EDITOR'S NOTE:Texans fan Alan J. Burge will be writing a "Voice of the Fan" column throughout the 2004 season. His latest installment is below. Alan's views do not necessarily reflect the views of the organization.
So AJ, how was your trip to Denver?
Well, it was just peachy except for the game. Thanks for asking.
Sorry but there won't be any catchy headlines on the article this week. Not that any of you have noticed the very clever and crafty titles before but "Rocky Mountain Low" came to mind for a nanosecond. Since that's about as original as an Ashlee Simpson vocal, I thought I'd spare everyone the pain.
That's what I was feeling very late in the second quarter as I sat there among 70,000 Broncos fans and a few hundred of my Texans brethren and watched as the wheels came off.
OK, back to the pain thing. It was more like deep disappointment. We all knew this was going to be a tough game but I expected to be a little bit more competitive in this one.
Things didn't start off so bad. I've heard people talk about the missed field goal on the first drive and the 36-yard pass interference penalty on Aaron Glenn as "deflating" but the last time I checked, things were still in order at the 5:12 mark of the second quarter when the Texans defense stepped up and made a huge play, blocking a Micah Knorr punt which set up a short TD run by Domanick Davis. Score: Broncos 10 - Texans 7. It was a "new ball game" according to CBS TV crew Kevin Harlan and Randy Cross.
But then came a questionable personal foul called on Jerry DeLoach. And then there was Aaron Glenn and Eric Brown getting faked out of their you-know-what's allowing Ashley Lelie to run uncontested into the corner of the endzone. Then there was a very ill timed three-and-out (I'd like to remind the "play calling posse" that they were all pass plays). Then a bonehead penalty by Jonathan Wells. Then there was the Texans secondary somehow failing to account for Rod Smith's presence in the end zone after the defensive front failed to put any pressure on Jake Plummer. Game over. The damage was done a couple of minutes.
Forget the second half as it reminded me of the reason I don't watch the NBA. After Kyle Johnson's TD at 11:07 of the third quarter it was basically 25 minutes of garbage time. As I sat there and watched, I felt as if the Broncos let up and that the score could have been much worse.
Speaking of Kyle Johnson and garbage time, I will give kudos one Texans player who was still giving it his all very late in the game.
Dunta Robinson dropped the funk on Johnson on a short pass reception with about 4 minutes remaining in the game. The problem is that someone forgot to tell Dunta that Johnson outweighs him by 70 lbs so Dunta appeared to get the worst of the hit. We need that kind of intensity from every player on every play of every game. Texans fans appreciate the effort Dunta, so keep it up.
Yes Texans fans, there was little to cheer about on Sunday but keep the faith. Splitting the next two will put the Texans at 5-5 with six games to go. Just stay ahead of the stinkin' titans in the standings please.
To ease the pain just a bit, try to rationalize it like this: As I enjoyed the camaraderie at Barrel Man and Hat Man's tailgate before the game, a Broncos fan jokingly told me to get ready to get my posterior kicked and then asked me "if I would have told you at the beginning of the season that the Texans would go 2-2 against their AFC West opponents this season, how would you have felt?" Honestly, I had to tell him that I would be OK with that.
Some of you have already asked about the game day experience at Invesco Field at Mile High so let me share a few things.
The new Mile High is a spectacular building. I've been to a lot of stadiums and this is one of the best stadiums I have ever seen, at least inside the seating area. Maybe it was the weather, maybe it was something else, but the place is absolutely picture perfect in almost every way.
The field was in perfect condition. The architecture, the structure inside and out, the color scheme and artistic detail are all very appealing. Before the fans filled the stands, you couldn't help but notice the large white bronco head silhouette painted in the sea of blue seats in the upper deck in the north endzone. There are two giant replay screens in the north end and a large one in the south end that is topped by a relic Bronco statue from the old Mile High stadium. There are basically three decks of seats that go entirely around the stadium. The upper decks are very high and very steep but the lower rows of the upper decks appear to be very close to the field. The top deck is "scalloped" or curved at the top so there are fewer rows of seats in the corners than on the sideline. The audio and PA systems are loud and clear and there is a lot of interaction between the PA announcer and the fans including many prompts for the fans to make noise. The floor decking in the seating area is steel plate instead of concrete so when the PA announcer asks to hear some "Rocky Mountain Thunder" all the fans stomping their feet on the steel plates makes a loud thunderous noise.
The only thing I didn't care for at the stadium was inside the concourses. The concourses are very narrow, dark, and crowded. The chutes leading from the concourses are barely wide enough for two people to pass and the restrooms are very small which resulted in huge lines, making it nearly impossible to move around in the concourse area at halftime.
If you go to Invesco and ride the light rail from downtown like we did, bring your hiking boots because the walk from the rail station to the stadium is at least 1/2 mile. I wouldn't want to do that if it was 20 degrees and snowing.
Last but not least a few words about the tailgating experience. We walked around the stadium and saw several tailgate parties of various shapes and sizes. It was nice but it's nothing like what we have at Reliant. Barrel Man and Hat Man's hospitality was very much appreciated and being able to participate in their toast against the Texans was memorable. One thing that they do in Denver that I really wish the Texans did here was to allow tailgate groups to purchase reserved spots. The group we tailgated with bought five parking spaces for the season and those are their spaces whether they arrive at 8:00 a.m. or 10:00 a.m. The parking lot is sectored off into areas and all they do is show their area permit as they enter the lot. They are in the same spot every game so it's not necessary for them to wait in long lines before the gates open so groups can assure that they get their same spot every week. Seems like a very good system that we ought to try here.
· I really like how the Broncos PA guy announces the number of no-shows and how Broncos fans respond with a chorus of boos.
· Are there any of you out there, like me, who have wondered for years what the Broncos fans were chanting after certain plays during the game? You always heard it in the background during games and it was always when the opponent had the ball. It's that 3-syllable thing with a hard accent on each syllable. Being at the game Sunday finally revealed the secret. It goes something like this: PA announcer: "Carr's pass for Johnson is …" Fans in unison: "IN - COM - PLETE." By knowing this, my life is now complete.
· The Texans were flagged for 109 yards in penalties Sunday which is a season high (or low) depending how you look at it.
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