Shopping Cart
Your Cart is Empty
There was an error with PayPalClick here to try again
CelebrateThank you for your business!You should be receiving an order confirmation from Paypal shortly.Exit Shopping Cart

The Venture 17 Division Of Education





My First Professional Football Game

Posted on September 12, 2015 at 7:24 PM

Fall approaches, and Football is upon us. A sport I am hopelessly addicted to.

The first time I saw a professional football game in person, was in 1965. My family had just moved to Denver a year earlier. I was somewhat familiar with pro ball and had watched it with Dad on Television. But we were from Nebraska, and in the Fifties and Sixties, we were watching college ball most of the time.

Dad bought two tickets to see a “very young” Denver Broncos Football Club take on the Oakland Raiders in Denver. Understand, the American Football League was only in its fifth year, but the inklings of rivalry were already present when the Raiders were in town.

Denver was a mediocre team on the field, and on the books. Generally starting seasons well, then go into skids half way through. But we had nationally known stars: Frank Tripuka, Cookie Gilchrist, Willie Brown, and Lionel Taylor.

It was a beautiful sunny November day! We got to the stadium. It wasn't the famous “Mile High Stadium” yet. The Broncos’ home turf was the original Bears Stadium. Built for our New York Yankees farm team, the Denver Bears, it would later be reshaped into Mile High Stadium after a massive reconstruction, as Denver joined the National Football League when the AFL and NFL merged in 1970.

There I am with my Dad! At a ball game! Dad was great! He explained everything to me. Bought hot dogs and Royal Crown Colas (yeah! I know!). Oh, and popcorn!

The game was sold out. To this day, no other team in the NFL has had a longer sellout streak. Yeah, Denver is a football town!

Little did we know, that this game would become the foundation to the rivalry between these two young teams, and create in Denver fans, a distaste for anything “Raider”, and a feeling that it is always vengeance Denver seeks. We don’t want to just beat them, we want to Crush them! Period!

The Raiders have always been fierce opponents, as it should be. They were hugely successful in the old AFL and later in the NFL. Everyone who knows football, knows the legendary teams that came out of Oakland. Of all places! Have you ever been there? Yeah, I know.

Today was no different. Future Hall of Famers: Their headcoach was the Infamous Al Davis; At quarterback was Tom Flores, who would later take two Oakland teams as headcoach to the Superbowl, and win two world championships; His backup? Daryle Lamonica, would show up next year; “The Double Ought”, Jim Otto; The Ferocious, Ben Davidson, and rookie wide receiver, Fred Biletnikoff, “The Button Hooker”.

Kickoff! The game starts. Dad and I are in the East Stands, one tier up, on the Southside 30 yard line. A perfect football game spot! I can’t imagine what the cost of season tickets for this same area at Sports Authority Field would be today. Ginormous, I’m sure!

The teams went back and forth the first quarter. I’m eating hotdogs and drinking RC Colas. Yep! In hog heaven! Second quarter starts. Tom Flores, who establishes the Raiders legendary “Vertical Game”, heaves a bomb to Clem Daniels. Boooom! It sent shutters through me! The execution and pure poetry of it was beautiful. You had to respect it, even if you didn’t understand the game that well. Absolutely gorgeous pass to a tailback out of the backfield. Raiders 7 Broncos 0!

Broncs get the ball back, but sputter. The Raiders answer with a surgical drive ending with a touchdown strike by Flores again. I’m reaching for my RC. It’s 14 zip! How many times have you become tachycardic with this not so unusual and apparently traditional behavior of the Broncos? That’s what I’m sayin’! Denver answers right back with a well-orchestrated drive with Lionel and Cookie, finishing with a rushing touchdown.

But it wasn’t Cookie! I was upset! Yeah, Wendell Hayes ran it in. Yeah, but it’s 14-7. Game on! If you have ever been to a game of any kind, baseball or football, with your dad, you know exactly how I was feeling right then! A dad and his son watching a game that is unfurling before their eyes and taking on a life of its own, with 35,000 fans sitting next to us. You become hooked for life!

Halftime was popcorn and a marching band, having fun with Dad, and drinking RCs. And I had to pee a lot! So I got to know the concession area really well. The stadium staff started calling me by my first name. Just kidding.

Denver opens the second half with a Lionel Taylor airshow, ending with a touchdown strike to Taylor from John McCormick. Yeah, Frank wasn’t there anymore. But we put him on The Ring of Fame when we built Mile High. We even retired his Jersey, number 18. I think all Denver fans know that really cool story about Frank's insistence that "Peyton" wear his number. Denver 14 Oakland 14! Oh boy! And so it starts!

The third quarter ends still tied 14/14! I have to pee! The fourth quarter starts. Yep, the first of many nail biters to come. Denver’s marching down the field with a combination of Cookie built traps, and throws into the flat to Lionel, when, the “Cardiac Kids” strike again! The Raiders intercept the ball as the Broncos are moving into the red zone and run it back 70 yards for a touchdown. Wow! Raiders 21, Broncos 14. Fourth quarter. Sound familiar?

