Monday, March 29, 2010

Greatest All Time Bronco Plays: #8 The Immaculate Deflection

Resuming my countdown of my all time greatest bronco plays:

Some of you may be thinking "Are we going to see any recent plays in the countdown?" Well here's a play from last season that will go down as one of the great Bronco finishes ever:

I'll always remember this play in part because of the dramatic finish and in part because of the unusual circumstances in which I saw it. Here's my story:

Since 1968 I have probably missed watching a complete Bronco regular season game less than 10 times - this was one of them. I had an early morning flight to Las Vegas for a business conference that was going to start that Sunday afternoon. I did not want to miss Josh McDaniels first game as head coach. I knew it was going to be a key game, as I wrote about in my blog the week before the game:

"If the Broncos beat the Bengals ...

It'll be a huge boost in the team's confidence. All the critics of the offseason changes and disappointing preseason will be quieted. If the Broncos can beat a good Bengals team on the road, I predict they start out 4-0. The schedule then gets much tougher, and they'll finish with an 8-8 record."

My flight was delayed and I finally got to my hotel towards the end of the third quarter. I had to find a sports book so I could at least watch the finish! I walked over to Caesar's Palace and the Broncos/Bengals game wasn't on any of their big screens. Finally I spotted in a small corner of the sports book a single tv showing the game. I stood with a crowd of about 15 broncos and bengals fans watching the last 6 minutes.

I arrived at the tv just in time to see the Bengals start their go ahead drive. When Cincinnati scored the go ahead td with 38 seconds left I didn't have much hope. I was already late to my business conference so I started walking out of the sports book. Just then Caesar's Palace switched the game to one of their "big screens". I stopped, turned around, and thought "I might as well watch the last couple of plays."

Then the miracle happened. This 53 year old Bronco fan was jumping up and down like a 12 year old as Stokley crossed the goal line! Bronco fans in the sports book were high fiving each other. A Bengals fan ripped up his wager ticket in disgust.

I said "forget the conference!" and stuck around the sports book to see the replay about 15 times.

Finally I did make it over to the conference and I was in meetings until late that night. I got back to my hotel after 10 pm and saw a guy with a Chicago Bears jersey in front of the elevator. "I'm from Denver, how did Cutler do tonight?" I asked (not knowing anything about the Packers/Bears Sunday night game)

The Bears fan glared at me and walked away without saying anything.

For one game at least, McDaniels was looking pretty good as the new Denver head coach, and Cutler's 4 interceptions gave Bears fans a glimpse of what was to come later in the 2010 season. It was a good day to be a Bronco fan!

Next on the countdown: Another big play by a current Bronco player

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