Joe Flacco's likeness is being used to promote the NFL's Kickoff Game. (RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
The last time the Broncos faithful saw Joe Flacco in person, the Baltimore Ravens QB was rallying his team to a dramatic double-overtime playoff win over Denver on Jan. 12. They'll get another shot at Flacco next Thursday, in the NFL's season opener ... and apparently, they would prefer not to have to set eyes on the Super Bowl MVP a moment sooner.
A Denver fan going by the handle "Broncos Nation" launched a petition on Change.org, requesting that the NFL remove from outside Denver's Sports Authority Field a banner of Joe Flacco, which is being used to promote the league's annual Kickoff Game.
The petition reads:
Roger Goodell, @nflcommish, National Football League
Take the Joe Flacco signage off my Mile High Stadium! Broncos Nation will not endure this detestable and audacious act. Who in their right mind thought that we would just let this fly?! We stand united against your unbearable Joe Flacco signage.
Denver fans have been up in arms over the oversized Flacco photo (and other Ravens promotional pieces) -- so much so that the Broncos' official Twitter account tried to ease their concerns:
Local sports radio host Peter Burns further riled up the population Tuesday morning, tweeting: "Broncos fans are you really outraged about a Joe Flacco poster? You have to be smarter than that right?"
The responses to that tweet, predictably, have been less than friendly:
Of course, plenty of pro-Broncos promotional material is on display at and around Mile High, including a large image of Peyton Manning opposite the one of Flacco. The NFL plays up this Kickoff Game like a mini-Super Bowl, complete with a pregame concert.
It also may be worth pointing out that the league tried to open the year with a game in Baltimore, as has been done for every defending Super Bowl champion since 2004. A conflict with the Orioles, who will be in the midst of a homestand next week, forced the league to move the opener.
Denver fans are no doubt happy to play hosts in Baltimore's stead. They just would prefer to be a little less cordial to the visitors.
Update: Vic Lombardi of CBS4 in Denver used Twitter to organize some backlash against the Flacco ads, several more of which popped up near Mile High:
He posted several videos of himself drawing on, taping over or otherwise defacing several Flacco banners: