2:05 p.m. PT: So we’re here in the press box at Qualcomm Stadium — it’s open to the field. I guess the Chargers assume the San Diego weather is always pleasant enough for no windows — today that’s proving true. It’s really comfortable out there and I’m personally pretty excited to hear the crowd noise in this do-or-die game.
Quick fact update for all of you, given to me by Vice President of Public Relations Jim Saccomano — many of you probably read his blog. The last time the Broncos were underdogs by this much on the road, they won. Do you remember where that game was played? Right here in this stadium — Super Bowl XXXII. So maybe the team can cook up a little Mile High Magic here in San Diego once more.
Darrell Hackney is out on the field throwing passes at midfield, Brett Kern is punting and Greg Eslinger is jogging laps around the sidelines. The Chargers cheerleaders are practicing on the sidelines and it’s already feeling like a playoff atmosphere. Just walking through the tunnels in the bowels of the stadium, there was a distinct feeling that it’s go time.
The superstitions are still going here in the Internet/publications department, so I’m blogging since the last road game I blogged was a division win — the season-opener at Oakland. We’ve still got a little while until kickoff, so I’ll be back with some updates in a little while.
3:09 p.m. PT: Just realized I should probably let all of you in on a spectacle that just happened before our eyes. A little while ago, all of a sudden “Here Comes the Bride” started pumping through the speakers. Turns out it wasn’t just a weird pregame tradition — a woman dressed in a dark blue dress with a yellow sweater/shawl around her shoulders and a veil walked to the 25-yard line and met her husband-to-be. They literally got married on the field at Qualcomm. The whole thing was broadcast on the big screen — the reverend held a coin toss to see which parent would hand them the ring, and held up the touchdown signal after pronouncing them man and wife. Apparently they paid for this romantic honor. Thought you all might be interested.
4:00 p.m. PT: Just got the Broncos inactives for tonight’s game: Alex Haynes, Niko Koutouvides, Marlon McCree, Jarvis Moss, Pat Murray, Chad Mustard, Andrew Pinnock and Jack Williams will not dress out.
4:15 p.m. PT: The first uniformed Broncos headed out to the field, warmly welcomed by the Chargers fans that are slowly filling the stands. Eddie Royal is one of the Broncos on the field sporting a white jersey and white pants. The Chargers are wearing dark blue jerseys and white pants.
Just got back from the field with Adam Zinser’s pictures — they’ll be posted in a couple minutes.
The Chargers inactives just got sent out, as well.
Michael Bennett, Corey Clark, Malcom Floyd, Kynan Forney, Bill Latsko, Ian Scott, Brandon Siler and Charlie Whitehurst will not suit up for San Diego.
The lineup changes listed are Josh Barrett starting at safety for the Broncos and Jacob Hester starting at fullback for the Chargers.
4:20: Some more Chargers ran onto the field, and there were some audible boos among the cheers — the Broncos are well represented in the fan department, as well.
OK, here come the pictures.
4:50 p.m. PT: NOTE: You can watch a live interactive broadband broadcast of tonight’s game on NFL.com. Click here to head to the page.
The teams are on the field running plays in their respective end zones. Music is pumping through the speakers and fans are funneling into their seats as the sun is setting in San Diego. It’s almost game time.
5:11 p.m. PT: You can tell this game is big time — pretty big spectacle for the National Anthem. The singer is from the Broadway play Wicked, and pyrotechnics went off when she got to “…the rocket’s red glare…”. Needless to say the crowd went crazy, and with the smoke in the air after the fireworks, it definitely feels like game time.
Just moments away…
5:21 p.m. PT: The Chargers introduced their defensive starters, and now the captains are meeting at midfield for the coin toss. The Broncos chose tails — it’s heads. The Chargers elect to receive. See you in the first quarter blog.
-Gray Caldwell, DenverBroncos.com