell you people sell out. My nosebleeds could've easily fetched $400. There needs to become an unofficial rule of Broncos fans, you don't sell tickets to Steeler fans.

  • http://www.broncotalk.net Josh Temple

    509. I wasn't at last night's game, just from what I saw on tv.

  • broncoinva9986

    Stub hub is to blame…so what am I suppose to do to the poor redskin hack who I buy my tickets from next week…Hey buddy don't sell me your tickets because I am a broncos fan so I can never see my team…since I don't have the coin to fly out to Denver….(yet)…..The economy sucks and I bet those steelers fans paid out the wazoo

  • jonkrause

    I've always dreamed of going to Denver to see a game, but because of money, and FAR distance, I go to away games closer to me. Going to the 'Skins game this week, and I'll be as loud as any of our away game fans. Go Broncos!!!

  • http://twitter.com/amcfarla Aaron McFarland

    I was at the Stadium cheering on the Broncos, even got in an argument with a Steelers fan and asked him if he became a fan after the first or second superbowl and the typical fan who decides to like team because they win a couple superbowls said “the 6th super bowl”. It was definitely a disgusting scene seeing so many of those ugly yellow terrible rags, but it seems like every game I go to sitting in the south stands there are more visitor fans than Bronco fans(doesn't help they have played the Cowboys(America's Team) and the Patriots(another team that had a ton fans jump on the bandwagon once they started winning super bowls).

  • footballgal

    You people scalping season tickets to any team for profit were raised by pigs. They should start checking id's to see who is holding season tickets and not showing up for any of the games, don't allow them another season when real fans want to go.

  • Depressed SF

    Aaron McFarland is right.

    Don't assume that all those Steeler fans are ones who made the trip out from Pennslvaina. The Steelers are a team who win a lot year after year and get people all across the country to jump on the bandwagon. Half of the Steeler fans there were probably from Colorado.

    Basically the bottom line is this. Steeler fans are fags. Total fags.

    Also, I just have to ask. If someone had season tickets and decided to sell them because they can't make it to a game, how are they supposed to verify that the person they are selling them to is a Bronco fan? Give them a quiz? Follow them around?

    Look, Steeler fans who aren't from Pennslvania, Packer fans not from Wisconsin, Pats fans who became fans since they started winning Super Bowls, Red Sox fans in general, Yankee fans not from New York, Laker fans not from LA, ARE ALL FAGS. TOTAL FAGS.

  • broncoinva9986

    I will be at Fed Ex field sunday sitting in Section 122 row 9 50 yard by the Broncos bench… i would like to thank the Redskin Hack who sold me the tickets….but screw Stub Hub

  • herc_rock

    You walk around San Fran calling people fags?

  • A REAL fan

    Jealous much?

  • Black_N_Gold

    Wow, really? Not only did you “Bronco Fans” turn on your team you are turning on each other. I write this as a LIFETIME Steelers fan (my mother is from Mt. Washington, wifes family is in Ambridge). I am a Native Arizonan and my family and I travelled to Denver for the game. We are still here and I am typing this from Denver. We purchased single game tickets from Ticketmaster no season ticket holder “sold out” to us. You should not take the invasion of Steelers Fans personally, nor should you bash each other for it. THIS HAPPENS AT EVERY STEELER AWAY GAME. It is NOT a Bronco thing it is a STEELERS thing. WE LOVE OUR STEELERS! and always will get over it, you obviously do not understand. Stop pointing fingers and support your team….. PS if you want to keep opposing team attendance down have a 6 year waiting list for season tickets like the Steelers. Good luck.

  • Depressed SF

    If you're in San Fran, and you're a Steelers fan, and you're not from Pennslvania, and you're dad wasn't a Steeler fan or something like that, than yes, I'm calling you a FAG. Total fag.

    Here is to South Park. The greatest show of all time.

    “Go America, Go America. Go Broncos. Yeah, Go Broncos.”

  • Pingback: Citizen’s arrest: Broncos Country under siege | Denver Broncos Blog

  • mikebirty

    although broncoinva9986 said it first, I'll repeat it. Stubhub and TicketExchange are to blame. Its made it much easier for visiting fans to get tickets for games and while it always works against the home team, when you're the visiting team, its great. Or even if you're a tourist!

