This is the day I've been hoping for all season and have been dreading all week.
As a dedicated Broncos fan, I would love to see the team win another Super Bowl, but through the years, I've discovered it's hard to be a Broncos fan in our state.
Sure, there are plenty of dedicated Broncos fans around, but there is also another kind of football fan.
You know the guy who moved here from some place like California or Texas, but isn't a fan of the Chargers, Raiders or Cowboys. No, instead he picks a different team every year -- and his favorite thing to do is root against the home team.
If you're a Broncos fan, you know this person. He spends the entire season reminding us that the Broncos are overrated or really didn't deserve to win their last game.
All I heard this season was how Denver had no chance of beating the mighty Colts in the playoffs. The funny thing is that the Broncos will not face the Colts after Peyton Manning and Indy made an early exit from the playoffs last week. But now, all I hear is how good the Steelers must be to have beaten the Colts.
You would think that all those Bronco-hating fans would have disappeared this week -- kind of like the Colts always seem to do this time of year. But we couldn't get that lucky.
This week, I've heard more Broncos bashing than ever before. I've heard how New England choked last week and how the Broncos really didn't play that well.
I can't help but wonder whether they were watching the same game highlights the rest of us were.
I'm not saying the Broncos are going to beat the Steelers this week -- I learned a long time ago never to predict what the Broncos are going to do. But I get a little irritated when I have to hear the same people who were cheering for the Colts a few weeks ago praising the Steelers this week.
As a Broncos fan, I suffered through four Super Bowl losses and the unending grief that always seemed to follow, so if by some fluke of nature, the Broncos should lose this weekend, I'm sure I can take it.
I try not to listen to those fans who choose to live in Colorado and cheer against the Broncos. But after disappointing Super Bowl showings against the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Washington Redskins and San Francisco 49ers, I have to admit, their words can get under my skin.
I've learned that you don't have to be a Harvard graduate to master the art of bashing the Broncos, but it's going to take a few more Super Bowl titles before I learn to turn the other cheek.
-- To reach John F. Russell, call 871-4209 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org