The Broncos are gearing up to play holiday football with a Christmas Eve prime-time clash against the New England Patriots on Sunday. While Denver will look to give its fans plenty to cheer about at Empower Field at Mile High on the field, several Broncos offensive linemen reflected on their Christmas favorites, from their all-time favorite gifts to their expert tips on navigating the holiday season as an NFL player.
Right tackle Mike McGlinchey gave the title of his favorite gift to a ping-pong table his family received when he was growing up. As the oldest of six, McGlinchey was eager to compete in a different sport from football and got plenty of use of the table in the months after receiving the gift.
"When I was a kid, Santa brought [me and] my brother … a ping-pong table," McGlinchey said after practice on Wednesday. "My brother and I, our cousins and everybody that lived near us, we probably played ping-pong every day for the next six months after that. That was one of the coolest gifts I ever got, for sure."
McGlinchey added that he had the upper hand in the sibling rivalry, extending ping-pong battles after rare losses to ensure he ended on a positive note.
"The times that [my brother] did beat me, I would make him play 10 more times to make him know who was better," McGlinchey said.
Center Lloyd Cushenberry III also chose a sports-related gift as his favorite present: a basketball hoop. Though he doesn't have the hoop anymore, Cushenberry still harbors fond memories of basketball matchups.
"I was telling someone, I think in fourth or fifth grade I got a glass basketball goal, so that was my favorite Christmas present ever," Cushenberry said. "It was pretty fun. … It was a long time ago — it's beat up now."
After travelling to Los Angeles for a game against the Rams on Christmas Day last season, the Broncos are eager to celebrate Christmas at home.
Guard Quinn Meinerz said planning and flexibility is key to balancing game days and time with family.
"It means doing everything ahead of time," Meinerz said. "Last year, we played on Christmas away, so that's just how it is, regardless. … It's just making the game day [about] game day, and then when that settles down, you can get into it and have fun with family."