Game-day uniform ready

DEAN HUMPHREY/The Daily Sentinel—Jefferson Baker displays some of his Denver Broncos memorabilia in his Grand Junction home, including the No. 80 jersey of former Broncos receiver Rod Smith.

His No. 80 Rod Smith jersey had been laid neatly on the couch next to a pair of blue Broncos pants, a string of orange beads and a hat that looked like a stuffed animal.

The ensemble is what Jefferson Baker, who works at Page-Parsons Jewelers and is a member of the Grand Junction Lions Club, will wear to today’s AFC Championship game between the Broncos and Patriots at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver.

Smith was a longtime wide receiver for the Broncos.

“I’ve worn the same jersey all year,” Baker said. “It gets washed, but that’s what I’ve worn.”

The Grand Junction man is one of an untold number of area Broncos fans with tickets to today’s game, where the winner goes to the Super Bowl.

Like many diehard sports fans, Baker is superstitious about his role in the outcome of Broncos games.

It’s why he has worn the same Rod Smith jersey all year.

It’s why he spent Saturday night at the same Denver hotel where he stayed last week when the Broncos beat the Chargers.

And it’s why he’s taking his 17-year-old daughter Alexandria Baker to the game. Well, that and he loves her.

Alexandria doesn’t care about the Broncos. It’s just that “every game I’ve watched with her, they’ve won easily,” Jefferson Baker said.

Last week, father and daughter didn’t watch the game together because Jefferson was at the game with a friend. The Broncos won but not convincingly.

Baker sat two rows from the top and confirmed what people saw on TV: it was really loud and windy.

“People hardly sat down,” Baker said.

He expects it’ll be louder today.

The forecast is sunny and 63 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

Paul Cain, School District 51’s athletics and activities director, also is headed to the game with his brother.

“When I walk into the stadium, the hair on the back of my neck will stand up,” Cain said. “It has this energy and feel. It’s kind of addictive.”

In terms of what will happen?

Baker, in true superstitious fashion, “won’t say anything until it’s over.”


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