The Denver Broncos had been the 2014 AFC Champions for just 15 minutes on Sunday when the Sports Authority store across from the Chapel Hills mall sold its first jersey proclaiming the team's victory.

The sports apparel and equipment store received its shipment of AFC Championship jerseys before the game had ended, said John Dinolfo, manager. By Monday, he had "very little left."

"Locker room caps and the locker room AFC Championship shirts have been flying," he said. "This is as fast as it's gone off the shelves in the last couple years."

No wonder. It's the first time in 15 years the Broncos have gone to the Super Bowl, and while sales of orange-and-blue sports apparel were steady throughout the 2013-14 season, the playoffs and Sunday's victory have upped the buying frenzy. Fans were snapping up team merchandise so quickly after Sunday's win that Dick's Sporting Goods on North Powers Boulevard had sold out of some gear by early Monday, said Randy Thornhill, community marketing manager.

"We had people waiting at the store for us to put out the AFC championship gear just after the game," he said.

On Monday, Dick's opened four hours early to accommodate Broncos shoppers look for AFC Championship merchandise.

One customer, Ritchie Loflin, went to Dick's to buy Broncos gear to wear to the Super Bowl, which he is attending with his wife and two sons. A season ticket holder since 1993, Loflin had already purchased two championship hats and T-shirts, was shopping for even more apparel. He estimated he would spend a couple hundred dollars by the time he finished.

"It is hard to explain. We went to the championship game and you could feel the excitement just walking into the stadium, and you knew something good was going to happen," he said.

Though Thornhill declined to provide sales figures, he said sales of Broncos apparel was "booming" at each of the stores he oversees from Colorado Springs to Loveland. Jerseys and hats bearing the AFC Championship logos were the most popular items at both Dick's and Sports Authority, he said.

"And women's apparel is hot right now, too" Thornhill said.

But women are not curtailing their love for the Broncos to just their wardrobe. They've been keeping local salons busy with requests for nails painted in orange and blue twists, swirls and circles. Quynh Le, of the Beauty Bar in downtown Colorado Springs, said at least 15 women had their nails painted Broncos colors in the past two weeks - and she has more appointments for this week.

"One lady did all white nails with orange and blue glitter," Le said. "That is the most flashy."

Meanwhile, lifelong fans have opted for a more permanent decoration to show their team spirit.

Ron Dolecek of Lucky Devil Tattoo inked the wild stallion logo on at least six people in the past month. He received several more inquires about getting the tattoo on Monday.

And what do retailers expect will happen to the sales of Broncos apparel if the team comes home Super Bowl champions?

"After 15 years of us not being in the Super Bowl, it is going to go nuts," Dinolfo said, "


Contact Ned Hunter: 636-0275



- Dr. Evil and others are at it again with Colorado marijuana-themed memes.

- PHOTOS: Check out more than 100 pictures and relive the Broncos' win over New England