DATE KNIGHT: Mile High Romance Can Get Gamey

Whispering sweet nothings amid a crowd of tens of thousands is tough, but a Broncos game isn’t out of bounds for a romantic time out for two lovebird fans.

You shouldn’t have to be told that your date probably doesn’t see sitting on the couch and watching football as much of a “date” at all. That’s reserved for a relationship with a few dates under its belt, and even then the beers-couch-ballgame trifecta should be drawn sparingly.

But going to the game? That’s different. If you do it right — and treat the game as only the middle stanza of a much-bigger piece — you can satisfy your fandom as well as your date.

So this fall, take these nuggets of advice, slap on some blue and orange and take your date to a Broncos game.

Pre-game

Broncos Date Knight Illustration
Diehard fans will tailgate no matter what. Illustration by Daniel W. Sorensen

The ideal start to your gameday experience has to be tailgating. But don’t be one of the kooks who gets to the stadium before sunrise just so you can score the perfect spot to break out your Weber. That sort of commitment to tailgating has no business on a first game-day date, or even a third or fourth. Wonder why? Don’t date.

While the lots tend to fill up, you can arrive just a few hours before kick-off and often still be able to snag a spot. If you’re not up for getting there that early, brunch is your best bet. Lola Mexican Fish House at 1575 Boulder St. serves a solid feast to get your gameday rolling. When you’re done you’re just a short cab or Uber ride to the stadium. And while you may have opted not to tailgate on your own, snag a 12-pack on the way there and you can always stroll around the tailgate lot and find plenty of friendly folks happy to share your beers with you. Maybe you can impress your date with your bartering skills and swap a couple Budweisers for a pre-game kielbasa.

The game

Don’t go nuts on the tickets. If you drop a few hundred bucks on a primo spot down low by the 50-yard line, you’re gonna want to get your money’s worth. That probably means your butt is firmly in that ritzy seat before kickoff, and you’re sticking it out until the final horn regardless of the score. And during the game — even if it’s a blowout, and even if the temperature drops — you’re not gonna want to leave that seat. That’s bad news.

The game itself should be more like background noise, with the experience of the whole day being the focus. Plus — and this is a 100-percent statement of fact — people in the nosebleeds are more fun. Grab the cheapest pair you can — even those could set you back close to $100 each — and use your seat as a rarely visited sort of home base.

Stroll the stadium and find the few quieter places where you and your date can chat over the roar of the stadium. Not every beer stand sells tasty micro brews, but if you’re willing to stroll and ask around, you can find the few that sling some of Colorado’s finest.

Putting some distance between your date and the game has this added benefit: The success of your date isn’t tied to the success on the field. If the Broncos get shellacked, don’t sweat it. You’re there for the experience, not the win. Victory is oh, so much more subtle when it comes to romance.

Post-game

Broncos Date Restaurant Illustration
Taking the date into the night. Illustration by Daniel W. Sorensen

Here’s why you opted not to get up before the sun. Now that the game is over and over-served goofs with smeared facepaint are filtering out, you’ve still got plenty of energy for some apres-football good times. Hopefully you made a few friends during your tour of the tailgate lot. Your first stop should be those folks so you can have a beer or two and wait out the bulk of the postgame traffic.

After that, when the crowd has died down and a cab can make it to you with little trouble, it’s time to head for dinner. Lucky for you — and thanks to Colorado taxpayers — Denver’s stadiums are all pretty close to Downtown Denver and all the restaurants and bars the heart of the city offers.

Other cities made the foolish move decades ago of plopping their stadiums well away from the bustling night life of a city’s core, not here. You’re probably dressed like too much of a fanboy for anything fancy, but Chile Verde at 2311 Federal Blvd. is just a short jaunt north and you can top your gameday off with margaritas and tacos.

After all that and you find out your date is still laughing and sports barely came up, you might be looking at a ballet or a trip to the art museum in the future. Tailgating survivors all almost always keepers.

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