Don't tarnish the memories

— For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a Broncos fan. I remember watching Tom Jackson, Steve Foley, Billy Thompson, Lyle Alzado and the intimidating Orange Crush defense long before I could drive a car. I even remember watching Craig Morton and Denver’s struggling offense when they were pummeled by the Dallas Cowboys in their first Super Bowl appearance.

As a child, I used to watch all the games on a fuzzy television set in my parents’ living room.

Back then, when things got ugly there was not pushing a button on the remote control to end the agony. Normally you had to get up, walk across the room and turn the dial to another channel if you couldn’t bear to watch anymore.

But for some reason, I just kept watching even when the Broncos lost, mainly because I didn’t want to get up and walk the five feet to the television and flip the channel.

So week after week, I lay there on my parents’ floor and watched the Broncos lose. Oh yeah, and occasionally watch them win.

Things have changed a lot since then. This year when the Broncos finally play the first home game of the season, it will not be at Mile High Stadium. For the first time in my life, the Broncos will play a game away from the roaring south stands and the sadly outdated facility that was known as Mile High.

This time around, the Broncos will play at Invesco Field at Mile High, but not before one more final farewell to the stadium that proved to be the stage for most of John Elway’s magic during his career.

Personally, I would prefer to skip that final game and head straight to the new stadium.

The contest will feature John Elway leading a group of former Broncos against a team of pro football greats including Joe Montana, Marcus Allen, Jim McMahon and Herschel Walker.

The promoters of the game have named the contest “The Final Drive” to play on every Bronco fan’s emotions, and tickets will cost $30. It will be the final event ever held in Mile High Stadium. There will be a giant autograph session from 5 to 6 p.m. The game will start at 7 p.m.

As a devoted fan of the Broncos for many years, I might consider showing up for the autographs, but I would just as soon forget about the game.

Why would I want to tarnish memories of John Elway parading around one of the most-feared stadiums in the National Football League after winning the AFC championship game in 1998 with images of a bunch of old players entangled in a heated game of flag football.

No thanks.

I’m disappointed that I only had the opportunity to see a couple of Broncos games (one of them a preseason affair) live. Like most fans in Denver, I watched the Broncos rise to the top on television in a heated home, sitting on a comfortable couch.

When Elway and the other players take the field for one last salute to Mile High, I think I will once again be anywhere else besides Mile High.

I think Mile High holds more memories than any tribute flag football game could ever create.

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