Dear Mr. Bowlen,
You don't know me but I am a big fan of of the Denver Broncos. I have been all my life. I was born in the early 70's. I wasn't old enough to really understand what it meant for the Broncos to go to the Superbowl in 1977 but I can still remember the excitement that surrounded that team.
Game day was always joyous. My mom would fix cheese soup and popcorn (a Nebraska tradition, the ultimate football treat) and my family would gather around the TV set to cheer on our Broncos. It seems like those Sundays were the only time there was harmony in the house. Perhaps that is why the memories are so warm.
I don't have to tell you that we suffered through some lean years. It wasn't always easy to be a Broncos fan, but 1977 gave us a sense of identity that we held onto. When the team signed John Elway in 1983, I was old enough to understand that something special had happened. That's when you stepped in and bought the Broncos.
On sunny Sundays I would throw the Nerf football to myself in the front yard and pretend that I was Elway. My only Broncos gear was a well worn Tom Jackson jersey so Tommy became a wide receiver on my one-boy football team, catching game-winning bombs from Elway on every drive much to the delight of the imaginary Mile-High fans watching from the stands.
Those first three Superbowl years were awesome - even though we lost every time. I was at my pal Lance's house when Elway mounted "The Drive" against the Cleveland Browns. We pretended that he was controlling the Broncos on the ground and I was controlling them through the air. When Mark Jackson caught that touchdown pass we exploded. I'll never forget that day.
By the time we finally won a Superbowl I was in my early 20's. John Elway and Mike Shanahan had become my heroes. They personified the Broncos. John had been the quarterback for the majority of my lifetime and Shanny seemed as if he had always been there, too. And then there was you. Who could forget your hoisting the Lombardy Trophy and proclaiming "This one's for John"?
Pat, I can't blame you for firing Mike Shanahan. It was clearly time for him to go. I was at Invesco on New years eve, 2006 when the Broncos dropped a must-win game to the 49ers and were eliminated from the playoffs. That was awful. I'm sure you would have fired Shanny the following week had Darrent Williams not been killed.
What I can't wrap my head around is why you brought in Josh McDaniels. I was upset about it then and I am really upset about it now.
Josh does not personify the Broncos. He has no attachment to the tradition, no understanding of what the team means to its fans. He's a product of the East, as foreign a character to Coloradans as he could possibly be. He's inexperienced, arrogant, dishonest and soft. A terrible fit.
I want my identity back. I don't know who the Broncos are any more and, in a sense, that means I don't know who I am anymore. So much of who I am is wrapped up in my love for the team. Perhaps that's wrong. Maybe it's a sickness. I don't think so.
Losing is OK. I can handle that. I have certainly dealt with it before. What I can't handle is not being able to stand behind the team anymore. I'm lost.
It's time to start over. I realize that means that it may take a few years for the Broncos to become relevant again. These things don't improve overnight. I'll be patient. Give me something I can believe in. I don't believe in Josh. In fact, I would rather lose with a man I respect at the helm than win with him.
Until you fix this I am checking out. I'm not buying tickets, I'm not buying gear, I am not supporting the team. It's not mine anymore. You've turned it over to a guy I simply don't like. This isn't easy for me. I want desperately to support the Broncos but I can't. Not now.
Looking forward to better times,