11:00 p.m. MST: Here we are, the final home game of the regular season at INVESCO Field at Mile High. The cheerleaders just finished practicing on the field, and the stadium staff is shoveling up a little bit of snow from around the player bench areas.
I’m back to live blogging the games, because as we’ve documented in the past, we in the Internet/Publications department are a superstitious bunch. I’ve got a decent record when I’m the blogger. Fellow intern Jake Grilley and I are even in the same seating arrangement from the last home game — a victory against Kansas City.
It’s nice and chilly out there — good football weather, but if you’re coming to watch the game, make friends with the person next to you because it’s going to be cold.
There are orange pom-poms in every seat, awaiting the capacity crowd’s arrival. I’m excited to see a sea of orange as the Broncos battle to clinch the AFC West and host a playoff game.
12:13 p.m. MST: The Buccaneers just brought the score to 17-10, trailing the Chargers by a touchdown. The game is on in the press box for obvious reasons, but as far as I’m concerned, that score is irrelevant. I agree with fans that say regardless of how you get into the playoffs, if you’re there you deserve it. But I think the Broncos should just take care of business today and everything will work itself out.
What do all of you think?
Jake Grilley is down on the field getting some pictures of warm-ups. You can see the players’ breath all the way from the press box. Needless to say, it’s cold. I’ll go down to get pictures from him in about 25 minutes.
12:56 p.m. MST: Just got the inactives for today’s game: Tim Crowder, Chad Jackson, Niko Koutouvides, Spencer Larsen, Marlon McCree, Pat Murray, Andrew Pinnock and Jack Williams will sit out this afternoon.
Looks like Champ Bailey will in fact be active against the Bills. Josh Barrett is listed as the starter in McCree’s stead.
As for the Bills, Demetrius Bell, Jabari Greer, James Hardy, Teddy Lehman, J.P. Losman, Jason Peters, Jonathan Scott and Jonathan Stupar will be inactive.
Leodis McKelvin will start at right corner for Greer and Kirk Chambers will start at left tackle for Peters.
1:00 p.m. MST: I’m editing the photos right now. I’ll post them in a few minutes.
1:30 p.m. MST: Both teams are on the field in full warm-up mode — the Broncos in their blue jerseys and white pants — the Bills in white jerseys and white pants. Champ Bailey was just warming up, playing corner against Eddie Royal for a few quick route practices.
Fans are arriving all bundled up — plenty of Broncos Santa hats are all around as well. We’re about a half-hour away from kickoff.
1:55 p.m. MST: The Bills have alraedy been introduced and now the Broncos are running onto the field between the line of Denver Broncos Cheerleaders. The starting defense is being introduced first. Ebenezer Ekuban is brought out first, followed by Dewayne Robertson, Marcus Thomas, Elvis Dumervil, D.J. Williams, Nate Webster, Jamie Winborn, Champ Bailey, Dre’ Bly, Marquand Manuel and Josh Barrett.
2:01 p.m. MST: At the end of the National Anthem, a group of F-16s flew overhead. That got Brandon Marshall going, as he was leaping in the air and high fiving teammates just afterward. It’s almost game time, as Rod Smith heads out to the field to address the fans on Fan Appreciation Day. He thanks the fans and his family: “I appreciate you taking care of me. I’m always going to be there, and go Broncos!”
The captains are marching onto the field — it’s time for the coin toss. Rod Smith is an honorary captain. I’ll tell you what happens in the first quarter blog.
-Gray Caldwell, DenverBroncos.com