NEW YORK — I’m not trying to put the cart before the horse here, but … Denver’s horses, your Broncos, will win the Super Bowl.
This is because Sunday’s Super game will be played during the Year of the Horse, of course. Yes, the Chinese zodiac year of the divine equine begins Friday.
“So, if your team is the Broncos and it’s the Year of the Horse, that is good news for you — I think it’s a good omen,” explained Denverite Greg Sobetski, who lived in China for a year after studying international relations and economics at the University of Denver.
“I think it’s the best possible year for the Super Bowl to be played. I think that you have the Year of the Horse, tying in the Broncos and their ‘Time To Ride’ theme. I think we’re going to ride into New Jersey and kick some Seahawk butt.”
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The Chinese calendar cycles 12 different animals, one each year, so the horse only pops up every dozen years, making this a serendipitous twist on the Broncos season.
And not only that but Broncos coach John Fox was born in a Year of the Horse, the one that began on Feb. 3, 1955, with Mrs. Fox giving us the hoarse head horse five days later.
Oh, and offensive coordinator Adam Gase, who is the closest thing Peyton Manning has to a horse whisperer, was also born in the year of the horse (March 29, 1978). Not convinced yet? Guess who else was born in 1978? Champ Bailey.
I decided to call my go-to horse source. Ann Judge-Wegener rides Thunder at the Broncos games. Because I couldn’t get quotes straight from the horse’s mouth, I figured I’d go straight to the horse’s mount.
“Everything seems to be clicking,” she said while her Arabian gelding signaled a desire for a carrot. “The playoffs, getting the bye, home-field advantage and getting to the Super Bowl — and having it approved for Thunder to be out there on the field — it really does make sense that it all fits together. The Year of the Horse and the Broncos at the Super Bowl? It seems like fate to me.”
It’s been so long in Denver — high-school freshmen have never seen the Broncos win a title — one wondered if the Broncos would win another Super Bowl when pigs fly. Well, how about when horses fly? Thunder and Ann will board a flight Thursday to head to Newark (Thunder requested an aisle seat).
Now, to give you some background, according to the thorough website travelchinaguide.com: “The spirit of the horse is recognized to be the Chinese people’s ethos — making unremitting efforts to improve themselves. It is energetic, bright, warmhearted, intelligent and able. Ancient people liked to designate an able person as ‘Qianli Ma,’ a horse that covers a thousand li a day (one li equals 500 meters).”
As such, I expect Manning to throw for one li on Sunday. As for other Broncos who could make some hay, here’s betting on Montee Ball and Danny Trevathan, two Broncos born in 1990, a Year of the Horse.
“I just got an email from a former student,” Sobetski said. “And this shows you how Chinese people perceive these different animal years in their tradition. He writes to me, and his English isn’t great, but he says: ‘Hi Greg, Happy New Year. This is the year of the horse in Chinese tradition. I wish you can get promoted in your work like a running horse and wish our friendship forever like a long-lasting horse race.’
“New Year’s Day in China is on Friday, but really, it’s a multiday festival, it goes on for about a week. So Sunday, when the game’s being played, there still will be fireworks going off in China, horse decorations up everywhere and people celebrating pretty enthusiastically.”
From Shanghai to the Mile High.