DENVER -- Denver Broncos fans turned out in record numbers to watch practices at Dove Valley, and they did it again on Saturday.
More than 41,300 fans made the trek to Sports Authority Field at Mile High to watch Peyton Manning and the rest of the team practice.
Prior to Saturday’s Summer Scrimmage, the largest previous crowd to watch practice at Sports Authority was in August 2010 with 20,782 fans.
“We got here today at 7:30 a.m.,” says early-bird fan Michael Green.
That’s seven hours before gates opened, and two weeks before a another team would step foot on the field.
“My wife told me we probably needed to stay the night. So, we were thinking about camping out here,” says Green.
The Greens weren’t alone. Thousands followed in their footsteps.
“I say, ‘Wow.’ I never seen so much people before,” says 10-year-old Celina Guerrero.
It wasn’t a game day, and theses fans didn’t care. They were there to get a preview of Peyton and the post-Tebow Broncos.
“I think it proves we’ll do anything for our team. Sit out here in sweltering 90-degree heat and just to see a practice. Ha. Ha. That’s what it is,” says fan Rachael Belo.
“Peyton Manning,” says James Keegan when asked why he came out to the scrimmage.
The Colt who became a Bronco.
“They’re ready to turn the corner now and see what Manning can do. I think they’re definitely waiting. Because they’re finally a Super Bowl contender with a quarterback like that,” says fan Michael Zaragoza, who was first in line at Gate 9.
“We haven’t had anything since number seven. Yeah! Since number seven. Now, we’ve got him running this team. I’m in love with this Broncos team,” says fan Matt Ash, celebrating in the parking lot.
It was as close to watching a real game as it gets until preseason, with pre-game tailgate parties and hot action on the field.
“We’ve all been chomping at the bit for the season to start. Here we go. We’re here. We’re ready,” says Zaragoza.
The next time fans return here to watch a real game is a pre-season match against the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday, august 18.
The first regular-season game is Sunday, September 9 against Pittsburgh.