Broncos Fever spreading across high country | VailDaily.com
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Broncos Fever spreading across high country

Eagle County residents Brady Lemon, Sean Bartlett and Laura McClanathan are ready for the Broncos matchup with the New England Patriots on Sunday, Jan 24. Bartlett and McClanathan coordinated their orange and blue for a day at Vail while Lemon wore brown to represent the football itself.
John LaConte | jlaconte@vaildail

GAMEDAY:

What: AFC Championship game between Denver Broncos and New England Patriots.

When: Sunday, Jan. 24, 1:05 p.m.

Where: Sports Authority Field and Mile High, Denver.

EAGLE COUNTY — Sunday’s matchup in Denver between the Broncos and New England Patriots will send one team to the Super Bowl. Around the valley, excitement is high for the home team.

“I’m super stoked,” said Ian Mundy, of Edwards. “I think having home field advantage is huge.”

The AFC Championship game will be the 17th time quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have met (Brady leads the all-time matchup, 11-5). In four playoff meetings, the two are tied, 2-2.

“I think it’s fantastic,” said Ani Lopez, of Avon. “I really hope they go to the Super Bowl. The last time they were there it was pretty sad.”

“I really hope they go to the Super Bowl. The last time they were there it was pretty sad.”Ani LopezAvon

‘MANNING’S THE MAN’

Manning’s future is up in the air, but Broncos Nation is happy to have him back.

“I think Manning is going to do fine, as long as he doesn’t pressure things,” said Jim Carlton, master barber at The Riverwalk Barbershop in Edwards. “I think it’s a good call starting Manning. It’s really a no-brainer to me.”

With Brock Osweiler in the shadows, it could be the end of an era for Manning, but Broncos fans are rallying behind the 39-year-old quarterback.

“Manning’s the man,” Mundy said. “Brock’s the future.”

PATRIOTS BEEF

In 2014, the Broncos beat the Patriots at Mile High, 26-16, to advance to the Super Bowl, and the two teams have represented the AFC in the Super Bowl three of the past four years.

What do Broncos fans think of Brady and the Patriots? Well, a lot of it isn’t suitable to be printed, and the “cheaters” word was thrown around more than once.

“I don’t like him. I think he’s pompous, and I think he’s spoiled,” said Oliver Gauthier, who grew up near New England but has been a Broncos fan his whole life. “The reason I love Peyton Manning is because he doesn’t have the luxuries that Tom Brady has.”

Love him or hate him, there seems to be some mutual respect for the four-time Super Bowl champion.

“He’s one of the best quarterbacks that’s played the game,” Carlton said. “People don’t realize, though, that he’s only a year younger than Manning. It doesn’t seem like that.”

Evan Maccani is from New Hampshire but goes to school in Colorado. He was skiing at Beaver Creek on Friday in his Rob Gronkowski jersey.

“I’m surrounded by Broncos fans at my house in Boulder, so there’s a lot of negative energy toward the Patriots. It’s pretty fun.”

Across Eagle County, Broncos and Patriots fans alike will flock to bars and restaurants to scream and yell, or some of them said they will watch from the comfort of their own home.

“Everybody’s so cranked about the game,” Carlton said. “We got a chance to make it to the big show, so everybody’s talking about the Broncos. Of course, most everybody coming in here is picking Denver.”

Reporter Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2915 and rleonhart@vaildaily.com. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.


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