Hearing the shrill tone of an alarm clock may be the worst part of the day for some commuters traveling down to Denver for work. Instead of music to the ears, it's a dreaded sound.
Although experiencing a morning in Denver, Colorado is a blessing. The sun slowly rising over the Mile High City, casting a cool pink glaze and orange glow over the skyscrapers with an appearance that Instagram can't even create a proper filter to replicate.
Not all buildings in Denver are welcoming this orange glow however. Especially the one located at 1701 Bryant Street with a pure, white bronco statue at the peak of the stadium. Normally a beautiful sight to witness; now it's an embarrassing reminder of the fateful January 12th night.
Driving past Sports Authority Field can't be pleasing on the eyes of Bronco fans, especially after the last game involved Joe Flacco and the eventual Super Bowl champions defeating the Broncos on a fluke desperation heave that resulted in nonstop highlights for days.
Yes, yes, Bronco fans haven't forgotten about how close they were to advancing in the playoffs. How close they were to winning it all. How close they were to being the best in the league.
As if traveling past Sports Authority Field wasn't a big enough headache, now there is a vile banner of Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco displayed over the face of the stadium.
Due to the start of the annual Kickoff Game of the season, the league is making a point to promote both teams participating Thursday night. It just happens to be that the Broncos are playing the team that won by a highlight for the decade throw and catch.
This as you might imagine, has caused an uproar by Bronco Nation.
Instead of just whining on social media, some Bronco fans have actually responded in a polite way. Creating a Change.org petition to have the fifty-foot Flacco taken down.
"How dare the NFL put a giant 40 foot poster of Joe Flacco on our Mile High Stadium. You can see his face from Colorado Springs! How dare they! AND you plastered 16th Street Mall with Flacco banners? I will not stand for this grave injustice! We must join forces as Broncos fans, nay, as *Broncos Country* to put an end to these most audacious and detestable acts. Send a message to the NFL by signing this most sacred change.org petition." - Bronco Nation.
Maybe polite isn't the perfect term.
Other comments by Bronco faithful include:
"BECAUSE MY TAXES PAID FOR THAT STADIUM, AND I DON'T WANT TO SEE ANY OPPOSING TEAMS SIGNS ON IT!!!"
"This is Broncos Country not Flacco Country. It’s a disgrace to all Bronco fans, City and our beloved Broncos... After how lucky the Ravens got last year in the playoffs to beat us in the first round only to win the Super Bowl when it should of been us, This is a bitch slap in the face to every Bronco fan. Someone should be fired for this and if it was my decision I would choose Mr. Goodell! Roger Goodell is a scumbag for even allowing such a slap in the face. I'm just disgusted."
"This is not a neutral site game. This is a Broncos home game and it should be treated like one."
The petition has over 4,000 signatures.
I may be outnumbered at least 4,000 to one, but guess what, I, Evan J. Batten a Denver native, Bronco fan, and an admirer of pure football talent want to Flacco poster to stay right where it is. At least until after Thursday night that is.
Why on Earth would I say that?
After all it is our house! Our stadium! The pride of Denver, the thundering of fans during the game, the echoes of 77,000+ individuals all shouting, "IN-COM-PLETE!" after every incompletion.
Yes, our stadium is the home of the Broncos. They must protect this house, and a gigantic decal of the incredibly dull quarterback of the Ravens is absolutely ugly with the orange rays of the sun shining down on it.
I propose a minor change.
Keep a poster there, but change it to Flacco hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.
The shimmering metallic idol that should have reflected the large forehead of #18 in February instead.
"We should have won." I guarantee every Bronco fan has thought this at least once over the past thirty-three weeks from the 12th on January to this very moment.
It has been a very long time. Over 234 days to be exact that Bronco fans have been left to ponder what would have happened had we won.
Perhaps Flacco wouldn't have signed a monster six-year contract worth $120.6 million with a $29 million signing bonus. Maybe Flacco should think about buying his own fifty-foot banner of himself to drape over his mansion while NFL analysts and fans alike will argue over whether he is or isn't consider in the NFL's elite quarterback group. (FYI he isn't)
Perhaps Manning would know for sure that he chose the right team for the second part of his career. Perhaps sure-fire Hall of Famer Champ Bailey would have retired on top, with the elusive diamond-studded ring on his finger, cementing him as one of the greatest cornerbacks of all-time. Perhaps Elway would further establish himself as a God in the NFL world, this time through the front office of a team’s success. Perhaps the 2012 Broncos would have gone down in NFL history as one of the greatest teams of all-time?
I could go on, and on about what could have happened, chances are most Bronco fans will have their own opinions as well. After all, we have had over thirty-three weeks and counting to think it through. The counting stops on Thursday night.
Thursday night is more than just the start of a new season. The entire league will be able to witness the very wealthy quarterback who has his own body detailed up on the stadium in another city try to push the Bronco defense around for the second straight time.
This is why I think the NFL should keep the banner up. Come Thursday night, every single Bronco fan and player will be thinking, "Payback time."
Seeing the monster drape dangling in the wind infuriates us.
How will we express our anger in a more satisfying outlet compared to commenting on a petition online?
We will yell.
We will yell as a whole. As a city and a fan base.
In fact, 77,000 fans will yell in unison on Thursday night against the Ravens that I predict the announcers will struggle to talk over the vast amount of booing of the crowd once the purple uniforms are spotted on the field.
The crowd won't stop yelling.
There will be a time during the game when the Ravens have possession on third down. Flacco will be approaching the center with the warm mile high summer breeze tainted with the smell of beer, hot dogs, hamburgers, and hate stinging him. The Bronco defense will be adjusting, shouting out changes to the play, and rapidly rotating around the field.
During the very few seconds before yelling, "Hike!" can you guess what he hear?
He won't be able to hear anything over the sound of Bronco Nation bellowing out and thundering the air around them.
With the banner of Flacco up against the stadium, the average viewer may not be able to see whom it belongs to. But they'll be able to hear whom it belongs to.
Take note NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
You wanted to celebrate the start of the season by promoting both teams. In reality, you just doused the already ticking time bomb in the heart of every Denver fan with gasoline and you'll give us the match when we see the Baltimore Ravens take the field for the first time.
Goodell should make sure that every "Game of the week" has a banner from an opposing player on the home stadium. Imagine the rage in the hearts of Chicago Bear fans if they woke up to State Farm celebrity and Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers suspended over Solider Field?
Imagine hearing the wrath of 75,000+ fans each week as they root on and root against the two forces preparing for war on the gridiron.
It may just be music to your ears. Unless you're a fan of the other team that is.
Follow Evan J. Batten on Twitter @EBattenSports