Kiszla: Devoted Broncos fan’s streak of attending 268 straight games to be broken by COVID stadium restrictions. Man, does 2020 stink.

Let me introduce you to Mr. 268, whose heart is about to break.

The awesome power of Broncomania gave super fan Miles Power his wife, not mention one sweet life. He drives a $90,000 Tesla, custom painted blue, with orange trim. He gets hugs from a daughter named in honor of Champ Bailey. He will always cherish the thrill of being in the stadium when Denver won Super Bowl 50.

This incurable case of orange madness, however, is fixing to break a 40-year-old man’s heart. Power’s streak of attending 268 consecutive Broncos games, not missing a single contest at home or on the road since early 2004, is about to get snapped.

“I’m devastated. You don’t understand. Broncos football has shaped everything in my adult life,” said Power, a Montana native who now calls Aurora home.

“During the streak, I can tell you the Broncos have scored 6,139 points and had 5,393 points scored against them. I’ve made dear friends around the country and have favorite restaurants in every NFL city. For all the positives, the streak was never silly to me. It meant something. Being at the games is part of my identity. That’s why I can’t shake this deep sense of loss.”

So now we have one more reason to curse 2020, which threatens to turn touchstones in our lives into mud.

The last time Power wasn’t in the stands for a Broncos game was Dec. 28, 2003, when Danny Kanell split snaps at quarterback with Jarious Jackson and Green Bay’s Ahman Green ran 98 yards for a touchdown during a 31-3 loss to the Packers.

Andy Cross, The Denver Post

Denver Broncos super fan, Miles Power and his Broncos’ color-themed Tesla at his home Sept. 10, 2020. Power’s consecutive streak of going to 268 Broncos games, home and away, is in jeopardy because of the fan limitations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But unless Power storms the gates, or convinces Brittany Bowlen to give him a seat in the owner’s box, he won’t be in Empower Field at Mile High when the Broncos play Tennessee on Monday night. And don’t we know why? Dang COVID-19. Safety precautions against the pandemic will prevent spectators from attending the home opener.

“A piece of me is lost,” said Power, dreading the idea of being stuck at home, grieving with family and two close friends, as his streak dies. “It will be almost funeral-esque, in a way.”

For anybody else, watching the Broncos on a widescreen television might not be cause for tears. But Power, who has masters degrees in decision science and computer information systems, is wired differently. He’s the living, breathing embodiment of the idea that football is life.

“I used my decision science degree to determine who I was going to marry. I still have the spread sheet with a list of questions. For example: ‘What’s the lowest scoring football game possible where there’s a winner?’” said Power, blessed his wife, Trisha, passed the test.

He proposed at the 50-yard line after the Broncos played the hated Raiders at home on Christmas Eve, 2005. “I’ve been nervous before every Super Bowl, but had way more anxiety for that game,” Power told me.

Was he afraid Trisha might think twice about getting engaged to a Broncomaniac?

“No,” Power said. “It just wouldn’t have felt right to propose on a day the Broncos lost.”

So take a bow, Jake Plummer. If you hadn’t passed for 268 yards on the night before Christmas to blitz Oakland 22-3, Power might still be a bachelor.

Here’s what I can’t get out of my head. Quarterback John Elway took the field 256 times during the regular season and playoffs from 1983-1999. Mr. 268 has sweated in Florida heat, shivered in New York cold and refused to walk out on any blowout loss for more games than the most iconic player in franchise history wore No. 7.

And believe this: You don’t become Mr. 268 without making sacrifices, in addition to all the money spent on hotels, meals and playoff tickets bought on the secondary market. “Hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said Power, a successful entrepreneur.

There was that time when Power and his wife departed Denver at 9 p.m. Saturday, pushed the pedal to the metal down I-70, arriving in St. Louis moments prior to kickoff, only to turn around and drive back to Colorado immediately after the final gun. When Power returned the rental car before work Monday morning, an incredulous agent suggested something had to be wrong with the odometer, because it seemed humanly impossibly to put 1,700 miles on a vehicle in fewer than 36 hours.

Shortly he entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2019, cornerback Champ Bailey gulped when I told him late franchise owner Pat Bowlen owned a dog named Champ. “Oh. My. God,” Bailey said. “I had no idea.”

Well, great minds must think alike. When Trisha gave Power their first child on Dec. 21, 2011, it seemed natural to call her Bailey. But that’s not even the real story.

“Our daughter was due on Dec. 24. But she came early, which was an amazing gift,” Power said. “You remember 2011? That was the year Tim Tebow played in Buffalo on Christmas Eve. My wife gave her full blessing for me to go on the trip, even at risk of missing the birth. But let me tell you: If I had missed the birth for a blowout in Buffalo, I would not have enjoyed it.”

Since March, when the pandemic exploded across America, Power has known his streak was in trouble. While the Broncos announced early this week that 5,700 spectators will be allowed in the stadium beginning with their second home game later this month, current restrictions against large crowds in Pittsburgh and Las Vegas are more obstructions down the road for Power.

“My goal has been 800 straight games,” Power said. His inspiration is Giles Pellerin, a proud Southern Cal Trojans football fanatic who died of a heart attack at age 91 in the stadium parking lot during the 1998 season, passing away with a streak of 797 consecutive games seen in person.

Power, who always does the math, figures he could reach the magic No. 800 around his 70th birthday, depending on how many playoff appearances the Broncos make between now and 2050.

But if the streak is snapped now? Well, kiss any chance at 800 goodbye. Power doesn’t have enough years left above the ground in Broncos Country to start over now.

With the clock kicking toward opening kickoff and no known path to get inside the stadium, Power feels some of the quiet desperation many of us do during a year when COVID makes the rules.

“It would almost be easier if everything was canceled for the rest of the year, and we could just reset in 2021,” said Power, a Broncomaniac praying for a miracle.

“I’ll do anything, if it lets me attend the Broncos game against Tennessee. I’ll clean the toilets, if that gets me in the stadium. I’m not proud.”