A few weeks ago I was crusing Ticketmaster looking for some Clay Aiken tickets (don't say a word) and what do I spot? An opportunity to purchase tickets to attend the Denver Broncos Fan Fair. The ad said you can have your picture made with players, the Lombardi trophy and get many autographs from the players. Since I have never met a professional football player before I thought this might be my shot. Now, I am a die hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan.
After last year's loss to the Steelers at home, one game away from the Super Bowl, I knew my Polamalu jersey was just not the thing to wear. So why not pretend to be a Broncos fan for just one weekend???I ordered several things on Ebay I deemed necessary to pull this off. First was something for the players to sign. What better than a limited edition white panel football that has all the championships and playoff wins printed on it? Next I needed attire. After many hours of searching I came across a t-shirt someone had made that says, "If you are not a Broncos fan, you must be a jack-ass." It had a lovely picture of a donkey with boots and overalls on. I also found a #85 jersey...not sure who that is but it is cheap so I get it also. That should do it. I call up 3 of my friends and ask them to go with me just in case I would blow my cover once inside the Invesco confines by shouting, "My Steelers beat the living @#*^ out of your precious little ponies!"... always good to have backup.
Only one friend agreed to ride with me the first day of Fan Fair (I suspect everyone knows I have road rage just as bad as Jake Plummer). Ok, so I was a little anxious and arrived two hours before the event. But boy does arriving early pay off! I got some free orange milk that made me want to puke and I got a Broncos alumni's autograph as he pushed his walker across the parking lot.Finally, the gates open. This was just not the event I had envisioned. After 2 hours in line I had 3 autographs...some big hairy offensive lineman, a coach of some sort and Ian Gold. Ian turned out to be the one bright spot of my weekend. He was very sweet and had far less bling than the others. He actually thanked me for coming out. Poor man has no idea I really want to ask him how it felt to have Jerome Bettis run over him.There was a large commotion and many fans started racing for an autograph line. I ask someone who was signing and I was told Champ Bailey. Well alright, a big time player, let's go! Three hours later I had Ron Dayne's autograph. It seems the players would only sign for one hour and them move on. So at this point I have stood in lines for 7 hours. My feet hurt...my back hurts and I am getting angry. I had walked all over looking to have my picture made with the Lombardi trophy. I have no idea where that was going on. The line to have your picture made with a player was even longer than the autograph lines and I seriously doubted those players would appreciate a whiff of me at this point.
I could stand no longer, so we left around 4:30pm...30 minutes before the event ended for the day. I was in pain driving home, in pain sleeping, just in pain period. The next morning was not any better. Three of my four friends called one hour before we were to leave to cancel. They said they felt like they had been hit by a train. Wimps! Finally, I convinced one friend to go for only three hours. This would be a new day! I know my way around the stadium now and I also know not to drink orange milk.Standing in line outside waiting for them to open up the gates I notice a guy signing that looks like Jay Cutler. Well, I am positive it is Jay. So I tell my friend to stay in line while I run over to get him to sign my ball. Jay Cutler is the main reason I came to this event. I think he is great. Even with his shaggy dog hair. I stand and wait for him to get close...stick my ball out and he takes it!!! Holy Bronco! I am about to get Jay Cutler's signature on my ball! He hands it back and I say, "Thank you Mr. Cutler." He looks at me like I am from another planet. Finally, he says, "I am not Jay Cutler, I am Rob, an offensive lineman." Please God, let the earth open and swallow me! I could not tell an NFL QB from an O-lineman. He really didn't look big...I swear! I looked him up on my roster sheet I had printed off on the internet and Rob is a practice squad o-lineman. Maybe they don't get fed as well as the starting o-lineman, maybe that is why I thought he was a QB. Whatever, as you can imagine my day was off to a bang of a start.I get in the 1st autograph line I come to and there is Darrent Williams. I like him. After two hours standing in line when I got up to the table I had a punter that looked like he was 18 years old and guaranteed not to make the team, another offensive lineman and Gerard Warren.
In line I had overheard someone say they had asked someone when Plummer, Lynch, Smith, Cutler and all the other stars would arrive to sign and he was told they would be in around 2pm on Sunday. The event ends at 5pm! They show up for a whole 3 hours out of 14! Now I feel cheated. What is the point really? So that was it, I walked out of Fan Fair. I just think it is a joke to have mainly practice squad players and 6th string tight ends signing for the fans. Chances are they will not make the team. So I would like to thank the Denver Broncos organization for my heat stroke, a serious case of indigestion from the orange milk and for a ball signed by every 3rd-6th string player not yet on the team. Rob Hunt, I apologize for thinking you were Cutler. Ian Gold, thank you for being such a sweetheart. But next year, I think I would rather stay at home and polish all of my Steelers memoribilia.