The signs are already coming down on what used to be Sports Authority Field at Mile High; with the demise of the Englewood-based sports-retailer giant in 2016, it was only a matter of time until the contracts ran their course and the stadium's name became available again. The time has come, and the Broncos organization is wasting no time in wiping the slate clean once again.
So long, Invesco. Nice knowing you, Sports Authority. Who’s next? Without worrying about economic feasibility or annual licensing costs or whether or not such a move might actually result in the deep-sixing of the entity that gets the naming rights…here are seven modest proposals. Why seven? Just check out the first entry.
7. Elway Field
When most people think of the Broncos, they don’t think Peyton Manning, Terrell Davis, Floyd Little, Randy Gradishar, Steve Atwater or any other player. But they do think John Elway. Big John, good ol' number seven. And for good reason: He’s been a part of the team and/or the Denver community since 1983. Whether we were watching him in the shotgun as QB, bought a car from him, ate his steaks, saw his commercials, or enjoyed the teams that he’s led from the front office, Elway has become a Denver institution. He might be on thin ice with the team's latest skid, but the legacy is still strong. It only makes sense that the stadium itself might bear his imprimatur.
6. Where’s-the-Thunder Field
When it was built to replace the original, the new stadium was designed to do its best to replicate the Rocky Mountain Thunder, the stampede of sound created by fans stomping on the metal bleachers in the old place, echoing perfectly off the walls and creating an imposing and sometimes impossible environment for opposing teams to play. The new place tried, reportedly incorporating 13,500 tons of steel-riser treads and a steeped bowl design meant to bring back the Thunder. But as the last couple of seasons will attest, it’s tough to recapture magic.
5. Cannabis Field
Face it: There’s enough money in pot to buy the naming rights and keep them going year after year. Once Sessions stops his smoke-and-mirrors posturing and the coast becomes finally and decidedly clear for marijuana to be sold and taxed without worry that the bottom will suddenly drop out of the industry, the pot economy will stabilize to the degree that such a move will be possible. No, pot doesn’t need the marketing, but the rest of the country identifies Colorado with weed, so let’s go ahead and slap the label on the stadium and proclaim our product proudly. And puff, puff, pass in the stands.
4. Blucifer’s Super-Secret Bloodbowl of Doom
It’s a tie-in to Denver International Airport, and actually goes the extra mile (or eleven miles on Peña Boulevard) by making Blucifer make sense: He’s the angry spirit of the gridiron, out to demolish all the other teams. Especially the Raiders. And Tom Brady. And Philip "Cry Me a" Rivers. For a while, and still sometimes, Brock Osweiler. But also anyone who doesn’t bleed orange and blue.
3. Orange Crush Stadium
It was Woody Paige who first called the Broncos' fabled 3-4 defense the Orange Crush back in 1977, and the name is still remembered fondly by fans. So it only makes sense that the soda company (now just called Crush) might want to marry its rep to that of one of the NFL’s most popular teams. Of course, Crush is now owned by the much-less-evocative “Dr Pepper Snapple Group” out of Plano, Texas, but there’s absolutely no romance (and no interest) in “Dr Pepper Snapple Group Stadium.”
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2. Bowlen Field
There’s a long tradition of ballfields from any sport being named for the family that owned the team when the stadium was built. Wrigley, Ebbets, Busch, Fenway and even Coors Field were all named for the owner families (and their companies, sure). So why not the Bowlens, who have owned the Broncos since 1984, when Pat Bowlen purchased the team from Edward Kaiser, who bought it from Gerald Phipps, who bought it from team founder Bob Howsam? There’s a lot of history there, and history deserves respect.
1. Mile High Stadium. Just Mile High Stadium.
Speaking of history, and respect? Stop selling the name, respect the fans, and if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.