When the Broncos take on the San Diego Chargers this Sunday, fans in attendance at Sports Authority Field at Mile High will receive a Gameday program featuring cornerback Champ Bailey on the cover.
The cover story, titled “Still the Standard,” looks at Bailey’s decade-plus of dominance in the NFL, beginning with his first game in the league.
Every Hall-of-Fame career has to start somewhere.
It just so happened cornerback Champ Bailey’s started with an interception off a Hall of Fame quarterback.
In the very first game of his career, Bailey – then a Washington Redskin – was matched up against another legend in Michael Irvin for the majority of the day against the Dallas Cowboys.
“You’ve got to think, since I was little, Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, Emmitt Smith, I’d looked up to them,” Bailey said. “That was a surreal moment. You don’t get an opportunity like that to play against guys you really watched and liked growing up.”
He had mixed results in the contest, as Irvin notched five catches for 122 yards and two touchdowns.
But Bailey, ever the competitor, wanted to make sure it was known that those scores weren’t against him – he was on the sideline late in the game with cramps. And in addition to five tackles in his first-ever game, he snared the Aikman interception – a fitting start for the now 11-time Pro Bowler.
“I felt like I belonged at that moment,” he said. “You pick a Hall of Fame quarterback – not a lot of people can say they did that. It was a special moment for me.”
The program also features Q&As with tight end Joel Dreessen and Secondary Coach Ron Milus.
The cover story will be published on DenverBroncos.com in its entirety next week. Below is an early look at the cover.