January 17, 2014 Updated: January 17, 2014 at 6:57 pm
Are you ready for a party?
Sunday's game between heated rivals the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots will decide the AFC Championship and area sports bars will be packed with rabid fans adorned in jerseys and facepaint. They will be drinking, eating and living and dying along with their favorite teams.
While most gatherings in the Pikes Peak region will have mostly Broncomaniacs, at least one venue will be heavily attended by the fans supporting the hated Patriots from the east.
Anne Stone boasted Thursday about her favorite NFL football team and the Fox and Hound Bar & Grill in eastern Colorado Springs. The Fox and Hound is the official meeting place of the Pikes Peak Pats fan club for Patriots games.
Stone, a Boston transplant who has called the Pikes Peak area home for the last 18 years, excitedly talked in her thick New England accent about her beloved Patriots and the magnitude of Sunday's AFC Championship showdown in Denver with the Broncos.
"It's going to be a wicked ball," said Stone, who is the president of the Patriots fan club, founded in 2006 and has more than 300 members.
"People are saying this game is the Super Bowl," she said. "Both of these teams feel like they have to win it."
Stone will join about 150 New England Patriots fans --- according to her estimation - Sunday at the Fox and Hound to watch the game and take part in some "good-natured" ribbing with likely as many Broncos fans who will also be there.
"We have one room that's designated for the Patriots," said Debra Bernal, a manager at the bar and grill noting that the bar/restaurant has a contract with fan club to set aside the accommodations.
Bernal, a self-proclaimed Broncos fan said she expects that room to overflow and the place to be jam-packed Sunday with "probably 50-50" Denver and New England fans.
The Patriots are one of three teams to beat the Broncos this year, besting Denver 34-31 in Foxborough, Mass. on Nov. 24.
"It was crazy," said Bernal about that game's turnout at the Fox and Hound. "We were pretty busy with a couple of rowdy Patriot fans."
The Pikes Peak region will not be short of Broncos-Patriots game parties. Most of the gatherings, however, will definitely be more Denver-biased.
Cleats Bar & Grill on Delmonico Drive has traditionally been a rabid Broncos fan gathering place.
Manager George Fields said the atmosphere will be no different on Sunday. The bar is opening at 10 a.m. instead of its usual 11 a.m. start time. The game starts at 1 p.m. and Fields hopes with a Denver win, most of the Broncomaniacs will hang out to watch the later NFC Championship game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks.
Fields said new owners bought Cleats about seven months ago and immediately recognized the bar for its NFL-watching atmosphere. He said since acquiring Cleats, the owners renovated the building, gave it a more "open" feel and added 80-inch and 60-inch televisions.
Cleats always offers prizes and specials as a "thank you" to the Broncos fans, Fields said. On Sunday game-watchers will have the chance to win Broncos memorabilia and a trip to Las Vegas.
The manager expects the most business of the NFL season for Sunday's epic showdown.
"I'd say we'll probably about double our profits," he said.