Denver Broncos | News

Mason's Mailbag: Don't forget about Alexander Johnson

Hey Mase, big Broncos fan from Italy here. Why don’t NFL teams have their own anthem as soccer teams here in Europe do?

— Andrea Mariani

This is a question that doesn’t have a clear answer. A few teams — most prominently the Redskins, Ravens, Bears, Lions and Eagles — have old-school fight songs that play after touchdowns. In Washington and Baltimore, the teams have marching bands to play the songs, which provides a college-like atmosphere. All of these songs date back to the 1950s or earlier. (Baltimore’s song goes back to the Colts days; the Ravens reintroduced it with lyrics reflecting a team with a bird mascot rather than a horse.) 

For teams without such prominent fight songs, there are popular tunes that catch on and grow into franchise staples. For example, Steelers games at Heinz Field wouldn’t be as electric without Styx’s “Renegade” playing at some point in the fourth quarter, sending thousands of yellow towels twirling aloft.

In the last 13 years, the Broncos have twice attempted to use a fight song or a specific song played after a touchdown. These were attempts to fill the void created when the team stopped playing Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll Part 2." That song had been connected to Denver sports since the NHL Colorado Rockies used it as their goal-celebration song during their 1976-82 run at McNichols Sports Arena. It fell out of favor in the wake of Glitter's odious criminal behavior, so the search was on for something new.

In 2006, the Broncos tried to use a reworked version of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy's "Go Daddy-O" with lyrics written for the Broncos. It never quite took. When the song blasted over the stadium public-address system, I noticed looks of indifference in the crowd. I recall being on the field immediately after Jason Elam’s game-ending overtime field goal in Week 2 game against Kansas City, and after the win, the song played. The thrill of victory was mixed with befuddlement on the faces of at least two players I saw at that moment.

Two years ago, the Broncos attempted to revive an old fight song, which was set to the tune of the tune used by the University of Northern Colorado's sports teams. The Broncos Stampede Drum Line plays the song before games, but attempts to use it after scores struggled to catch on. It probably didn’t help that the Broncos endured their longest losing streak in nearly a half-century that season. Many a good marketing or promotional sports idea has died because it arose when the on-field, on-court or on-ice product stunk at the time. 

For a song to stick, it has to strike an emotional chord. It has to arrive at the right moment; very few songs adhere to a team during times of struggle. And it can’t be something you force on the fans; it just has to happen. Who knows what it could be for the Broncos? For all we know, “Old Town Road” could stick as something that resonates with fans this year. But if the team goes 7-9, it likely won’t.

What ever happened to that LB from Tennessee (Alexander Johnson)? They paid him a hefty signing bonus.

— James Spellman

He’s still on the roster, still fighting for a spot at inside linebacker. Beyond Todd Davis and Josey Jewell, that position is one of the hardest to predict, since so much of what the reserves must do on the field — on defense and in their special-teams roles — is not revealed until it’s time for full-pad work in practices and preseason games.

Johnson, for what it’s worth, is confident he can make an impression.

“If I can stay consistent and be persistent, everything else will fall into place,” he said on Orange and Blue 760 earlier this month.

Following Pat Bowlen's death, who will control the Broncos and will we see a change in the way the franchise is managed?

— Gonzalo Begines

For the time being, team will remain owned by the Pat Bowlen Trust, which assumed the helm of the team in 2014 when Bowlen stepped away to focus on his fight with Alzheimer’s disease. The goal remains for the team to be controlled by one of Bowlen’s children at some point in the future. But for now, expect no significant changes in the day-to-day management of the club.

"I would just tell you that nothing has changed," President/CEO Joe Ellis said on June 17. "Pat prepared himself for this day, planned ahead for this day. The trustees are going to follow Pat’s plan. I’m going to carry out what Pat asked me to do and honor what he asked me to do and that’s really as much as I would say at this time."

Do you see the Broncos making any trades before the start of the season and before the trade deadline?

— J.D. Phillips

While it would be irresponsible and futile to make a specific projection as to the type of trade made, the odds are in favor of this. From 2014-18, the Broncos made six trades from this point of the year through the trade deadline — an average of 1.2 per season. The most recent trade was the swap of Demaryius Thomas to the Houston Texans for a fourth-round pick and an exchange of seventh-round selections last October.

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