The teams exchange sputtering drives. Actually, two damn good defenses do their jobs. Denver gets the ball back. They’re marching. Then McCormick throws a hondo ball into the flat where a post coming out of the right seam was supposed to materialize, and it’s intercepted. You guessed it! Raiders run it back for a touchdown. Raiders 28 Broncos 14. Nobody leaves! Denver gets the ball back with only three minutes left. McCormick is replaced by Jackie Lee.

Known to have flashes of brilliance (I wonder if that’s because he wore Number 7), Lee is a good quarterback. He stands tall in the saddle, and a master of the step up when a throwing pocket collapses. Lee takes his opportunity and marches Cookie, Lionel, and the Broncos down the field. We’re running out of time! We need two scores! Everybody's standing! I'm standing on my seat! 35,000 fans chanting "Broncos"!

Jackie hits Lionel in the end zone for a touchdown!

It’s absolute bedlam in the stadium! People jumping up and down, stuff flyin’ everywhere! Popcorn all over the place. I have to pee! I look up at Dad! He looks down at me! We just smiled at each other! Then turned our heads back to the field of battle. The smell of beer, and cola all over the place! Yeah! I know!

Coach Speedie (yeah that’s his name), was known for his out of the box style and on field gambles. Here we go again. Rather than to kick a point after, he elects to go for 2, because he doesn’t want a tie, Mac Speedie wants to win. Remember, the NFL didn’t have the 2 point conversion then, but the AFL did.

It’s a roll out! Jackie throws. Whenever I think about it, it's always in slow motion. The stadium seemed silent forever to me, this little kid.

A lasting and realistic picture of “The Underdog” was forever imprinted on me. That’s right. You knew it! The receiver dropped it! Oh my God!

Raiders 28 Broncos 20 hit hard. Eerily, another primer of famous even legendary games to come.

Wait! .... Wut? .... It’s not over! .... Everyone is still in their seat, and now standing! Mac has called an onside kick! Are you kidding me? …….. The Broncs kick! ……. They recover the ball! Oh my God! ……. And here it comes……. It’s too late!

 Wut? .... Yep! The clock expired! The game is over! .... Wow! ....  The crowd just stood there, silent!

I didn’t care about the loss. That sting would hit me later. This was a day I would always remember!

The emotions that wash over us as sports fans! The anticipation! The elation! The heartbreak! The smells! The sounds! The mass of faces before you, all working as one! Asking for “Just One More Inch……. Please”! ……. The game you’ll never forget! I have to pee!

A rivalry is born! I’m hooked on the Broncos for the rest of my life! I have the best Dad in the world!

Fifty years ago! That’s how long I have been a fan of the Denver Broncos. You heartbreakers you! Just have fun, okay? But beat the shit out of the Raiders. I mean it!  Period! Thank you.


Categories: Social Comment, Special Post

Post a Comment


Oops, you forgot something.


The words you entered did not match the given text. Please try again.


Reply gerg yensid
1:28 PM on September 13, 2015 
We've known each other waaaay to long and I am grateful for that!
Reply Tim Beckler
12:54 AM on September 14, 2015 
Ah yes, Chuckie. I remember those early days well. My first Broncos game was Jets at Denver with Joe Namath at QB. Talk about the way-back machine.
Reply Chuck
4:32 AM on September 15, 2015 
gerg yensid says...
We've known each other waaaay to long and I am grateful for that!

Yes, gentlemen, we have watched this team for a long time. I think Saban was the worst coach we ever had, until "The Aberrency" Josh McDaniels. The best coach that never got his dues? Ralston. He was the architect of the "Orange Crush" that Red got an undue credit for. Best quarterback before Morton? No, Not Tripuka, but Charlie Johnson. Best Defensive player, and Denver's had many... Rich Jackson averaged nearly 20 sacks a season, but they didn't keep track of them then.
Reply Zentiz
5:54 AM on January 8, 2016 
Satisfied to peruse! I recognize with you about your thought that every football players need bodyguard. Hey mate amazing occupation it is! I for the most part love such kind of steady online diary. Much obliged for this article. Thanks!
Reply Chris
7:24 PM on January 10, 2016 
I remember how Fred Biletnikoff would always end up in seams and do button hooks. He did it so well. He was like what you see guys like Wes Welker do now. Thanks for this little piece of history.
Reply Dwayne Counce
12:08 AM on January 11, 2016 
I remember that day well! I had to pee also. Ha So glad that we were able to see that game together, and it pleased me no end to see you so excited. This piece of our football history will never be forgotten. Lagenueeee
Reply Joni Counce Mattox
1:57 AM on January 12, 2016 
Wish I could have been at the game with you both - my dad and my older brother..but I was and am "a girl"! We "girls" have come a looooong way! Nobody would have ever guessed that the gentler sex would become crazed football fans in the decades to come. Move over boys, the girls are here!!! ;)
Reply Chris
4:34 AM on January 13, 2016 
I remeber this game. What is interesting is the following year, the Raiders won the AFL Championship, went to the Superbowl which wasnt called that yet, it was just called the AFL NFL Championship Game. The Raiders lost to the Packers. You are right, Daryle Lamonica was the Raiders quarterback and remained the Raiders' quarterback until the Kenny The Snake Stabler showed up from Alabama.
Reply best essay sites
8:24 AM on April 21, 2017 
This venture17 blog has been giving us about always my first professional football game. Keep doing in the same way with this blog for great points always staff calling me by first name kidding.
Reply Nick Saban
4:54 AM on December 5, 2018 
best essay sites says...
This venture17 blog has been giving us about always my first professional football game. Keep doing in the same way with this blog for great points always staff calling me by first name kidding.

