This is a great day for the local, regional and national legions of Denver Broncos fans, with the first practice of the new camp leading into the so highly anticipated 2013 season.
The Broncos come into this year with the highest of expectations, but you can never have high hopes without being followed by the glow of media.
So be it, we would not want it any other way.
Because no matter how high a fan sets his goals, no matter how much a fan wants to win, you think any of us wants to win any more than Pat Bowlen, John Elway, John Fox and Peyton Manning?
I can tell you, from long experience with Pat and John Elway, and it’s so obvious with Peyton and Coach Fox—these guys are crazed, obsessive, singular in purpose.
Nothing drives them off course, and certainly not the press horde that will follow us.
This is really, really exciting, and for me to say that, well, I have seen a few camps.
This is my 36th, and at lunch today Coach Fox and I were talking about the way things used to be, having good-natured chuckles about all the changes, all natural products of social and technological developments.
My first camp was with the Broncos in Fort Collins in 1978.
The Broncos were the defending American Football Conference champions, and it was 36 years ago, but in so many ways it seems like just last week.
This was before the NFL owners and the Players Association had negotiated many of the things in effect today, and it was well before so may developments relative to caring for the body.
So there was no one practice a day, practice in shells, walkthroughs, and so forth.
It was living in a dorm room, no TV unless you brought your own, two practices a day, morning and afternoon, no matter how hot it got.
Full pads, both practices, every day.
Contact at virtually every practice, with contact drills usually starting it off.
No water on the field. Instead, and I am not kidding, there would be a popsicle break halfway through practice.
I can tell you everyone made a mad rush to the popsicles when they were put out, because that was literally the only fluid consumed on the field.
Things changed fast to meet new medical information, of course, but that is how it was back in 1978.
And in the exhibition games, the veterans played a lot, way more than today.
But now we have so many things that make the game better. The medical and physiological advances are obvious.
But also, due to the training facilities lifting programs, offseason OTAs and minicamps, today’s athlete is so much more prepared to play and to practice at the start of camp that is is just a lot easier—and better, physically and psychologically, to lighten the load of camp as it exists in 2013.
But it is still football, still the most popular game with the NFL, the most popular league in American history.
Every Gallop and Harris poll taken from 1966 to the present has had respondents cite pro football and the NFL as their favorite sport.
Media wise, in 1978 we had daily newspapers, local TV and some radio.
Now we have multiples of that, to say nothing of the web sites, with the news cycle going to a literal 24/7/365.
And the most popular topics, here in Denver and nationally, remain pro football with a massive local dose of Denver Broncos.
And the new season, with all the excitement, hopes and expectations, is upon us.
Training camp 2013. Let’s go!!!
Tags: Training Camp