Every year the NFL conducts a survey and recognizes the most popular teams and most passionate fans. For the past 13 years the Broncos and the city of Denver have been in the top two on that list.
Playing in Denver allows me to play for one of the top NFL teams in one of the most football-crazy markets. True die-hard Bronco fans know all of the players and coaches. Most of the people only recognize the star players, but as long as we play hard and do well the fans treat us well.
When I first got here I rarely got identified as a Bronco player when I left my house. Now that I've established myself as a starter I'm getting recognized more lately. Most of the time people approach me just to tell me that I played a good game or that they like how I play. I don't mind those conversations.
The other type of conversations that people want to have with me are ones where they think we're good friends or ask me questions about other players. I really think those types of questions are inappropriate.
Even though most people don't think there's a downside to being a player in a market like Denver, there is. When people recognize me when I'm somewhere and ask me for an autograph or want to get involved in an unnecessary conversation at a time that isn't the best for me is a negative of being a "celebrity."
It's not that I don't like our fans, but sometimes people can't help themselves when they meet a professional athlete and don't take into consideration that it might not be the best time for me to interact with them.
One thing I really like about playing in Denver is going places where people really support the Broncos. Plus, when you're a Bronco player sometimes you get deals and complimentary things. Even though it might be something small, it is a sign that people respect us for playing for the Broncos.
From a football standpoint, the best part about playing in Denver is when we have home games. It is a great atmosphere because our fans are knowledgeable, into the game and loud. They chant "in-com-plete" every time the defense breaks up a pass. Plus, we have the advantage with our thin air because we're a mile above sea level. As a result, most teams wear down in the fourth quarter. Our fans sense that late in the game, the other team gets tired and the fans really get loud and provide us with the all-important 12th man.