DENVER —- Saturday evening, two of the most prominent teams in the NFL went head to head in their first preseason game — fans of the Denver Broncos knew the stakes were low, but many believed a win would preview good fortune for the upcoming season.
"It feels good; it's early season so everybody is kind of just starting to get their bearings," said Dustin Pearson, a life-long Broncos fan. "We'll hopefully get a glimpse of what this offense can potentially do and hopefully see some defense as well."
Pearson said he believed the game might also leave him and others optimistic about the entire Broncos roster, including backups. Prominent starters like Russell Wilsondid not play in the game.
"That's where those guys [backups] usually come out — is in these games, where they're looking to shine and earn their spot on the roster," Pearson said. "Yeah, that would be exciting to see."
Hours before kickoff, Pearson and other fans gathered on "Mane Street", located on the grand lawn on the south side of Empower Field.
The game-day experience included activities and booths showcasing a variety of Colorado businesses.
Meanwhile, others tailgated nearby. Among the sea fans donned in orange and blue, there was also a sizable crowd of Cowboys fans.
"Everyone's pretty welcoming for the most part," said Mike Cartmell, wearing a jersey for former Cowboys tight end Jason Witten.
Cartmell grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which is where his love for the Cowboys began. But his children root for the Broncos.
"The Cowboys are going to win, so it's OK!" Cartmell quipped. His young son replied through laughter, "They're not going to win!"
During a preason game, where the pressure is off, it's evident fans gathered to have fun.
"Never do I doubt my Broncos, I go in with a 'W' and I come out with one," Joyce Askew said.
Askew pointed to her shirt which read, "real women watch football, smart women watch the broncos".
"That's it," she said with a grin. "That's it."