Denver Broncos fans have embraced Peyton Manning like he’s John Elway’s son, but they still don’t know how their Hall of Fame quarterback operates. On Sunday afternoon in the Broncos’ 31-23 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 76,125 people waved at Peyton. He did not wave back.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Broncos had an 18-point lead and Manning was operating the offense in his usual no-huddle fashion when a roar came up from the south stands. From there, it turned into an all out wave around the stadium. Manning got off a play and, seeing this, promptly motioned for his over 75,000 followers to stop making noise on offense. The orange sheep fell in line.
This story is not really that Manning was able to silence the city of Denver. Denver loves Manning, even with his tenure in the Mile High City less than a year old. With football ruling the town all the time, Manning could make everyone volunteer at an art show if he wanted too. However, why were Denver fans doing the wave in the first place?
Denver fans love the wave. The Colorado Rockies consistently have a wave every baseball game, whether it’s a tie game or a blow-out in the other team’s favor. Last night at the Denver Nuggets game, the crowd started chanting “We Want Tacos” as the score drew up to 110, the magic number needed to score the Taco Bell special deal. This was while Andre Miller was trying to increase Denver’s lead to three points over the Toronto Raptors with seconds remaining in the game. Denver fans are often oblivious to what’s going on in the game.
A reason for this fan ineptitude might be because Denver, the 16th largest market in the country, is the smallest city to have all four major sports (yes, even though the NHL is locked out). This means that to fill the stadium, it requires more families and non-sports fans at times. This produces “wave”-like tendencies.
If Peyton Manning is walking down the street, feel free to wave. However, don’t bother him while he’s working. In all honesty, Denver fans do not really get Peyton yet. He’s the mysterious man in orange. All they do know is that you should be quiet when he’s playing Quarterback. Save the waving for the Super Bowl parade.