5:03 AM on December 5, 2018 
gerg yensid says...
We've known each other waaaay to long and I am grateful for that!

Amazing! This is great information, especially for a young football fan like me. I could only imagine how great were the Denver Broncos and the Oakland Raiders back on the day because, unfortunately, nowadays, these teams have seemingly fallen out of their once glorious years. For sure, Denver still appears to be a great team but, sadly, the story is different with Oakland who, after hiring Joe Gruden as their head coach this season, has really become nothing but a mess. I believe you were also joyful when your city won the Super Bowl with Peyton Manning several years ago. Man, I really love to read old stories.
Reply yeezy 500
11:14 AM on August 23, 2021 
I enjoy you because of all of the labor on this blog. My mum delights in engaging in investigation and it is obvious why. A lot of people notice all concerning the lively medium you render great tips by means of your blog and therefore attract contribution from visitors on this point then our girl has been becoming educated a whole lot. Take pleasure in the rest of the year. You are always conducting a powerful job.
yeezy 500
Reply bape
11:15 AM on August 23, 2021 
I together with my guys appeared to be studying the best items found on the blog and then unexpectedly I got a horrible feeling I never expressed respect to you for those techniques. Those boys are actually as a result passionate to read through them and already have without a doubt been using these things. We appreciate you indeed being quite helpful and also for opting for such decent topics most people are really eager to know about. My personal sincere apologies for not expressing gratitude to earlier.
Reply golden goose outlet
11:15 AM on August 23, 2021 
Thank you for every one of your effort on this website. My aunt delights in doing research and it's simple to grasp why. We notice all of the lively medium you render rewarding suggestions by means of your web site and even increase participation from people on that article while our own princess is certainly starting to learn so much. Have fun with the rest of the new year. You are doing a powerful job.
golden goose outlet
Reply supreme hoodie
11:15 AM on August 23, 2021 
I and my pals happened to be looking at the best key points located on the website and before long I got an awful feeling I never thanked the web blog owner for those techniques. My boys became as a result excited to study them and have pretty much been enjoying them. Appreciation for being indeed helpful and for getting some impressive ideas most people are really desperate to discover. My sincere apologies for not expressing appreciation to you earlier.
supreme hoodie
Reply kevin durant shoes
11:16 AM on August 23, 2021 
Needed to post you that very little remark to be able to give thanks the moment again for the breathtaking information you have provided above. It's shockingly open-handed with people like you to deliver unreservedly what numerous people could possibly have advertised for an ebook in making some bucks for their own end, and in particular considering the fact that you could possibly have tried it if you ever considered necessary. The good ideas additionally worked as a good way to comprehend other people have a similar dream like mine to understand somewhat more around this condition. I think there are several more fun periods in the future for people who examine your blog post.
kevin durant shoes
Reply a bathing ape
11:16 AM on August 23, 2021 
A lot of thanks for all of your effort on this website. Betty really loves getting into investigations and it is easy to see why. We hear all about the powerful method you provide good tips and hints by means of your website and in addition encourage response from some other people on this area of interest and our favorite simple princess is actually discovering a lot. Have fun with the remaining portion of the new year. Your carrying out a terrific job.
a bathing ape
Reply moncler
11:16 AM on August 23, 2021 
My husband and i got now happy when Albert managed to round up his researching from your precious recommendations he came across out of the web page. It is now and again perplexing just to possibly be giving away tips and tricks which usually people may have been making money from. And we also figure out we have the website owner to give thanks to for that. All of the explanations you've made, the easy web site navigation, the relationships you will help to promote - it's everything astounding, and it's really helping our son in addition to our family believe that this concept is cool, which is seriously mandatory. Many thanks for all!
Reply jordan 12
11:16 AM on August 23, 2021 
My husband and i have been really more than happy that Edward managed to finish off his research from the precious recommendations he had from your own web site. It's not at all simplistic just to be giving for free tricks which some others might have been selling. Therefore we realize we've got you to give thanks to because of that. The most important illustrations you've made, the easy website menu, the friendships you can make it possible to foster - it's everything fantastic, and it is making our son in addition to us understand the content is amusing, and that is extraordinarily fundamental. Thank you for all the pieces!
jordan 12
Reply yeezys
11:16 AM on August 23, 2021 
Thanks a lot for providing individuals with an extremely spectacular opportunity to read in detail from here. It's always so cool and also stuffed with amusement for me and my office friends to visit your web site minimum three times every week to find out the latest items you have. And definitely, I am at all times satisfied for the sensational tricks served by you. Certain 4 points in this article are unequivocally the most efficient we've had.