The Denver Broncos Quarterback Club visited Dove Valley to watch 9News' Broncos Huddle show and to meet with Broncos President and CEO Joe Ellis.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. —** Back when the Denver Nuggets were the Denver Rockets, Paula Faulkner's father worked at a Sundstrand Corporation aviation plant that made rocket parts. Her father hired Broncos players to work there in the offseason to help them settle into the area and because at the time when the Broncos were in the AFL, the players needed the extra job to maintain income.
She was a Bronco fan from a young age, and loved the connections the team made in the community as she and the team grew up together in Denver. She would volunteer at church events early on Saturday mornings if a Broncos player was scheduled to speak there, and she went to their practice facility, watching and waiting for them to finish, after which they would happily sign autographs.
"It was a family. We all grew up together, we all supported each other," Faulkner said. "We feel like we're a big part of the success of the Broncos continuing and who they are today, and we're pretty excited about that."
Now she is the president of the Denver Broncos Quarterback Club, a booster club that she estimates is the last official NFL team booster club of its kind.
On Wednesday night, two presidents met with Faulkner and many of the club's 150 members sitting down for a Q&A session with Broncos President and CEO Joe Ellis.
He fielded questions on everything from player nutrition to a detailed description of players' daily and weekly schedules to plenty of queries about the new field house that will make for a better fan experience at the next training camp.
And before that, the club had been the audience for 9News' Broncos Huddle show with Emmanuel Sanders and C.J. Anderson, watching the two discuss current Broncos news and ball-handling keys to avoid fumbling from Anderson.
"It's just a lot of fun," Ellis said. "Who wouldn't want to meet with these folks? They're diehard fans. They've been with us through thick and thin and it's just a pleasure to come out and interact with them. They're very enthusiastic, very interested and very passionate about the team."
Plus, this was the 50th anniversary of the club's origination in 1964, and among the crowd were some original season ticket holders. Of their total numbers, there are probably around 20 or 25 of them in their membership, Faulkner said. To have them on hand at this kind of celebration and event, and to be joined by the team's CEO and President was a great moment.
"That's very special," Faulkner said. "He started that two years ago with us. It's very cool that he does this. It's very special because, I mean, a lot of executives, especially the top executives at corporations, they've got this meeting and they've got this to do and that to do and 'my time is my time' but he takes his time to come meet with us and nothing is off-limits. He wants questions about anything and everything, so it's very cool that he gives us that access."
And then for Ellis, it's just: "Who wouldn't want to meet with these folks?"
"They're diehard fans," he added. "They've been with us through thick and thin and it's just a pleasure to come out and interact with them. They're very enthusiastic, very interested and very passionate about the team."
After the Broncos were named the most popular team in America in one poll, and earned more honors in others, it's easy to see how passionate the fanbase is, but it's even more evident when some of the biggest fans are right there to sit down with you.
"I think it's more of the fans' love for the team throughout this region," Ellis said. "It really comes through when you see a group like this. It's all over the place. It's in the city, it's in Wyoming, it's in Utah, it's in New Mexico, it's in Southern Colorado, it's across the continental divide. There's so much passion and love for this team. It never ceases to amaze me."
Check out photos from the Broncos' Wednesday practice.