Vail Valley Voices: Surviving the Bronco collapse |

Vail Valley Voices: Surviving the Bronco collapse

Greg Ziccardi
Vail, CO, Colorado

Talk about all of us getting along. I chose to visit a bar in Denver for the first NFL playoff game. I haven’t done this in years and was real happy I drove down to hang with hardcores.

There was nothing but love, peace and happiness, and eventually the tab. I was buying, he was buying, and they were buying for us. People who didn’t drink were buying for them.

The hugs and high fives were all afternoon. The atmosphere was electric, euphoric and friendly. I was a kid again, rooting for my favorite players, who looked so big on television.

I looked around for my dad, but he was watching from heaven and arguing with God during commercials. He kept pleading, “Is it really fair the Browns did nothing while I was alive?”

After a stellar season, our beloved Broncos were now only two games away from the trip to New Orleans and the Super Bowl. We would settle for nothing less. I think I was getting ahead of myself.

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On this particular Saturday, we needed to get past the team with a mascot that feeds on road kill. I like nothing about this team or their city. Baltimore and their fans live by the motto “The bigger the crime, the more we adore that you never did time.” (Love you, Ray.)

As soon we win this one, I thought, the hated New England Patriots are invited to town. We dispose of them, their high hopes, and shoo them back to Liberal Land. (Boston, a city that truly believes they influence the Western World. Not.)

After those w wins, we are off to New Orleans to beat up on the San Francisco 49ers, home of Nancy “oink queen of California” Pelosi. Just for that reason alone the Broncos will be kicking some butt, taking names and celebrating world champion status that evening.

Well, unless your name is Yogi and you’re living in a cave, you know the Broncos never got past that Saturday and the only thing that is accurate about my playoff scenario is the fact that I was in a bar.

That the Broncos disappointed us had no serious effect on the masses across Colorado and the extended Rocky Mountain region on that Saturday afternoon. I’m not aware of any heart attacks, suicides, beatings, murders or related deaths, but I did see a lot of people crying. A lot of innocence was lost that day.

I interviewed a few souls after the game, and this is some of what I heard: “Young lady, why are you crying?” “Eric Decker is so cute” she sniffed. “I won’t see him in those tight pants until next season … and when he rips that helmet off on the sideline to celebrate, oh, I can only imagine….”

“Sir, you sir. Why are sobbing uncontrollably?” “I bet the Broncos and my wife told me to take the points and the Ravens. She is going to kill me. I fear for my life tonight.”

The placed cleared out pretty quickly. A few drunken stragglers were left “making love to their tonic and gin.” I saw a fellow sitting in a corner booth by himself and he seemed troubled for a different reason.

I approached and asked, “You a big Bronco fan?”

“No. I’m from Oakland. I own this place and when the Broncos win I make money. Now please leave me alone.”

I said to the little sourpuss, “If you owned this place in Oakland, you wouldn’t have made a dime for years. Have a nice day, you little prickly face.”

A lot of people called me the next day wondering how I was doing after the devastating results.

I repeated to family, friends and co-workers: “I’m O K. I did my share of screaming, pleading and praying during the game just like everyone else. When it’s over, I walk away. I go to work the next day. It has no personal impact on me. I haven’t invested a nickel in some of the best entertainment my money did not buy. But they better get a running back or next year I’m going to burn a car after a loss like that.”

Greg Ziccardi can be reached at

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