The Denver Broncos... not so much.
On Sunday Night Football this week it will be a contrast of styles both on and off the field, with the two teams that won the last three Super Bowls squaring off for what has been a powerful NFL rivalry over the last 15 years.
One of the Patriots’ many demonstrations of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans support was the team’s sponsorship of Gay Bowl XVII last month in Boston. Not only did the team donate $25,000 to the event, but team owner Robert Kraft showed up at the event’s closing party to thank the attendees and give a short speech.
The Patriots were the first team to sponsor the annual flag football tournament. Next year the Denver Gay & Lesbian Flag Football League is hosting the tournament. Will the Broncos “pony up” and support the event? The ask is out, and we certainly hope the team makes this an NFL tradition.
We’ve chronicled on numerous occasions the Patriots’ LGBT outreach and the inclusive statements made by people like Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman.
The Broncos have been very quiet. When Michael Sam came out publicly in 2014, team general manager John Elway offered a thought of praise for the courageous NFL prospect.
"I applaud Michael Sam and wish him the very best as he continues the pursuit of his NFL dream," Elway told Gray Caldwell at the time. "As we look toward the combine and draft, we will evaluate Michael just like any other draft prospect — on the basis of his ability, character and NFL potential. His announcement will have no effect on how we see him as a football player."
Kicker Brandon McManus has made anti-bullying efforts the focus of his non-profit work. That certainly includes LGBT youth and inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Outsports prediction for the game: We have managed to be wrong in every single one of our #SNF picks this season. Here’s hoping that changes course. The Patriots’ defense was atrocious to start the season but is rounding out nicely. Tom Brady and the New England offense has struggled routinely in Denver, no matter who was the coach or quarterback. Brock Osweiler helmed the Broncos to a win over the Patriots two years ago in Denver, leading the team to a Super Bowl win. Yet this Broncos team feels adrift and sinking, while that team had its eyes on the prize. New England 23, Denver 16