Bronco Stadium is one of the toughest places in the nation for visiting teams to play. It's loud atmosphere and raucous fans disrupt snap-counts and intimidate opposing benches. Truly, Bronco Stadium is a rich tapestry of fans of all stripes...all unified by a common bond —to root our Broncos on to victory.
But that is barely scratching the surface...trained observers may notice more exotic fan-types lurking among the throngs of Bronco faithful. For the untrained, here is a quick primer...a field guide, if you will, that will help you to recognize the sundry breeds that currently inhabit our home turf. Take notes!
The boo-bird (Yellus Disapprovus)
Anthroplogists maintain that booing is one of the earliest forms of speech. Long ago, when the cavemen roamed the earth (presumably somewhere near Kuna), it was commonplace to hear a chorus of "boo"s around the fire (usually when it became clear that Gak had made meatloaf for dinner yet again). Over the centuries, man developed vastly more complex language patterns to vocalize a wide range of emotions—the boo-birds, sadly, did not. The boo-bird's sole method of communication is a gutteral "boo" (often amplified by placing the palms on either side of the mouth)...their only emotion—disdain.
Bronco Stadium is inhabited by many of these flightless birds. They look normal enough...heck, others will often mimic their cries when they spot a wayward Vandal...but make no mistake—the boo-birds are a nuisance and their numbers must be "thinned out". The boo-bird will make his presence known whenever they see a yellow referee's flag on the field...regardless of whether it belongs there or not. These boo-birds have been known to turn on their own, as well (famously, in the waning moments of the 2005 Humanitarian Bowl). Keep a sharp eye!
Uncle Rico (Recapturus Glorius)
The dramatization of "the Uncle Rico" in the hit movie Napolean Dynamite led many to believe that Uncle Ricos were merely a Hollywood invention to drum up ticket sales. The over-simplified stereotype of the silver-screen distracted the masses from the truth: the Uncle Rico is all too real.
Though their plumage will vary, the Uncle Rico is easy enough to spot. Some will sport a weather-beaten letterman's jacket while others are clad in a faded district tournament tee-shirts. Often, the Uncle Rico is seen before games and at half-time throwing fade route after fade route to their exhausted children and muttering under their breath about that time that Minico beat Burley in 1987.
The Uncle Rico, while outwardly appearing brash and confident, is constantly in a very weakened emotional state. Any attempts to alter their skewed perception of reality may result in wild mood swings or even violence. For example, it would be unwise to tell the Uncle Rico that their alma mater fielded a better football team the year after they graduated or that the play that the Broncos just ran was NOT stolen from Jerome High's playbook. The best defense against the Uncle Rico is headphones and a strong constitution...only approach them if you are willing to run slant routes by the Kinesiology Building.
The Sitter (Gluteus Utilizus)
Everybody needs to rest their legs now and again. The Sitter needs to rest them all of the time. The Sitter's desire to remain on their perch is only rivaled by their desire to have a clear view of the playing field at all times—sowing great discord between itself and its neighbors.
The sitter's main offensive weapon is the "shoulder tap", but when angered may seek intervention from an authority figure. The Sitter is generally a matriarchal figure who has "earned" their sedentary position by "paying BAA fees" or "being pregnant". The Sitter, because of their influence, can be a very dangerous breed...often causing its neighbors to migrate or strain a muscle whilst rolling their eyes. Paradoxically, the Sitter can often stand for up to a half an hour when in line for nachos or the ladies' room. Males of the species may be pacified with binoculars.
The Professor (Talkus Disruptus)
The Professor is said to be descended not from apes but from Paul J. Schneider and Tom Scott. They can be easily spotted from afar, as their mouth will be moving and those around it will move to form a safe perimeter. The Professor is usually seen wearing headphones and takes great pleasure in announcing the injury status of players and "calling" plays before they actually occur.
The Professor can be handy in certain situations as they will voluntarily divulge the name and weight of the player your wife just asked you about—but do not engage the professor or make more than brief eye contact—they will distract you from the game and lull you to sleep. They sometimes cross-breed with Sitters in which case, you'd best put in for a seat relocation. If you aren't totally sure if you are in the presence of a Professor, try loudly mispronouncing player names...they will become visibly shaken and may relocate of their own accord.
The Bandwagoner (Yuppieus Relocatus)
The Bandwagoners used to be native to other climes, but in the last 10 years have migrated or otherwise spread into Bronco Stadium. The Bandwagoner will show only passing interest in the actual game, but will be draped from head to toe in blue and orange. Sometimes facepaint is applied. The Bandwagoner may on occasion forget itself and wear a Bronco shirt with a Longhorns cap (or whomever won the BCS title the previous year) which usually gives away their position...but if you're not sure if you've stumbled upon a Bandwagoner, this faithful proverb may help:
If a Bandwagoner you see, a Professor will flee.
If a Professor sticks around, no Bandwagoners are to be found
You see, for obvious reasons, the Professor and the Bandwagoner are mortal enemies...both are to be avoided, but if one causes you more pain than the other "the enemy of your enemy is your friend".
The Bandwagoner can sometimes evolve into a true fan, but this only occurs with prolonged success of the team (hence the number currently found at Bronco Stadium). A 7-5 or 6-6 campaign will usually send the Bandwagoner running back to Capz to change their adornments...only to return when a conference title looks imminent. Like the nuisance fish who clean the sharks gills, Bandwagoners are a necessary evil—they can help sustain a team through their obsessive hoarding of merchandise and often their departure is a bad omen.