It’s the start of a new year in the Mile High City and Peyton Manning and Co are the hottest thing since the Denver weather a few weeks ago. Sunday mornings on 16th St. mall give you a wonderful opportunity to view the enthralled fan base, more Miller jerseys than you can count, Elway throwbacks, knowshon jerseys’ tentatively coming out of retirement, and the always popular with the ladies; Eric Decker number 87 can be seen around town on any given Sunday. This town is bathed in orange on a weekly basis, and with the playoffs right around the corner, you can feel the excitement building.
There’s a special type of excitement around this year’s team that hasn’t been felt in years. Yes, I’ll admit last year was a once in a lifetime kind of year with Tim Tebow’s stunning comebacks week in and week out. We had the chance to live in a Disney movie for the better part of a season with Tim. But, there is a big difference between beating the Dolphins in overtime with Tebow and Peyton and pals ruthlessly pummeling the life out of Joe Flacco and the best of the AFC east Baltimore Ravens. It feels good doesn’t it? Yea. . . it feels good. No more punchlines at the Bronco’s expense. We’re no longer called the Enver Broncos because we have no D. No more doubting the sustainability of improbable and incredible comeback victories.
It’s clear that each and every player on the Bronco roster has bought into what Fox, Elway, and manning are selling. In a city where football is king, this new generation of Broncos has a chance to elevate themselves to the same level as some of the all-time greats. And what’s most encouraging is that the players are buying into this city. Not just this team, this city. This oasis at 5,280 feet we call home is where they are leveraging their freakish athleticism to help others.
Wesley Woodyard is a player I’ve been singing the praises of for years (How could I not, he has Woody in his name) he has risen from un-drafted free agent to special teams ace to team captain and starting linebacker for a top 5 defense. But more impressive than his ascent into stardom has been his unwavering support for the Denver community. If you follow him on twitter (which I would highly recommend) It seems every few weeks Mr. Woodyard is a putting on some event to better the Denver area community.
Woodyard Co-founded the 16Ways foundation in 2010 which specializes in working with emotionally at risk youths, the importance of this charity cannot be stressed enough given the recent events in Newtown, Connecticut. Mr. Woodyard fills his free time by putting on toy drives for the community, he works hand in hand with the Boy’s and Girl’s club of Denver, and he spent his own time at goodwill collecting donations for the 21,000 Coloradans in Need. Wesley Woodyard is an undisputed team captain and Community leader. The motto for the 16Ways Foundation perfectly captures his attitude towards his role in the Denver community. "It's not about us; it is about them... our youth, our future!'
The Bronco’s second year guard out of the University of Utah, Zane Beadles has the esteemed task of protecting Denver’s most precious resource: Peyton Manning. Zane is also a force in the Community. He’s embraced a non-profit called Brent’s place, they provide housing to kids with cancer. For all of Zane’s hard work and community dedication he’s been awarded the Broncos 2012 Walter Peyton Man of the Year award. And the Broncos have gifted him 10,000 to give to whatever charity he wants. Is there a Zane Beadles wing of Brent’s Place in the works? We’ll see.
Where’s the hottest real estate in Denver? Cherry hills village, naw. Lower highlands, nope. The opposing team’s offensive backfield, yup. And that’s exactly where Von Miller is putting down roots. He’s setting up shop 5 yards behind the line of scrimmage where he gets to ruin people’s days. Anybody remember the Jets game last year where he breezed by an offensive tackle 80 lbs. bigger than him planted his helmet in Mark Sanchez’s chest and just wrecked his day? How great was that!? Mark Sanchez had that classic “‘I’ve made a horrible career choice” look on his face after that. If you’re on the other team, Von miller lives in your back field and in your nightmares.
However if you’re a kid who can’t afford proper eye care, Miller is your man. Von’s Vision provides eye exams, Lasik, and contacts. Every time von delivers one of his game changing sacks, it’s usually accompanied by a memorable and hilarious sack dance. And for each sack dance he does, Money is being donated. On top of that he’s working with Neff hats to give kids with cancer these cool Neff hats. And that’s just because he liked the hats and figured that kids with cancer would like them too. Well as per usual, Von miller was right on the money and gave the kid’s something they’ll never forget.
Obviously an article about the Broncos wouldn’t be complete without some good ol’ fashion Peyton Manning worship. Because seriously, how great is that guy? Peyton Manning manages to fly relatively under the radar with his philanthropic endeavors. Peyton started the PeyBack Foundation back in 1999 and he partners with organizations to help underprivileged children. Since 1999 he has donated more than $3.4 Million to youth organizations in Indiana, Louisiana, and Tennessee. For 2013 Peyton has his eyes set on bringing the PeyBack foundation to colorado.
Three quarters of the Earth is covered by water and Champ Bailey covers everything that’s left.. Most quarterbacks know better than to try to throw at Champ. A few years ago Champ was poised to make big money in the free agent market. Instead he opted to re-sign with the Broncos for less money. Bailey played at Georgia was drafted by the Redskins but it’s clear he’s a Bronco for life. He generously spends his time helping the Denver Rescue Mission. He works with many school’s to raise funds for the Denver Rescue Mission.
These are just a few of the many, many Broncos that have embraced the Denver community. And the best part is they’ve found things that they’re passionate about. Not every player feels the need to help kids with cancer, or kids with bad eyes. But each player has something that hits close to home for them. And that’s what they’re getting involved in. There are enough needs in the Denver Metro area that you can find something that you care about, and make a difference for. So i’ll leave you with this challenge, find something you care about, and in this season of giving, given to those who need help. Because, as the Holidays come to a close, and as the Bronco’s inch towards on field greatness, it just goes to show.