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Northern Colorado State of Mind

By Chris Jacobson

A little off topic, but I was watching the Boston Celtics and the Orlando Magic play on Sunday night and was watching a truly impressive performance by the Celtic’s Rajon Rondo. Rondo is, thus far, the MVP of the playoffs and single handedly lifting the Celtics past the Magic. The problem is that Boston fans have been trying to run Rondo off for the last few seasons because he doesn’t play on the same level as his more senior teammates.

It got me thinking about other players in the same circumstance. Donovan McNabb was the first to come to mind. He was booed when he was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles (the knowledgeable Eagle fans wanted Ricky Williams) and was maligned until he was run off despite taking the Eagles to multiple NFC Championship games and a Super Bowl. Enjoy Kevin Kolb Eagles fans. I thought about Manny Ramirez and his erratic behavior outweighing his helping end the “Curse of the Bambino”. I considered the boo birds at Giants Stadium for Eli Manning before he brought his fans a Super Bowl. I thought about Allen Iverson in Philly, Bobby Valentine coaching the Mets and the entire Florida Marlins fan base.

The problem is the propensity for the east coast fan to call for a trade of a player or the firing of the coach regardless of potential or history. It just isn’t like that in Colorado. The quote I heard that best emulates this was just after the Tim Tebow draft when a friend said that Tebow was “not who I wanted but he’s a Bronco now, so I’ll cheer him on.” That seems to be the norm in Colorado sports, and I like it. When Sonny Lubick was let go from Colorado State University the fans didn’t like it and celebrated his time as coach of the Rams but were quick to embrace his replacement, Steve Fairchild. Fans seemed to universally love Clint Hurdle but were able to take new manager Jim Tracy under their collective wing. We celebrated Dante Bichette despite his inability to hit outside of Coors Field and much of Rockies pitching despite not being able to throw in it. We cheered for Brian Griese, Bubby Brister, Jake Plummer, Jay Cutler and Kyle Orton. Unfortunately, early Elway was someone we actually did boo. CU fans are able to stay loyal to their Buffalos regardless of what their football and basketball programs have become and Avalanche fans are rabid with their love for their team. We cheer for teams with high expectations and no expectations. We love our winners but are quick to forgive our losers.

What would have happened to Elway and company after their ’97 loss to Jacksonville if they were in Washington or Philadelphia? My guess it the fans would have wanted wholesale changes. Some cities would want to burn the Nuggets to the ground and start over after their early round ousting in this years playoffs. The Rockies aren’t quite where they want to be but instead of calling for Jim Tracy’s head they’re calling for Roy Oswalt’s arm and Lance Berkman’s bat.

There’s a reason guys like Chauncey Billups, Jason Giambi and Brian Dawkins want to come here, it’s the same reason why Todd Helton, John Elway and Joe Sakic never left; Colorado has great sports fans and Denver is a great sports town. We can call Josh McDaniels the “Hoodie Junior” and say that Melo needs to play better defense without wanting them tarred and feathered. We can love the “Birdman” despite his past and his on court shortcomings. We’ll defend Tim Tebow, Coors Field and Bill Romanowski. We will cheer for Matt Holliday despite being two teams removed from the Rockies and boo Jay Cutler anywhere he goes. We’ll pick our guys up when they fall down and celebrate the loudest for our underdogs (anyone try to buy tickets for the 2007 “Rocktober” playoffs?). All said and done, east coast, you can keep your inflated salaries, your TV contracts and your endorsement deals. Here in the Mountain Time zone we’ll stick with our fan loyalty.

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