    But I'd argue that the people selling these tickets aren't Bronco fans. I'd bet that they are either, professional scalpers, “travel” companies or just normal companies.

    I'll explain this by what happens in the UK. During the 90s rather than paying the rising costs of the executive boxes and club seats, lots of small companies bought season tickets as a way of entertaining guests. They'd buy 4 and give them away to clients or staff as a bonus. But now, when its harder to get people who want to travel to games because the novelty of the Premiership has worn off, they turn to places like StubHub and make a profit off them.

    And its also made casual and professional scalping easier. There are 12 pages of tickets for the Giants game at the big IF – they can't all be Season Ticket holders can they? You buy two of the single game tickets when they go on sale in June and then bang they're straight on StubHub for 2 times the value. Easy money.

    One solution I'd like to hear your opinions on is what they do in the UK and have a “Visitor's Section”. This was born out of the violence in the 70s and before but it works really well. If you want to go and see your team play at another stadium, your team is allocated anywhere between 5 and 10% of the seats. You get to sit with your own fans so no arguments break out and it means that if you want to travel – or probably in the USA, if you live in or near that city – you can get a ticket while leaving big sections available for “Home” fans.

  • Josh

    The big problem is Denver is the fact you don't sell out your stadium. You might sell out your season tickets, but not the whole venue. Ticket master is not a fan selling site it is a retail site and you can find all kinds of good tickets there, and they are CHEAP. You need to find out why or buy the damn cheap tickets available for yourself. This isn't about ban wagon fans. If you went back to the late 90s when denver won super bowls they didn't fill 3 rivers when they played the Steelers there twice in 97. It is just how steelers fans are they are loyal and they are everywhere in good and bad seasons both (hopefully more bad to come)

    I am a Bengals and Reds fan living in PA. I can tell you this is not about Steelers fans it is all about Pittsburgh fans. If you go to a Reds game vs the Pirates they have HUGE amounts of fans that travel as well, even though they suck. It is LOYALTY, plain and simple win or lose. There is very little you can do about it, it is just the kind of people that Western PA produces and those roots go for generations and remain no matter how far away you move. I have learned when the steelers are visiting Cin. you can't stop the storm all you can do is try to best to weather it.

  • Mike

    I there was a time when I went to one Bronco game a year. Long travel and expenses limited my opportunities. I have not been to a game in 4 years. I got tired of watching the same old, same old, Shanahan routine. Quite frankly it was predictable and boring. I am surprised by the current success and very happy about it. However, the style of football is boring. I guess I like a little excitement with the game. When a system does not en-corporate the long ball, it leaves little to the imagination (of opposing defenses in particular). When the Broncos put a product on the field that is exciting to watch, and worth spending lots of time and money on, I will go to games again. They have just bored me out of interest. I do watch on TV and I always want them to be sucessfull, but when they do little to entice my interest, why should I spend the time and money.

  • SivNiz

    I was at the game and a little kid in front me said it was “This is Steelers Country,” then after the game ended he started chanting “… hey hey good bye” I stopped his Dad and asked him what would happen if I did that at Heinz field? He said I would get my ass kicked. I then told him to teach his kid some respect before some else does it for him. I feel like an ass but I can’t stand how the Steelers fans can over run our stadium like that. I hated it in 2005 and I still hate it now.

  • SivNiz

    Broncos have about a 30year waitlist for season tickets… d-bag

  • herc_rock

    Pfft. 6 years? My old man was on the Broncos wating list for 27 years before they called him.

  • herc_rock

    Dear Stooge,
    Denver has sold out every home game since Dec. 14, 1969 (39 years and counting). That's the second-longest streak in the league.

  • herc_rock

    OK, Larry Johnson.

  • Estes2SD

    Your Bored? Really? Bored… Granted the last two games sucked, but boring is your description of our team. Our defense bores you? Doom and Bdawk (who I would call a “product”). This comment is insane! You are saying nobody on the broncos is worth watching, and they are boring. I agree throw the ball deep, but saying our team is boring now and when Shanahan was around is mind numbing.

  • Estes2SD

    Another thing, this “Product” you refer too? You say you have not gone to a game for 4 years becuase they have no Product to ENTICE your intrest. I dispise Cutler, but was he was a product. Please explain a product that would ENTICE you to travel and watch a game. My head hurts.

