In edition four, Dave Haselden, founder of the Denver Broncos UK facebook group, explains how he became a Denver Broncos fan.
A mate of mine who lived in the newsagents kept going on about this team called ‘The Bears’, and something about a Superbowl, and someone called Walter Payton.
“I’d love a pair of Kangaroo’s” he said.
In a town where you play Rugby League or nothing, this was somewhat a strange lingo.
Then one of the lads who was about 100 years older than us (well it seemed that way), played Center for a team in St Helens, called the St Helens Cardinals.Now that lingo i could relate to. Centre being a position on the Rugby Field, and quite naturally a Team down the road called St Helens, is quite famous.
My mates shop then started selling blind bags for 30p in which you got 2 gum balls and a random helmet.
He was stoked when he got a Chicago Bears one. Then the older lad kept saying he was bleeping made up to get a Colts one as they where his team.
I liked the look of those little helmets, and thought I think I’ll check this new sport out.
I needed a team to follow though. There where 28 teams back then, how the heck was I supposed to choose a team from a sport I knew nothing about?
I’ve never been a bandwagon fan, and it never even occurred to me to find out who was the best. The Giants had just won Superbowl XXI, but the less said about that the better…
These little bags with gum and a helmet in them where my key.
I had decided that whatever teams helmet my first ever bag contained would be my team.
I opened it and there was a blue Helmet. At first I thought uh ho, it’s the Giants everyone’s going to say I like them because they are the Champions.
Inside the helmets where the stickers to stick on the side of the helmets.
They didn’t say Giants on them, but had a white horse coming out of an orange D.
I liked that helmet. I liked it a lot. The horse looked like something to be feared, something proud and majestic.
My mate said, oh it’s the Denver Broncos, they just lost in the Superbowl.
Are they any good I asked?
No, but their Quarterback is….
Next stop was a weekly newspaper called ‘First Down’ and a monthly mag called Grid Iron.
I went to the library and got a rule book…
Then the season started on Channel 4, with a snorting and manipulated to look like a grid iron player logo, breathing out frosty air from its mouth and a sound effect to match the menacing blow.
The season started and this magician called John Elway captivated and enthralled me.
We started playing back yard football on the streets, and I modeled my playing style on Elway’s athleticism. Did the Sammy Winder TOUCHDOWN dance, and played defense like a possessed Karl Mecklenburg.
Whilst wearing my prized possession of a pair of Kangaroo’s!
I watched in agony as we suffered defeats to Washington and San Francisco.
I even started to go watch a team called the Manchester Spartans who eventually went on to win the Euro bowl and repeat.
I started playing for Bolton Buccaneers, and had a go at running back and free safety because of my Rugby League roots.
An agonising ankle injury in which I tore 3 ligaments and have never really recovered from, playing for Leigh East Juniors under 16’s put an end to my days as a budding grid iron player, and I never really got back to a decent playing level at rugby league either.
Then I left school and life as a young man took me away from the sport.
I remember hearing on a news bulletin whilst at work in 97, that they had finally won a Superbowl.
How about that I thought, after watching us get wiped out in 2 they finally got one.
It was a few more years later that I learned we’d gone a repeated,and that Elway retired.
After discovering eBay in 2004 I came across a TD shirt and bought it as it was cheap, and if I was gonna wear an American football shirt as leisurewear there was going to only be one teams i was going to wear! Again that was really it for a while. I think at that point it was a nostalgic purchase more than anything.
I think a massive change in my life and social media combined helped me fall back in love with the Broncos and the game itself.
I was a married man now and settled with kids, and I found Facebook.
Late on in 2010 a new thing I started to do, was add things to my profile interests, sports teams etc.
Leigh Centurions (my rugby league team), Rugby League, Fishing and Formula 1 were added. Scrolling through the NFL logo popped up. I clicked on it and added, followed by an immediate search for Denver Broncos.
Liked and added!
But wait, they have a new Helmet and now play in all blue, what happened to the Orange I loved so much? It was an alternate color now.
They also play in a new stadium…
This got me doing research and before I knew it I was getting hooked again.
We had a young coach in the name of Josh Mcdaniels. And finished that season at 3-9.
This didn’t deter me though.
Throughout that off season I find we had grown to 32 teams from 28, the Baltimore Ravens appeared to be the Old Cleveland Browns, even though the Cleveland Browns were back….
Including the Ravens, we also had the Jaguars the Panthers, who I heard about previously through the jungle drums and the Houston Texans, who I assumed where the Oilers under a new name, but this turned out to be wrong and the Tennessee Titan’s where now the Houston Oilers. This served me right really for leaving this great game at the way side.
Lots of new uniforms had been adopted, and the Seahawks where now in the NFC…
Oh dear I had a lot of catching up to do to make sense of anything.
