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All the rage: Broncos fans flock to training camp, confident of Super Bowl berth

By: Paul Klee
July 29, 2013 Updated: July 30, 2013 at 10:27 am
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photo - A mob of fans push to try to be one of the lucky ones to get an autograph of Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. The Denver Broncos took to the field for the first day of training camp at Dove Valley on Thursday, July 25, 2013. (Jerilee Bennett/The Gazette)
A mob of fans push to try to be one of the lucky ones to get an autograph of Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. The Denver Broncos took to the field for the first day of training camp at Dove Valley on Thursday, July 25, 2013. (Jerilee Bennett/The Gazette) 

DENVER - On a grassy hill overlooking the Dove Valley practice field, the next Terry Bradshaw took a shot at breaking down the Broncos.

Or is it the next Phil Simms?

John Madden, maybe?

"Everyone in my family says I should be a commentator," Kaleb Giffis offered up.

Quick tip: Don't argue with him. Kaleb might be 12. He might be in the seventh grade.

But little man knows his Broncos.

"Compatibility is the key," Kaleb said. "Say the team is disappointed in (Von Miller, for possibly facing a suspension). They still need to be compatible."

As the Broncos opened training camp last week to noisy, eager and predominantly orange crowds of thousands, there were three majority opinions among the fans.

Miller made a mistake but should be forgiven.

"I don't think they should blame him for much," said Raul Medina, a Denver resident wearing a No.58 Miller jersey. "It was during his rookie year."

Peyton Manning jerseys are the new black.

And the Broncos are going to the Super Bowl. No ifs, ands or Ravens about it.

"It's time," said Darlene Kelly, an Aurora resident covered in orange. "It's 2013. We're overdue."

At the first practice, Thursday, an estimated crowd of 3,000 filled the grassy knoll long before Manning jogged onto the field at 8:43 a.m. Fans roared. Peyton nodded.

The second practice drew 3,243 fans.

"They were lined up here at midnight last night," Manning said. "That's the kind of place that you want to play football, where fans are excited about the season."

These things are tough to quantify. But the 2013 season is likely the most anticipated in Broncos history.

More than the Super Bowl years headlined by John Elway and Terrell Davis?

Considering Manning answered all health-related questions in his first season with the Broncos, the addition of Wes Welker and the label of Super Bowl favorite, probably so.

Over 120 media were credentialed for the first day of camp, media relations director Patrick Smythe said. PR guru Jim Saccomano said that's a record in his 36 years with the franchise.

Right now, Broncos fever makes Bieber fever look like a head cold.

"We came from South Dakota to watch," said Shane Pullins, a die-hard who woke his family at 5 a.m. to make the first practice.

The Broncos play to the crowd, too. Smack in the middle of Friday's practice, Manning pulled a kid from the audience. He was 10, maybe 11. The great quarterback huddled with his new receiver, who promptly went deep for a pass.

In-com-plete.

He caught Manning's next pass, though, and broke into a touchdown dance. The crowd roared. Peyton nodded.

"I (went to training camp) all the time," said Broncos tight end Joel Dreessen, who grew up in Fort Morgan. "I was one of those people standing at the rope, pleading, 'Come sign this! Come sign this!'"

Three weeks ago the Broncos put on sale a limited number of single-game tickets. The allotment sold out in less than 10 minutes.

Sports Authority Field at Mile High carries a sellout streak of 350 straight games into the season opener against Baltimore on Sept. 5.

The sellout streak started in 1970. Elway was 10.

Hoping to score a pair of season tickets? The waiting list for season tickets is estimated to be around 40,000, according to the team.

Fans hunting single-game tickets should win the lottery first. One ticket - in Section 532, where ears pop and noses bleed - goes for $269 on Craigslist.

Prefer the South Stands?

Grab a seat in Section 135, Row 42. One ticket's going for a cool $415.

No wonder Broncoheads were lining up at midnight on the eve of training camp. A seat in the grassy knoll is free.

So is Kaleb's commentary.

"I play multiple positions, too," he said.

Watch out, Peyton. Kaleb's coming for you.

-

Twitter: @Klee_Gazette

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