Broncos come up short

Local fans disappointed as Steelers advance to Super Bowl

There was no shortage of team spirit at the O.P Bar & Grill on Sunday afternoon as the Denver Broncos faced the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship game.

Broncos fans clad in blue and orange filled the restaurant to watch the TVs placed all around the room.

In front of one big screen were two diehard enthusiasts, jumping out of their seats when Denver completed a good play and holding their heads as the Steelers increased their lead. At halftime, Lorri Evans and her boyfriend, Michael Phillips, had no doubt who would come out on top.

"Denver's a second-half team," Evans said. "It's going to be a good second half."

To their dismay, the Broncos lost to the Steelers, 34-17.

"I thought it was going to be the other way around," Evans said.

The Steelers advance to Super Bowl XL on Feb. 5 in Detroit, where they will face the Seattle Seahawks, who beat Carolina Panthers, 34-14, on Sunday evening.

Evans and Phillips said they watched the game at the O.P. because they enjoy the food and the crowd.

"Everybody's into it, so it's like being at the game," Evans said.

They wanted to go to the game, but they said playoff tickets are too expensive and too difficult to get.

But whether they are at Mile High Stadium or on their couch, Evans and Phillips said they are not shy about showing their support.

"We actually had the police come to the house one day, and they thought it was a (noise) disturbance," Phillips said. "It was a Broncos game! So we said, 'Come on in.'"

The O.P. owner, Delbert Knez, said he wanted Denver fans to convene and enjoy the game together. A Broncos fan, he was pulling for a win.

But there were a couple people in the crowd rooting for the Steelers.

Lyle Dorn of Montana was one of them. He said he's not particularly a Steelers fan but placed a bet that they would win.

"I've got to go where the money's at," he said.

Evans said she enjoys teasing local Steelers fans but takes the game in good fun. Although she is disappointed, she understands a loss like Sunday's is all part of the sport.

"It doesn't matter if they win or lose, I still love Denver," Evans said.

Michelle Perry can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 209, or mperry@craigdailypress.com.

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