The biggest surprise for me where that the New England Patriots were actually good now!
Big things happened in 2011 the magic man John Elway was back to run the team and we drafted a guy in the 1st round called Von Miller .
One of his first actions was to fire Josh Mcdaniels and replace him with John Fox.
Throughout that season Tebow mania and Tebow Time where born and we ended that season at 8-8 and earned a playoff place.
I remember Celebrity Vernon Kay tweeting, that the Broncos will never win a playoff game with Tebow.
I retweeted it to him and said oooops. His reply was he still sucks…
John Elway was back in Denver and we were suddenly successful again, this was no coincidence or fluke. He had a mission and that was to make Denver great again. He then started to put the pieces together in building a Dynasty.
2012 was here and I suddenly found myself around a few like minded people on a local website i frequented, one of them was a lovely lady named Pauline (RIP), who was born in my Home town of Leigh but moved to Pennsylvania when she was 2, as her Father was an American soldier in WW2.
So then we had a discussion group on the site and I was once again hooked.
News broke that the Colts had released Peyton Manning, and Denver were interested. Denver were really Interested.
Denver offered him a $95 million 4 year deal with a 5th year option.
After visiting several teams he plumped for the Broncos.
2013 saw us finally return to a Superbowl and after not being around for our 2 wins, but around for 2 blow out loses we had a record breaking offense, which was easily beat our once AFC West rivals and their so called Legion of boom, I felt good.
I felt this loss more than the drubbing the 49ers gave us. For each Superbowl loss we had easily the best Offense but our D never showed up in any of them.
I still felt we had more good times ahead of us.
Elway took note that no matter how good your offense was, defense wins championships. And set things in motion, and made a statement by signing Demarcus Ware and Aquib Talib.
Nike that year did a half price sale on NFL team Jersey’s and so as a birthday present, my lovely wife bought me a Peyton Manning jersey . My first current team member Broncos jersey, since my Elway one back in 1989.
Another superb season saw us whimper out of the playoffs against the Colts.
This insensed Elway and heads rolled. Basically sacking all the coaching staff.
He had built for the here and now with plan A and it hadn’t worked. Time for plan A part 2 lol.
In came his old Back up and roommate Gary Kubiak.
He brought in new coaching staff to, and with it the Zone Blocking Scheme, the thing that took us to those 2 SB victories in the late 90’s.
I then decided it was tattoo time, and orange and blue was running thickly through my veins.
I got a leg piece done in about July 2015, an old 80’s style Elway shirt with our current helmet underneath, signifying the new and the old. My Tattooist suggested putting Elway’s signature on the helmet to. I was stoked. I added the NFL logo underneath.
My proof of being a die hard was almost complete.
I then discovered a Chinese website where one could purchase ‘Copies’ of Jersey’s, and my collection grew.
Elway first, followed by a blue Miller. White Ware next. Orange Wolfe with SB50 patch and finally a Lynch jersey after we drafted him. A Hat and Bob hat where also purchased, all in a short few months.
I also obtained a SB50 patch.
My daughter started high school and in the first week she discovered her English teacher was a Cowboys fan and her history teacher was a Steelers fan
Apparently in English it came up about sports and her teacher said , my favourite sport is American football. My daughter’s ears pricked up and she asked who he supported. He said the Dallas Cowboys, my daughter put her hands in the air and yelled ‘Go Broncos’. This was one of the most single proudest moments of my life ! Ha ha.
She also did this in history after it came out about her history teacher too.
She then begged me for a Peyton Manning jersey, so I obliged .
She also received a Paxton Lynch jersey when i got mine for being a good girl lol.
This year my wife ordered me a surprise present, but suffered a major heart indecent in which the right side of her heart basically exploded. I was traumatised.
Thankfully she fought like no one’s business and survived. During this my surprise has arrived, but I refused to open it, until she was well enough to see me open it in front of her.
It was a Demarcus Ware vinyl pop figure!
How’s about that?
I think my obsession was affecting everyone!
I ordered I pin badge, which my Daughter stole off me and wears on her school blazer with the badges she has earned from school, and my Manning pop vinyl that I ordered arrived.
I intend to collect all the vinyls available, and would love a helmet .
I think a flag is also next on the agenda.
Superbowl 50 for me was a nervous evening, and even at the 2 minute warning I was still on pins. Did I dare believe we had won the Superbowl? The first one I was able to witness?
I suddenly shouted to the wife, that I think we’ve just won the Superbowl, there was still one minute something left too!
Every time any type of ball game is showing, my youngest will say ‘Go Broncos’, what have I done?…
Basically my support is either down to luck or fate, either way I’m sure glad my teams helmet was in that little plastic bag way back in 1987.