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From Broncos Country to the Big Apple: Excited fans make last-minute trek to NYC

Scenes from Denver International Airport on Jan. 31, 2014
Scenes from Denver International Airport on Jan. 31, 2014
Andrew Demo

With the Super Bowl mere days away, Denver International Airport was decked out in orange and blue Friday morning, as Broncomaniacs scrambled to make it to New York for the big game.

Jan 31, 2014: An excited fan waits at baggage check before heading to New York for the Super Bowl
Andrew Demo

For some a late-night snow storm delayed their voyage to the Empire State slightly; but people didn’t seem to let this dampen their spirits.

“We’ve waited over a decade to get back to the Super Bowl,” said Arvada resident Travis Jones. “What’s a few more hours?”

Frustration was trumped by jubilation on this day. Anticipation for the chance of a lifetime to see their team play live on the biggest of stages.

“I can’t tell you how excited I was to find out I was going,” said Wes King from Castle Pines. “Well before we found out the Broncos were going; although we were confident they were gonna make it. When they did, it just made it that much better.”

DIA, for its’ part, did their best to send Broncos faithful to the Tri State Area properly, adorning their corridors with balloons and decorations.

“Go Broncos!” called the attendant (with pom-poms in hand) over the intercom at gate C38, much to the delight of waiting passengers.

From the trains, to baggage claim, to the security lines; everybody was getting caught up in Broncomania. There were even cheerleaders present to the delight of travelers eager to wash the taste of the overtime loss against Baltimore last season out of their mouths.

“I went to the debacle last year against the Ravens,” said Denver resident Dave Mittan. “Honestly, I was depressed. At the end of the game everybody was in shock.”

For many, the cheering didn’t end once the plane was boarded. Passengers attempted to do “the wave” and “let’s go Broncos” chants echoed in the cabin. Even the Detroit-based flight crew got into the fun; playing to the crowd on the intercom at every opportunity.

For one such passenger, the trip represented a dream scenario; pitting her two favorite teams against each other. Now residing in Denver, Stephanie Gripne was born in Port Angeles, Wash. to a family that had been in Colorado for four generations.

“My grandparents were in Loveland and Greeley growing up,” said Gripne. “So I spent all my summers going to Broncos training camp as a kid.”

Gripne was asked by a friend a mere week earlier if she wanted to head to New York for the game, and it was an opportunity she just could not pass up.

“The first game I ever went to growing up was Broncos and Seahawks, and I cried I was so excited and so torn,” she said. “So I can’t imagine how it will be at the Super Bowl.”

“I like the Broncos this much more,” she replied coyly when asked who she was rooting for, holding her fingers inches apart. “You can barely see it with a microscope.”

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