Residents feeling blue -- and orange

Broncos-mania sweeps Craig

With the Denver Broncos just one win from the Super Bowl, fans across the state are gearing up for what they hope will be another trip to the big game.

Broncos fans in Craig are no exception.

At the Bargain Barn on Yampa Avenue, owner Diane Brannan said all things Broncos have been hot sellers since the team beat the defending champions Sunday.

Last week's win against the New England Patriots put the Broncos in the AFC Champ-ionship game for the first time since 1999, when the team won its second-consecutive Super Bowl. The Broncos face the Pittsburgh Steelers at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Customers aren't as excited this year as they were in 1998 and 1999, when John Elway led the team, Brannan said.

But Brannan said she is just as excited now as she was when the Broncos won back-to-back Super Bowls.

"I just hope we win," she said.

At the Moffat County Clerk and Recorder's Office, the staff plans to wear their Broncos gear today.

Clerk and Recorder Elaine Sullivan said she is every bit as fired up about this year's Broncos team as she was for the teams in 1998 and 1999, in part because these Broncos knocked-off the defending Super Bowl champions.

"We showed them who is boss," Sullivan said.

At the O.P. Bar and Grill on Victory Way, co-owner Diana Knez said her customers are excited about the Broncos, but that's nothing new.

The die-hard fans that frequent the O.P. are excited about the Broncos from the season's opening kickoff to the final snap, Knez said.

But since the team won last week, the excitement has spread, she said.

"I think everyone in town is pretty excited," she said.

Knez said she wore a Broncos shirt downtown this week and had numerous people stop her to say, "Go Broncos."

School children in Craig are getting in on the Broncos-mania, as well.

In Alicia Townsend's class at Craig Middle School, the social studies teacher wagers push-ups on Broncos games.

Townsend is known for her love of the Broncos.

"Once you're a Broncos fan, whether they do lousy or they do well, you have to remain a Broncos fan," she said.

If the students bet against the Broncos and the Broncos win, the students must do 10 push-ups a day the next week. If the Broncos lose, Townsend and the students who bet on the Broncos do the push-ups.

But during the playoffs and when the Broncos play their archrival Oakland Raiders, the bets are raised to 20 push-ups a day.

In Townsend's eighth-grade social studies class Thursday, the students who bet against the Broncos in last week's game did their 20 push-ups.

But despite the razzing from their fellow classmates, some of the children in the class still plan to bet against the Broncos next week.

Chandrea Lopez, 14, said she's picking Pittsburg next week because she likes to make Townsend mad. But that isn't the only reason she bets against Denver, Lopez said.

"Orange and blue don't go together," she said.

But the Broncos fans in Townsend's class are sticking with their team.

"They are a way better team than the Steelers," said Travis Noland, 13.

Noland even had a prediction for Sunday's game: Broncos 27, Steelers 13.

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or bjohansson@craigdailypress.com.

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