Record crowd boosts the Broncos as season gets underway

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

DENVER – When 41,304 fans showed up at Sports Authority Field at Mile High to watch the Broncos play in their Summer Scrimmage, the players and coaches noticed.

So did the Colorado Rockies.

More than 6,000 fewer fans filled the seats at Coors Field to watch the San Francisco Giants stomp the Rox 11-6.

And the Broncos were just PRACTICING.

Saturday’s Summer Scrimmage attendance set a record, and doubled the more than 20,000 fans who should up for the scrimmage at the peak of Tebow-mania.

Seems Manning-mania is more contagious.

“It was a great crowd, no question,” Manning said. “The fans were into it.”

Coach John Fox agreed: “It’s unbelievable.”

It was the first time fans had a chance to see Manning at Mile High—as a Denver Bronco.

“That first play, try to go deep—that’s something that you do every now and then during a game. I could tell during kind of the seven-on-seven, early on, that throwing the short passes weren’t really exciting for the crowd,” said Manning. “The last play of my seven-on-seven I actually changed that play to a deep pass just to keep the fans from leaving.”

The fans weren’t going anywhere, even though Manning wasn’t stellar. He went 4 of 8 with a touchdown pass to Eric Decker.

He did throw an interception, but you have to remember this was only a scrimmage.

But it did make at least some of the defensive players feel good.

“We got the rust out of the way—a full, live scrimmage,” said safety Rahim Moore. “It felt good.”

“We were pleased with what we did,” said Fox. “I think number 18 (Manning) does a pretty good job of managing the game and the offense.”

“I know it was good for me and for a lot of the players going into the game against Chicago on Thursday,” according to Manning.

And that’s the next big step.

Preseason starts on Thursday when the Broncos head to the Windy City to face the Chicago Bears. These guys are excited to face someone other than their own teammates.

“We can’t hit our quarterbacks,” lamented Elvis Dumervil. “So we try to get as close as possible, but preseason is around the corner and we’ll have our opportunities.”

“Hopefully, we can make some strides in the preseason,” said Manning. “We still have some work to do, no doubt about it.”

With the season fast approaching, there is energy in the air.

“I’m excited,” Dumervil says.

There’s no doubt the fans are excited, too. But so are former Broncos.

FOX31 Sports caught up with a couple of greats who believe Manning makes this team special.

According to Rod Smith, “That position is sacred around here, and we have had guys come in here and try to do it. If any guy can do it, it’s that guy.”

“As far as me being a Denver Broncos fan, this is it,” says Karl Mecklenburg. “It’s unbelievable, the excitement.”

Mark Schlereth wants to see the team win Super Bowls again.

“I want to have a parade … and I want to be down there front and center of the parade high-fiving guys,” he said.