| Fashion |

Going retro with the 5-0 Broncos

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

I'm not generally in favor of so-called NFL "legacy" games, in which teams are required to wear their hideous and humiliating uniforms of yore and the fans are barraged with waves of schlock and nostalgia: old geezers from golden-age squads out on the field to get special plaques, commemorative programs, clips of the '82 Blizzard Bowl, and so on. It all seems like yet another layer of lame marketing in an already corporately overloaded spectacle.

But the Broncos-Patriots game, celebrating fifty years of AFL rivalry, was a different experience. Especially if you caught the game from the stands instead of on the tube.

The marketing mavens of Mile High -- sorry, Invesco -- went out of their way to try to give the game the right 1960s-era atmosphere. The scoreboards flashed the action in black and white much of the time, the PA system blared top 40 hits from decades ago (including an overdose of Steppenwolf), the cheerleaders were all pony-tailed ... you get the idea. It was goofy, but somehow the time warping worked its juju on the field.

This was an AFL game, pure and simple. The Broncos (and many of the fans) showed up in yellow jerseys and those vertically striped socks. They looked like angry bees, and were promptly swatted around most of the first quarter. The Patriots looked -- well, patriotic, although nothing could be stupider than the emblem on their helmet, that guy in the tri-cornered hat and um, frilly sleeves, trying to look fierce in a three-point stance. Not even the Broncos mascot of the era, a big-jawed cartoon character on a bucking horse, looks that lame.

The game was as weird as the decoupage. Josh McDaniels started out with some wildcat-inspired razzle-dazzle that's actually as old as -- well, all those trick plays of the Phipps era. The ball took funny bounces and deflections. The Broncos moved up and down the field despite red-zone problems and fluttery passes that should have been picked off. The defense shut the Patriots down again and again, only to be undone by special-teams follies. It was as if all the Bronco evolution of the Late Shanahan Era -- nurturing brilliant but erratic, rocket-armed QBs and superstar receivers and West Coast offense and speedy but undersized linemen and all that -- had evaporated and we were back in the Stone Age. And, of course, it all ended up in heart-pounding, gut-sucking overtime.

You kind of hope the whole season won't be quite so peculiar. But 5-0 is not something to scoff at. If this be a retrofit, make the most of it.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.