Having attending my first Broncos game in 2001, I never got to experience the Elway era in person. I’ve heard stories of the fabled “Mile High Magic” and for the better part of the last decade, I’ve faithfully gone to the home games in hopes to experience the magic first-hand. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve witnessed greatness at Mile High (the 2005 New England Patriots playoff game comes to mind) – where I’ve tasted the magic.
To me the Mile High Magic is that euphoric feeling at the stadium when you tell yourself “Sure we’re down, but we’ve got this. We’ve got …” I’ve seen some pretty incredible wins at the new Mile High, but typically they’ve come in the “Oh my God, I can’t believe they pulled it off.” fashion.
That all changed on Sunday night. Going into the 2nd half, down by 3: the magic was there. We got this.
It would be easy to say it was all because of Peyton Freaking Manning (or PFM), and he definitely played a large role in this. This is different than Tebow. A charismatic character, Tebow didn’t necessarily inspire confidence, but more along the lines of “How did we pull THAT off?!?”. Starting deep in our territory, PFM resonated “Be patient. We got this. Let’s make it happen.”
The minute I walked into Mile High on Sunday, things felt different. No longer were fans polarized over a QB (although I did hear a Tebow-lover bash Peyton early in the 1st quarter, who was then quickly silenced by a great “3rd & long” conversion). People were there to see the Broncos succeed, believing PFM – along with the rest of the talent on the roster – would bring us there. People were actually quiet on offense and cheered at the right time. People finally rallied around the team, saving the animosity for the arrogant and obnoxious Steeler fans. With the rightful return of the primary color, Mile High Stadium once again became a unifying sea of orange. That was the moment I felt the Mile High Magic return to our stadium.
I’m not saying that the Broncos will go undefeated and win the Super Bowl. This team definitely has a lot of room for improvement and will definitely see adversity throughout the fall. At the same time, this was the first time in a very long time when fans were unified under their love for this team, the players and our hopes for this coming year. It made these last 4+ years in the desert worth it. Our patience has finally been rewarded, with a stadium experience that is finally enjoyable again.