You know how sometimes during a game the camera zooms in on the owner and he's wearing a suit and tie and has a drink in his hand and looks much warmer than everyone in the stands? That's where we were sitting.
It was absolutely incredible. I had no idea anyone watched football like that. The suite directly overlooked one of the end zones. It was enclosed and heated. There was complimentary pre-game fruit and cheese and chocolate and coffee.
During the game we had a full menu and bar to order from. Technically, the food and drinks weren't free, but the people from Brian's dad's company, who owned our seats, told us to eat and drink as much as we wanted because they'd taken care of it. Gluttony ensued. There was also a popcorn machine I couldn't stay away from.
Mike Minter, a former Panther, was in our suite signing copies of his book. Santa and Mrs. Claus made an appearance, as did some of the Panthers cheerleaders.
We had free parking right across the street.
Morgan and Brian are Broncos fans, having moved here from Colorado, but they couldn't be very vocal in that atmosphere. The Panthers played great and easily won. I was playing Jonathan Stewart in fantasy, and Matt was playing Deangelo Williams, and both of them had a good day so the win was that much sweeter. (I was also playing the Broncos' kicker, Matt Prater, but he only made one field goal.)
For possibly the first time in my life, I wasn't ready for the game to end.
It was a 4 p.m. game but we left home early to make a day of it and fit in a Target trip, a stop at a guitar store for Brian and lunch at Lib and Jorge's favorite uptown restaurant, Rock Bottom Brewery. (If we'd realized how much unlimited free food was coming our way in Suite 87, we never would have actually paid to eat just a couple of hours earlier, but we were expecting only light hors d'oeuvres.)
While walking to lunch we happened to pass the hotel where the Broncos were staying. The team buses were out front and a small crowd had formed waiting for the players to walk out. We decided to wait five minutes and see if anything happened, and sure enough, we got to see Jay Cutler, Champ Bailey and coach Mike Shanahan, plus some other Broncos none of us recognized.
I had thought about giving Matt Panthers tickets for Christmas, but I'm so glad now that I didn't. Can you say anti-climactic?
Riley picture of the day