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DENVER - Diagrams made of X’s, O’s and arrows outline plays on a football field. They show athletes who to tackle and where to run.
Several stories above the turf, Craig Turney watches their moves, and then makes his own.
“I have a roadmap of where I’m going to go but I hardly ever follow it. I strictly just go on what the vibe of the game is,” he says.
Denver Broncos fans know Turney’s work, but probably don’t realize it.
“Beastie Boys. 'Fight For Your Right.' The crowd just sings along with that song the whole time.”
Turney is professionally known as DJ Triple T and no matter how the home team performs, he’s responsible for the mood inside of Sports Authority Field at Mile High. For 60 minutes of playing time, commercial breaks and time-outs, the team DJ has run the soundtrack for about seven years.
“If (the Broncos) are losing—Van Halen, Panama. Something that’s like, ‘Hey, let’s go.’ It’s actually really easy to get (the fans) motivated. They know, hey, we can create the home field advantage if we’re loud and everything. It’s actually easier to play to a tense game,” he says.
Triple T is one of maybe 100 professional sports DJs in the country, he estimates, and one of two behind the music on game day in the Mile High City. The second is Cassidy Bednark and together, Triple T and DJ Bedz are Denver’s DJs.
They have every professional team in the city covered. Triple T performs during Broncos games, Colorado Avalanche games and fills in for the Colorado Rockies. DJ Bedz, who drivers can hear during rush hour on 95.7 The Party, plays every Nuggets game and runs the pre-game show on the Broncos’ sidelines.
“My gratification is a little different than Craig. He sees the crowd jumping around. I see the guys on the sidelines bouncing around, and mouthing the words and dancing, and I’m like, ‘Okay, I’m doing my job.’”
By “guys,” Bedz means the Broncos themselves. His goal every Sunday is to pump up the players for at least an hour before the games begin during warm-ups. His set is specifically dedicated to the team.
Game planning begins nearly right after the previous one ends. Inspiration starts with songs hand-picked by the players. Paper surveys are left in the locker room every few weeks and given back to Bedz, who’s on his second season with the Broncos. Preparation means figuring out the best way songs mix together, and cleaning up the songs he chooses. The set is never really final until warm-ups start.
“The day you play a dirty song is the day you’re not employed anymore, which for me is probably a little more challenging because these guys come to me at the eleventh hour with, ‘Hey, I love this new Future song off this mixed-tape that came out yesterday,’ and I have to sit there and sometimes I have to edit these ridiculously obscene vulgar tracks.”
Based on player requests, Bedz usually sticks with hip hop and rap music and works off of a pre-determined set list so the stadium camera crew is aware of what’s coming next. Future, Drake and Young Thug are popular right now but there is a range.
“Von Miller is an eccentric guy and his musical tastes are eccentric, as well,” the DJ says. As of late, Miller requests Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Spirit in the Sky” by Norman Greenbaum, and Lil Wayne’s “No Reason.”
“(Miller) dances, every time we put him up on the scoreboard. He’s a character,” Bedz says.
As for Number 18 -- that Peyton Manning guy -- the request is simple.
“Peyton is not as particular. All I really got from him is he likes country music. I try to play a country song when he’s coming onto the field as an acknowledgment of, yeah, I’m playing something for him, and then digress back into the hip hop.”
Manning likes the stadium quiet during plays, Triple T says. While his set is less structured than the one by Bedz, Triple T operates with more direction.
“NFL has specific rules. Last time was really tough against Pittsburgh. Their center would go up and touch the ball. And once the center makes contact with the ball, you have to stop playing music. It’s kind of a tactic. If it was me, and I was on the road, I would just go up and have the center touch the ball. ‘I’ll tell you the play when I get up there.’”
Triple T watches every move made by the players, as well as the time clock, and picks his song based on the game and a gut feeling. Metal, hard rock and techno fill the air when the Broncos defense takes the field. On a Broncos touchdown, he plays “Get Ready for This” by 2 Unlimited every time, but his favorite is “Jump Around” by House of Pain – designated only for an end-of-game celebration.
“Only if the game is out of hand and the other team cannot come back from that,” he says. “I really like when I see everybody clap their hands, or I see everybody singing. It’s just amazing. I will never forget when we beat Pittsburgh, from Tebow to Demaryius Thomas a couple of years ago. I will never forget how much this stadium shook. Two years ago when we beat the Patriots, we were up so big that all we did in the two-minute warning was play ‘Jump Around.’ You feel the stadium shaking underneath you.”
A rule both DJs follow: the NFL must approve every single song played in a stadium. It’s a directive made last year, after the Ray Rice incident, these DJs say. The idea is to stay in line with NFL conduct standards. No Bronco song has ever been denied.
Triple T grew up in Fort Collins. He would DJ at his brother’s baseball games in high school and started his career with the Colorado Eagles, a minor league hockey team in Loveland. Bedz, a Boulder native, left Colorado briefly for college in Los Angeles, where he took gigs at house parties. Both of them found their pro-team start at the Pepsi Center: T with the Avs in 2007, and Bedz became one of the first official NBA DJs for the Nuggets in 2003. These friends and homegrown guys still have a hard time believing what they’ve achieved.
“I have to take a step back and really calm myself down when I think about it because the two things I’m most passionate about in this world are music and sports essentially,” Bedz says with a smile. “I’m DJ-ing for the Denver Broncos. It’s surreal.”
It really is all fun and games, but little time away from the turntables. Bedz ran out of this interview to play at Nuggets v. Grizzlies. Triple T, who hoped to be an athlete that didn’t get cut as a kid, now plays for some of the most skilled athletes in the world almost year-round - a job description his wife is all too familiar with and generously tolerates.
“I’ll take vacations later on. I’m going to do this as long as I can," Triple T says.