Broncos’ success the talk of the Vail Valley |

Broncos’ success the talk of the Vail Valley

Scott N. Miller |

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – What a difference a few weeks can make.

In September and October, Sunday afternoons at Bob’s Place were reserved for fans of other National Football League teams. Bob’s has all the games on its TVs, so displaced fans – many of whom follow the Green Bay Packers – could catch their favorite teams there. Fans of the then-struggling Denver Broncos were a rare sight.

But as the season wore on, there seemed to be a few more Broncos fans in the house every week, sharing the excitement of a team on the rise.

“There’s been a lot more interest in recent weeks,” said Chris Doyle of Bob’s Place. “People are loving it – two guys at the bar this afternoon gave a toast.”

The fans at the bar were toasting Denver quarterback Tim Tebow, who’s played the leading public role in the team’s return to the spotlight.

Tebow, he of the strange throwing motion, punishing running style and strong – some say overbearing – Christian faith, has baffled critics and thrilled supporters ever since he took over the starting role in the team’s fifth game.

At E-Town in Edwards Thursday afternoon, Patriots fan Eric Borgerson fell firmly into the “baffled” category. He said the Broncos were “lucky” to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers last week, and – good fan that he is – fully expects his Pats to have their way with the Denver team Saturday.

But Broncos fan Danny Glover said “the Broncos are going to roll,” Saturday.

Borgerson, Glover and others at the bar all follow different teams, but agreed that the hype surrounding Tebow has gotten out of hand, especially on ESPN.

But, Glover said, it’s been a long time since there’s been a Broncos team this exciting.

Jim Carlton, one of the barbers at the Riverwalk Barbershop, and a longtime Broncos fan, agreed that this season is the most exciting since at least since 2005 – the last time the team made the playoffs.

The difference this year is Tebow. Thanks to fans from his days at the University of Florida, and the fans who may not follow football but do share his faith, Tebow would have a built-in cheering section no matter where he played.

“I think (Tebow has a lot of people watching who wouldn’t be watching football otherwise,” Carlton said.

Amanda Jessen is one of those people.

“I used to think Sunday afternoons were nap time,” she said. “But I’m watching now.”

But Jessen has a bit more than a rooting interest. She’s the wife of Andy Jessen, one of the partners in Eagle’s Bonfire Brewing, which made national news a few weeks ago when it rolled out its “Tebrew” barley wine. That brew has made Bonfire a popular spot with fans – and has drawn fire from some social media critics who say Bonfire has blasphemed by associating Tebow with – gasp! – an alcoholic beverage.

But Tebrew has been the most successful product Bonfire has had in its short history, but mostly for the gear sporting the brew’s logo.

During the Pittsburgh game, Jessen couldn’t be at Bonfire’s tasting room in Eagle – whe was too busy packing up T-shirts, mugs and other items for shipping. Tebrew logo stuff has gone to virtually every state, she said.

But football’s a team sport, and Dave Wilkison said he’s had a great time watching this team lately.

“That was a helluva game Sunday,” he said. “This one should be good, too.”

Responding to a question on the Vail Daily’s Facebook page, Rae Jensan seemed to sum up the mood of the fans:

“Totally didn’t expect they would win, and don’t expect it this week, but who knows? They definitely seem to have some sort of ‘divine intervention’ going on!”

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