Can Broncos fans keep black and yellow out of their sea of orange?

Jan 9, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; A fan waves a Pittsburgh Steelers "terrible towel" before the AFC Wild Card playoff football game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone has a price. Everyone.

Be honest, Mr. Broncos Fan. There’s a number out there that would make you do it. You’d sell out, “sell your soul,” so to speak. With one click of a button, you’d give up that precious playoff ticket to anyone – for the right price.

Hey, I’m not judging, just speaking the truth. And I’m sure there are some of you out there who, after reading what I’ve just written, have already sent me an angry response. Question your integrity as a Broncos fan? Never. No way. Not acceptable. How dare I?

Well, I dare. I know, not until hell freezes over would you knowingly give up your tickets, no matter the price, to one of those Terrible Towel-toting tyrants from Pittsburgh. I call B.S.

I’m not questioning your integrity. I’m not saying you’re not going to the game, or that you’re actively trying to get rid of your ducats, either. I’m just saying that you’re human, that there’s a number out there, and you’d take it. I’m not talking about selling your first-born child, just a pair of Broncos tickets.

Suppose Mark Cuban, dressed loudly in black and yellow (for some odd, hypothetical reason) shows up at your doorstep with a briefcase full of cash. “Name your price,” he says.

Look left. Make sure the neighbor with the Broncos Country flag flying proudly from his porch isn’t outside shoveling the driveway. Look right. Be certain that Bill and Betty, who prefer orange and blue “Christmas” lights, aren’t busy painting “Go Broncos” on the windows of the family truckster. Nobody’s looking?

“Step inside, Mr. Cuban.”

The story is as predictable as death and taxes. The nightly news (for those of you who still watch it for some reason), teases you Broncos fans with the unthinkable: “With absurd prices on the secondary market, Mile High Stadium might be littered with Terrible Towels.” The interview clips are sure to follow: John from Thornton says he’d rather die. Dale from Commerce City says his father – rest his soul – would turn over in his grave. Judy from Highlands Ranch already turned down a four-figure offer; she and her kids, Judy Jr. and Jimmy Jr., are goin’, gosh darn it.

Oh, thank goodness. There are still decent human beings living in Denver.

But rest assured, there will be towels waving come Sunday. Maybe not a lot, but there will be. And it’s the Internet’s fault, too. Damn you, Al Gore. Some nameless, faceless jerk with a credit card is somehow finding that ticket and staining our sea of orange.

It’s not ideal, but it’s okay. It’s 2016, folks. Of course someone from Pittsburgh will get into the stadium. Of course they’ll wave that terrible, Terrible Towel.

This is not to say you’re not a good Broncos fan. You are. It’s not to say that John and Judy and Dale don’t fully intend to go to the game. They do. But the problem stems much further back than this particular week.

Most Johns and Judys were priced out long ago. They kept their season tickets – you have to; the waiting list in always-sold-out Denver is too long – but they had to sell the bulk of them just to afford the few they really wanted to see. Or, maybe they rolled the dice, putting the tab on a credit card and hoping like hell the Broncos made the playoffs, just so that they could hock that one postseason pair that could pay off the balance. Ticket brokers have been scooping them up since Day 1. It’s just the reality of life. You might be a Broncos fan, but can you truly afford to be one who attends, no matter the price? Probably not. In case you haven’t noticed lately, the South Stands are no longer filled with South Standers.

When old Mile High Stadium was demolished, so too were the ideals and innocence that came along with being a true Broncos fan. That was when Denver was still Denver – before club seats, before we became L.A. East or Chicago South, before it took more than two hours to drive to Loveland ski resort on a Saturday. It’s sad but true – the good Broncos fans can no longer keep the bad ones out. They’re just outnumbered. It’s what happened when the rest of the country began to realize that our city is just flat-out better than theirs.

Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post reported that tickets on the secondary market were priced as low as $170 and as high as $11,421. There was even a StubHub “outlier” of $100,000.

One-hundred-thousand? I love the Broncos, but sign me up. I’d buy an orange leather couch and a fat, fat big-screen TV, and I’d sport a smile a smile bigger than John Elway’s from kickoff to the final gun.

Anyone can price any ticket however they’d like on the Internet. That doesn’t mean it actually sells. Of course it won’t fetch $100K.

But, hey, maybe that’s just somebody’s number. Everyone has one.

SHARE