Earlier this week I got a call from a big Broncos fan in New York, “Benny from New York,” as he describes himself.
Sounds like the descriptions given to callers on talk radio. Anyway, Benny is not a Giants or Jets fan, but rather has the Denver Broncos as his adopted favorite team. He calls now and then, and I always enjoy chatting.
This week he reminded me of one of the great truths in the sports world if you work for a team, or if you ARE a team.
“Only care about what the people who love you think,” Benny said.
And I could not agree more.
The Broncos are heading into San Diego coming off a big 49-29 win over the division rival Kansas City Chiefs, and it is no secret we are climbing out of a 2-6 hole that is disappointing to us and all our fans.
When you have a losing record it is pretty easy to gain critics among your own fans, the media, and fans nationwide.
But the single most important people there are the ones who use the terms “we” and “us” when talking about the Broncos. If you are not a “we” or “us” person, you do not mean as much to us as those who are, and you should not.
The biggest single question one ever has to ask oneself about anything in the world — a team, a belief, a relationship — is, “Are you in, or are you out?
If the answer is you’re not sure, you are out. If the answer is you are in sometimes, or depending on team success, you are out.
A friend of mine in local television often jokes that “we are with you, win or tie.” That is kind of amusing, always worth a chuckle, which we always share. But as to where they are in the Broncos family, the answer is those people are out. It is perfectly understandable that there are a great many fans who have their most vocal support when the team wins. That will never change, and it is the same in every city.
But the people who come in numbers well over 70,000 for every home game, they are in. The people who are passionate about everything Broncos, including what color jersey we wear, they are in.
Not to be overly harsh, but sometimes you just have to dismiss the rest of them. The fair weather fans will always come back when you win. The critic is by definition someone looking for something to criticize.
“They” are not “we.” The people who live and work in the building, in the locker room, and who are not visitors in our building and in our stadium, that is our family.
The season ticket holder who supports the team, and who has for years and even decades, is the trunk of the tree that is called fandom.
We are glad to have as many as want to join the bandwagon, always, but never lose sight of the fact that the collective “we” is the core of support.
The Broncos could not be prouder of that group, the team, the players, the coaches, and those fans who were already staking a claim when Broncos Country was still just a territory.
We are family.