Grandma got run over by a … Dolphin?

Nov 1, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; A general view of Empower Field at Mile High before the game between the Denver Broncos and the Los Angeles Chargers. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

You can’t have Grandma over for Thanksgiving.

And you definitely aren’t going to be slamming shots of Wild Turkey with her at the bar across the street past 8 p.m.

But you can sure bring her down to Empower Field at Mile High for the Broncos-Dolphins game this Sunday, just four days before the big feast.

Last week, when pontificating on the dangers of Thanksgiving dinner, Colorado governor Jared Polis famously said: “The more family members that make that decision to self-quarantine, the more likely it is that you’re not bringing a loaded pistol for Grandma’s head.”

You want to share Thanksgiving with loved ones? No problem. Don’t work. Don’t workout. And don’t go to the store to buy that turkey.

This week, the governor has been busily finding new and better ways to effectively kill restaurants and small businesses across his state. It’s all in the name of public safety and curbing the spread of the Corona Virus – and there are no guns involved – but suggestions like cancelling social plans outside of immediate family, restrictions like “10 percent or 10 people” for restaurants or gyms or eliminating indoor dining – are measures that will surely put the final nail in the coffin for far too many businesses. If you’ve been keeping up with the color wheel, Colorado has moved into a new phase of COVID-19 precaution:  The phase will be “Red – Severe Risk.”

“All that’s being asked of you is to cancel your social plans with people outside your household for the next few weeks,” Polis pleaded on Nov. 9 “You can do that. You can do that.”

Apparently, a Broncos game isn’t a social plan. Or maybe, the “House that John Built” is considered a “household.” On Sunday, when the Dolphins come to town, 5,700 folks will gather at Empower Field at Mile High. The governor didn’t insist on cancelling those plans, and if anyone could have cancelled them, it would have been him.

Grandma might hold a gun to her own head after watching four quarters of Pat Shurmur’s offense or Tom McMahon’s special teams, but by golly, she’ll be safer than sitting across from you at Thanksgiving dinner.

At a Broncos game after all, social distancing, masks and November sunshine will all be in effect. Nobody will be irresponsibly drinking or high-fiving or bumping into each other on their way to the restroom, concession stand or parking lot. As the governor asked us to do back when it was determined that the Broncos could play in front of fans, we’re supposed to think of a Broncos home game more like a series of “pods of 175 people” rather than 5,700 fans at the stadium.

Ahh. Got it. We should think the Broncos will win by 50 and make the playoffs, too.

Stop right there. This isn’t a suggestion that this game – or any of them – shouldn’t have fans. There should be fans. More fans if you ask me (and I know you didn’t). Nor is it a suggestion that the new measures in Colorado are without merit – they very well could be effective. But something isn’t right here.

I’m a sportsfan and a businessman, too, so I don’t want the Denver Broncos to have financial difficulties any more than I want Blake Street Tavern or  24 Hour Fitness to have the same troubles.

The point isn’t to cheer on the safety measures that are likely to go into place on Friday (except, of course, at the local football stadium) – in fact, it’s anything but that. It is, however, to point out the unbelievable hypocrisy and inconsistency with which decisions are being made in our state. We can all agree that human life is more important than the almighty buck, but it’s fair to ask: Why, in the eyes of the governor, are Broncos bucks more important than those disappearing from thousands of local businesses?

I get it – the Broncos made plans, the people who bought the tickets made plans. Granting fans access back before the Sept. 27 Tampa Bay game isn’t something that’s easily unraveled. Then again, if you don’t think a restaurant owner hasn’t been furiously making plans – food orders, staffing arrangements or rent payments – before yesterday, you’re not looking at the big picture.

I’m sure there is some microscopic, indisputable, scientific evidence that can illustrate why an indoor meal with Grandma is more dangerous than an outside football game alongside 5,699 of your closest friends, but common sense sniffs out something stinkier than an overcooked turducken.

Why do the Broncos get to keep their social plans when you and I do not?

That’s simple.

Any bully can pick on the little guy.

It takes stones to tackle the Broncos.

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