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Champ Bailey retired this week. I'm sad to see him go, but his foot injury had kept him from being his old self for a while so it was clearly time. It seems appropriate, then, that the Broncos play the Patriots today. One of my favorite memories as a Broncos' fan came from him, against them.

Back in January 2006, the Broncos hosted the Patriots in the divisional round of the playoffs. If I remember right, the Pats were favored; the Broncos played one of their best games that night. It was close, at first. In the third quarter, the Patriots had cut the Broncos' lead to 10-6, and were driving. Then this happened:

I was in a hotel room in Windsor, Ontario watching the game. I'd like to apologize to the guests who were in the rooms on either side of mine (and beneath too), because I was yelling and jumping up and down. A LOT. Now, there are Pats fans who will argue that he fumbled forward and out of the end zone at the end (which would have meant a touchback and Patriots ball); they might be right. I remember they reviewed this play for a long time, but it was ruled out at the 1 and the camera angle they had was really weird and inconclusive.

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The Broncos went on to beat the Patriots, but were crushed by the Steelers the following week.

I wish the Broncos had been able to get him a ring before he retired. So long, Champ, and thanks.