  • http://www.broncotalk.net Josh Temple

    “We purchased single game tickets from Ticketmaster no season ticket holder “sold out” to us.”

    It's called the Ticketmaster Ticket Exchange program. Season ticket holder's can legally scalp their tickets through the Broncos ticket office via that crime racket better known as Ticketmaster. Most pro sports teams have this now. Your tickets may have looked like single game, but I'll bet they were season tickets sold back to the office and re-printed. Did you pay face value, I bet not?

    The ticket office says they do not have control over it, but this is one area they have complete control over it.

  • Mike

    You make some excellent points. It just seems like one of the things I like best about football, the vertical game, seems to be missing. Maybe weatching a player like Elway for so long spoiled me. I do really like the defense and I really like the players on the offensive side of the ball. It is just for me, personally, something is missing and I think it hurts the team overall. Maybe I am just getting old and my enthusiasm is waning. Anyway, thanks for reminding me there is a lot to like.

  • Mike

    I guess I should explain the “product”. I was not talking about the players. I really like the team. I like the players, always have with rare exceptions. The Broncos have some really exciting players on both sides of the ball. I was talking about the last 3 years of being 500. One playoff win since 1999 and 3 playoff blowout losses. I guess I viewed this a mediocre “product”. I can't say boring was a good choice of words, perhaps predictable is better.

  • http://twitter.com/amcfarla Aaron McFarland

    I appreciate you supporting your team, and I am sure a lot of the people in the stands are lifelong Steelers fan, but it seems like we get all these bandwagon fans because they won a couple of super bowls(hey we had them in 97-98) and I have a friend that became a steelers fan in 2005, but those people I have zero respect for.

  • Gary_in_SD

    I was at the “Jerry McGuire” MNF game in Tempe, 12/25/95. Now that was a sad sight as 2/3 of the stadium was blue, not red. And contrary to the movie, AZ did not win the game. They got blown-out!… Opposing fans will fill stadiums these days, we all have to get used to it. It works to our advantage too though, as the Bronconation is also large. You should have seen how many were here in SD on the 19th of last month. Maybe 1/8 of the crowd I would have to say.

  • Nisse

    i would be embarrassed if i was at a home game where the away crowd made a bigger impact on the game than the home crowd.

    bronco fans need to step up, you cant ban fans from other teams from home games, but you can shut them up, and i dont mean kicking there asses, i mean by making more noice than them, for 4 entire 1/4ers.

    but i wasnt there, so i cant really criticise anyone.

  • Black_N_Gold

    No wonder your team sucks. You are all a bunch of idiots. They WERE single game and we DID pay face value. Your town and your team suck! I regret even telling you to support your team. You people have problems… Off the medication?

  • Black_N_Gold

    You morons can talk all the smack you want. I was actually encouraging you to support your team like the Steelers are supported but you are too stupid to understand. BOTTOM LINE, your team got their ass handed to them at home and 20,000+ loyal Steelers fans witnessed it live! d-bag.

  • http://broncotalk.net Kyle

    The only way you got those tickets at face value is if you logged on the day tickets went on sale and fought through the Ticketmaster system like everyone else. Single-game Broncos tickets sell out, day of.

  • http://broncotalk.net Kyle

    I'm “practicing what I preach” BTW. I'm pledging to go to a Broncos home game at least once a year when I can even half-reasonably afford it.

  • Ren

    I was at the game Monday in my Hines Ward Jersey Section 223 row 17 with my Air Force Lt Son and Daughter in law. We only go to away STEELER games and it is the same scene every time, 20 to 35 Thousand Steeler fans in the stadium. I was born and raised in Pittsburgh (1955) and flew from my home in New York to Hill Air Force Base in Utah and we drove to Denver. We met a STEELER family from Alaska and a family from Tonga that came to game. (All wearing Steeler 43 and 86 jersey like us) All the Bronco fans were good NFL fans except for 3 around me that had a tough time with the situation. One said he wanted to punch one of us but just like at the Jets game, Packer game, Viking game, Giants game and Bears game I went to and heard the same empty threat… none of them were stupid enough to take on a STEELER fan. STEELER FANS are loyal to their team and we are one of kind. We also tip good and buy beers for other team's fans when they are true NFL type fans. I left the stadium telling the Real NFL Class Bronco fans I met “See you guys in the Playoffs”)

