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Broncos Political Hangover

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Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones scores the game tying touchdown to send the game into overtime at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Jan. 12, 2013. (credit: Evan Semón/CBS4)

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones scores the game tying touchdown to send the game into overtime at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Jan. 12, 2013. (credit: Evan Semón/CBS4)

Written by Dominic Dezzutti

As Bronco Nation tries to summon the strength to recover from the stunning upset loss last Saturday, many are commenting on the ramifications of the loss.

The most obvious impacts are felt by the team itself, and of course, economically, especially with direct vendors and businesses that thrive during Bronco games.

However, there may be some subtle lost political capital that was flushed down the tubes along with this year’s championship hopes.

What got me thinking about this was remembering what a colleague of mine asked me on the day before the big game. He asked me if the Broncos were able to win a new stadium vote from citizens after the last Super Bowl win, what might they ask for if they won it all this year. Maybe a roof for the stadium so Denver could finally host a Super Bowl? Who knows?

While few citizens or fans are worried about the Broncos losing their chances to go to voters for a retractable roof, I think there may be indeed some political ramifications of the upset loss.

First of all, even if all of Colorado are not Broncos fans, everyone profits from the general confidence and excitement of a playoff run, especially when Vegas odds makers had the Broncos has favorites to win it all. That general confident feeling permeates everything from promos on TV stations to State of the State speeches.

It’s difficult to quantify how that confident feeling affects political leaders, but there is no doubt that there is some effect. If there wasn’t, mayors of cities wouldn’t make fun wagers over results of games. As an aside, I’m unsure what Mayor Hancock owes the mayor of Baltimore, but I know a bet was made.

If the general happy feeling surrounding the success of our sports teams didn’t matter in politics, our elected leaders wouldn’t mention the Broncos in speeches or wear orange and blue while in session. And if team’s success didn’t matter to voters, new stadiums wouldn’t keep getting built with taxpayer funds for teams with successful records.

Secondly, if the Broncos were able to go all the way to the Super Bowl, Denver’s national profile would get a much needed shot in the arm, especially for our skiing industry that could use some shots of Colorado mountain snow on national football broadcasts.

This affect goes further than the immediate economic impact on bars and vendors. This is the opportunity lost for the larger industries in our state. The connection to politics, like any connection, is the money. When skiing and tourism does well, Colorado does well. When they suffer, so do the particular communities that are home to skiing and tourism.

I realize it is a stretch to think that a loss by a professional football team can somehow affect the politics of the state. But anyone who has lived in Colorado for more than a year or two knows how deeply the Broncos effect Colorado’s collective psyche. That being the case, it won’t just be the players that will need some time to shake off this loss. We’ll all be taking this one on the chin for a while.

About The Blogger

- Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.

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