What might have been. What could have been. What isn't. This isn't the Sunday on which I wake up before dawn, wishing that kickoff would be just a few hours earlier so that my exquisite torment would end. Instead, I had that experience about a month ago. That was the last time that my team, the Denver Broncos, took the field. I spent four hours and agonized through two overtime periods to be given the news: The Broncos would not be playing in the Super Bowl this year.
Since then, I have appreciated all the kind words and sympathies from those who know of my strange affliction. Many of these folks live in the Bay Area, and so the solace came from a place that I understood. Last year, the San Francisco Forty-Niners missed a trip to the Super Bowl themselves because of a few unlucky and very untimely bounces. Now the team from across the bay is back, and show all kinds of promise heading into The Big Game. Not that those kind words were less than sincere, but Niner fans can afford to by polite at this moment. They have already won a Super Bowl or two. Or five.
For that matter, so have their adversaries, the Baltimore Ravens. Not this century, mind you, but since we have yet to crack the half-century mark on the NFL's biggest spectacle, the six championships that have been won by San Francisco and Baltimore represent a pretty good percentage of the total number of the Lombardi trophies handed out since the game's inception.
The Denver Broncos have won a pair of those trophies. But that seems like a very long time ago. A lifetime, in fact. My son's. The first two years of his life were celebrated with orange and blue. He was brought into a world where the NFL champions were his team, at least by association. To his everlasting suffering and credit, he has hung on with his father as we have waited the past decade and a half for a return to the Super Bowl. When we sit down on Sunday, we will be sorting through our rooting interests: for the conference? for the Bay Area?
We're just hoping for a good game. Next year.