Watching the Broncos gets tricky
Denver Broncos preseason television broadcasts have always been like watching the elephant or the jet liner standing behind David Copperfield in one of his magical extravaganzas: Sometimes you can see them, sometimes you don’t.
And although it has been publicized that all four of the Broncos preseason games will be telecast in Grand Junction in the next month — three of them courtesy of KKCO, Channel 11, the NBC affiliate, and the fourth a nationally telecast game courtesy of Fox, there is a slight hitch you might want to watch for.
Thursday night’s (6:30 p.m. MST) contest in Chicago against the Bears is to be preempted by the Olympics, thus moving it from KKCO to its new sister station ME-TV, something you can pick up on cable channels 109 or 194, or channel 11.2 if you are using an antenna.
Notice anything missing?
How about satellite viewers, be it DISH or DirecTV, roughly a third of the viewers in the Grand Valley?
Neither Dish nor DirecTV will provide the ME-TV coverage, meaning a high number of local fans are going to have to get creative.
If you, like every right-thinking Bronco fan in need of his or her first Peyton Manning-as-a-Bronco fix, want to watch and are stuck in this situation, there are solutions.
If you want to spend money on Thursday night’s game and watch from home, go to NFL.com and purchase every preseason game of every team to be shown on your computer for $19.95.
You could also purchase an antenna for $25 or more and rewire one of your satellite TVs — risky business for those whose electronic skills approximate mine.
If you are a satellite user and can get local channels over the air on your digital television, simply take your TV off satellite and tune to channel 11.2.
Simpler solutions would be to find a friend who has cable, or battle for a spot at your favorite watering hole.
Word of warning to you bar flies, however: In calling around town, some of the sports bars have satellite, not cable. Many of the sports bar managers that use satellite were unaware that the game would not be available and said they would have to do some serious remote work to try to pick up feeds out of Denver or Chicago.
So, if you want to watch Manning’s first foray into Bronco game action in a sports bar, check it out beforehand and make sure you are talking to someone at the bar who knows the situation. Don’t make the assumption that the Broncos-Bears game will be on everywhere.
You know what they say about ASSumptions.
Speaking of this first preseason game for Denver and Chicago, can you remember more interest in a “meaningless” NFL exhibition?
There is, of course, the Manning Watch that has grabbed the attention of not just Bronco maniacs, but all good pro football fans across the country curious as to his progress since the numerous neck surgeries.
This will be a good gauge of how the four-time league MVP is adapting to his new surroundings and how his new teammates are adapting to him.
We will certainly get an updated reading on his arm strength, although he may not throw a ball much more than 20 yards in what will surely be a dummied-down offensive game plan.
We also may get a bit of foreshadowing of his tendencies as far as favorite receivers, be it young wideouts Demaryius Thomas or Eric Decker, old standby Brandon Stokley, two new starting tight ends in Jacob Tamme or Joel Dreessen, or maybe sneak attacks out of the backfield from rookie Ronnie Hillman.
One would think his tendencies right now would approximate what they have been in the past, meaning he will spread the ball a bunch.
There are, of course, other things to watch for.
I’ll be watching in particular how the Broncos play defensively.
Want something to key in on? Watch Ty Warren, Kevin Vickerson, Justin Bannon and rookie Derek Wolfe in the middle of the line. And keep an eye out for Central product Ben Garland, listed as a defensive end, but being capable of playing anywhere across the line. He will be wearing No. 63.
Also, check out new corners Tracy Porter and Drayton Florence and new safety Mike Adams.
As for this first Bronco test, we may witness the answer to a question that we all asked years ago — an answer we never got in full because Mike Shanahan lost his job: Will Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall be all that?
Shanahan drafted both and thought they would guide the Broncos to numerous Super Bowls. After some successes and too many failures, out went Shanahan, in came Josh McDaniels and soon after, out went Cutler in April 2009 to Chicago, followed almost exactly a year later by Marshall’s exit to Miami.
Now those two are reunited on what should be a very good Bears team — one that should be in the hunt in the tough NFC Central with the Packers and Lions.
You can bet the twosome will be a good test for Bronco defenders in this first act of the month-long preseason drama.
Now, if we all can just find a way to see it play out.