The Denver Broncos made some new fans this month after coming through big-time at the funeral of a long-time season-ticket holder.
This story starts two days before the Super Bowl, when Cindy Hoffman and her dad, Bob Carney, got off a plane in San Francisco.
Carney had missed out on attending Super Bowls XXXII and XXXIII, so after he won the chance to buy tickets to Super Bowl 50, he decided there was no way he was going to miss out on the opportunity to go to the game.
The 73-year-old didn’t make it to the game though. A few hours after he got off the plane on Feb. 5 in California, Carney suffered a pulmonary embolism that ended his life.
At that point, Carney’s daughter had two options: Go home or go to the game.
Cindy decided that her dad would want here to attend the game, so she called up a friend, who ended up flying to the Bay Area to join her in place of her dad.
The game was the least of Cindy’s worries, though. The day after her dad died, the hospice nurse had to take care of several important matters surrounding her dad’s death: She had to communicate with the mortuary and also make sure that her father’s corneas, skin and bone tissue were ready to be donated.
Cindy also wanted to make sure her dad was ready for the Big Game.
On Super Bowl Sunday, she took her dad’s favorite gameday outfit — a John Elway jersey and a pair of khakis — to the mortuary so they would be with her dad.
As you can imagine, the Broncos’ 24-10 win had extra special meaning for Cindy.
On Feb. 17, Carney’s funeral was finally held and when Cindy arrived, there was a surprise: The Broncos had sent the Lombardi Trophy to the funeral.
“When I saw the Lombardi Trophy, I cried even more,” Cindy told ESPN.com. “People who had known my dad who didn’t care for football told me they just became Broncos fans.”
The Broncos had heard about Carney’s death through Primesport, the company that flew Cindy and her dad to the game. At that point, the team decided they wanted to honor the man who had held season tickets since 1965.