  • Gary_in_SD

    One thing that hurts teams in the west, is that so many people move out west from the east. Not many from the west want any part of doing the opposite though. Any of us who live in the west don't need to have the reasons why explained to them either… In a sense, I'm the same as I grew up in No. AZ (as a Bronco fan since I was a kid in the 70s), then moved to SD for career reasons in '96. I'll always be a Bronco fan and always hate the “statics” 'til the day I die. Even if that's here in SD! I also support the Cards and would be torn if they ever meet the Broncos in the Superbowl.

    Opposing fans filling stadiums will probably continue to grow, as the west does, so we need to get over it. Let's hope it works to our advantage this weekend. I'd like to see a lot of Orange in DC and a lot of Green filling the stands here at the Q!

  • Steel_lover

    I'm a Steelers fan and was at the game on Monday night and even though I am from Utah have been a fan since I was 6 years old. I think it's a cop out to just call all of us who are fans of a team in a different area bandwagon fans. I do have family in Pittsburgh so I do have a connection but even still I am a fan because I love the Steelers and what they represent. In a lot of ways it takes more effort when you don't live in the area. I constantly have to find sports bars where I can watch the game, try and find other Steelers fans in the areas (there are actually quite a few in Utah), and constantly explain and defend why I love the Steelers. If I was to follow the rule of the guy who called everyone who doesn't live in Pittsburgh a f** then I couldn't be a fan of football at all because Utah doesn't have a team so thanks idiot, maybe try expanding your vocabulary cause you sound like a complete idiot. I think most of the fans were loyal true Steelers fans. I didn't shell out the money I did and take work off, which I never do, because the Steelers won the Super Bowl last year. I saved up my money for a year and spent hours planning this trip.

    I dont even think that there were almost as many Steelers fans in the stadium as Broncos is the worst part about the game for the Broncos fan base. Most of the Broncos fans around me left with 6 minutes still in the 4th quarter and the Broncos only trailing by 11. If you're a true fan you would never leave in that situation. It was the fans who were talking the most trash too.

  • Gary_in_SD

    One thing that hurts teams in the west, is that so many people move out west from the east. Not many from the west want any part of doing the opposite though. Any of us who live in the west don't need to have the reasons why explained to them either… In a sense, I'm the same as I grew up in No. AZ (as a Bronco fan since I was a kid in the 70s), then moved to SD for career reasons in '96. I'll always be a Bronco fan and always hate the “statics” 'til the day I die. Even if that's here in SD! I also support the Cards and would be torn if they ever meet the Broncos in the Superbowl.

    Opposing fans filling stadiums will probably continue to grow, as the west does, so we need to get over it. Let's hope it works to our advantage this weekend. I'd like to see a lot of Orange in DC and a lot of Green filling the stands here at the Q!

  • Steel_lover

    I'm a Steelers fan and was at the game on Monday night and even though I am from Utah have been a fan since I was 6 years old. I think it's a cop out to just call all of us who are fans of a team in a different area bandwagon fans. I do have family in Pittsburgh so I do have a connection but even still I am a fan because I love the Steelers and what they represent. In a lot of ways it takes more effort when you don't live in the area. I constantly have to find sports bars where I can watch the game, try and find other Steelers fans in the areas (there are actually quite a few in Utah), and constantly explain and defend why I love the Steelers. If I was to follow the rule of the guy who called everyone who doesn't live in Pittsburgh a f** then I couldn't be a fan of football at all because Utah doesn't have a team so thanks idiot, maybe try expanding your vocabulary cause you sound like a complete idiot. I think most of the fans were loyal true Steelers fans. I didn't shell out the money I did and take work off, which I never do, because the Steelers won the Super Bowl last year. I saved up my money for a year and spent hours planning this trip.

    I dont even think that there were almost as many Steelers fans in the stadium as Broncos is the worst part about the game for the Broncos fan base. Most of the Broncos fans around me left with 6 minutes still in the 4th quarter and the Broncos only trailing by 11. If you're a true fan you would never leave in that situation. It was the fans who were talking the most trash too.