User ID
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Betting Tools

Flacco banner in Denver draws fans ire

DENVER (AP) - Joe Flacco looms larger than life in Denver, and not just because he engineered the stunning upset of the Broncos in the playoffs that propelled the Baltimore Ravens to the Super Bowl title.

The league's marketing campaign for next week's kickoff game features several large banners of Flacco fluttering from lamp posts on downtown streets - and a giant one several stories high that hangs at Sports Authority Field alongside a banner of Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.

That has drawn an angry public reaction from Broncos fans who have taken to Twitter and to the streets to vent their frustration. One local sportscaster used a Sharpie to draw a mustache on a Flacco poster hanging along Denver's 16th Street Mall, and covered another with tape.

Some fans have organized an online petition asking the league, which purchased the advertising space from the Downtown Denver Partnership, to remove the Flacco banners.

The Ravens visit Denver on Thursday for the NFL's regular-season opener. They're the first champion to open on the road since the Super Bowl team began hosting the league's Thursday night kickoff celebration 10 years ago.

In a radio interview this week, Manning questioned the placement of the Flacco banner on the stadium, telling KOA 850 AM, the Broncos' radio affiliate in Denver, ``It doesn't seem to make much sense that the Denver Broncos have to have an opposing player on their stadium.''

``We respect the fans' passion and enthusiasm for the game,'' said Brian McCarthy, NFL vice president of corporate communications. ``This will be in many ways a Super Bowl-like atmosphere with a national audience to kick off the season. It's a tremendous matchup, but built around it is some of our activities that you would see at a Super Bowl or you'd see at an international game where you promote both teams.''

McCarthy noted that in the 2007 kickoff, there were giant banners of Saints running back Reggie Bush hanging alongside those of Manning, then with the Colts, in Indianapolis. Last year, there were subway lines named for Dallas QB Tony Romo and Giants QB Eli Manning. And the year before that, a huge banner of Saints QB Drew Brees hung alongside one of Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers at an arena near Lambeau Field.

The difference is, this is the first time the giant banner of a player is hanging on the opposing team's stadium.

McCarthy reiterated that the league wanted the defending Super Bowl champions to open at home, as is custom, but the Baltimore Orioles wouldn't reschedule their game, so the Ravens are opening on the road.

He said the game in Denver also is used ``to promote the matchups of all the other teams. So, think of it almost as an opening ceremony. During the game next Thursday we will celebrate the return of the NFL across the country. There will be special moments before the game that will be different than if this was a Week 7 game, which it could have been.''

McCarthy added that images of Manning will be displayed in Baltimore when the signage and stage for Keith Urban's kickoff concert there go up next week.

Defensive end Derek Wolfe said he prefers everyone leave the banners alone and let the Broncos' defense worry about taking down Flacco.

``We'll take care of that,'' he said. ``You guys just come to the game.''


AP NFL website:


Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter:

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2016
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

Rogers: MNF - Texans at Broncos
DiNitto: Opening Line Report - Week 8
Chargers rally past Falcons in OT, 33-30
Giants' 4 INTs key in 17-10 win over Rams
Ajayi rushes for 214, Dolphins tops Bills
Eagles tame Bradford, deal Vikes 1st loss
Lions top 'Skins on Stafford's late TD
Chiefs beat mistake-prone Saints 27-21
Luck, Colts pull out 34-26 win at Titans
Why Buy Picks From
NFL Pro Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NFL Hot Streaks
7-1 L2 Sundays, 25-12 NFL Run
12-3 G-Play Run, +1,115 TY
8-1 Last 9 NFL Guarantees
8-1 L9 Totals, 11-4 L15 Selections
8-3 NFL Last Sunday
7-1 L8 G-Plays, 11-5 Totals TY
4-0 Record Last Sunday
9-3 L12 G-Plays, 3-1 L4 Mondays
15-7 Last 22 NFL G-Plays
3-0 NFL Week 6 Record
6-1 Thursdays TY, 11-6 L17 GPlays
5-2 Last 7 NFL Guarantees
3-0 Record L3 NFL Totals
8-3 Last 11 Guaranteed Plays
7-2 L9 Over/Under Plays
3-0 L3 Thurs., 7-3 L10 Picks
NFL Pro Football Expert Picks - Houston Texans at Denver Broncos
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Pat Hawkins + 1115
Chip Chirimbes + 402
The Gold Sheet + 347
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
Micah Roberts + 450
Bruce Marshall + 364
Dave Cokin + 300
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Pat Hawkins 61 %
Michael Black 58 %
Chip Chirimbes 56 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Pat Hawkins + 960
Chip Chirimbes + 565
Greg Smith + 395
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Paul Bovi + 562
Kevin Rogers + 480
Pat Hawkins + 370
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kevin Rogers + 720
Gary Bart + 544
Mark Franco + 395
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership