Kiszla: John Elway, Patrick Roy know the value of keeping score

Kiszla: John Elway, Patrick Roy know the
value of keeping score
By Mark Kiszla
The Denver Post
January 24, 2014
The score is Patrick Roy 4, John Elway 2. If championships are what really matter,
Saint Patrick has the Duke of Denver beat.
And we all know how much a Hall of Famer hates to lose.
Elway is king of the comeback. Roy's trademark is the great save. The two biggest
winners in Denver sports history form a very exclusive mutual admiration society,
as Roy and Elway restore the luster to proud Colorado teams they made famous.
Long before Elway took over football operations of a Broncos franchise that had
fallen into disrepair or Roy returned to town as coach of the struggling Avalanche,
the two legends met on a golf course a dozen years ago.
"He's a good player," said Elway, chuckling as he prepared to stick the needle in
Roy. "As I recall, Patrick was a better player than what he told me his handicap
OK, here we go. There is no expiration date on competitive juices. Game on.
"What you see with Patrick is what you get. That's what I like about him," Elway
told me Thursday. "If there's a common denominator among players in all the Halls
of Fame, it's the guys all have great competitiveness. Patrick Roy is a fiery
competitor. He was fiery as a goalie. He's fiery on the bench as a coach. And he
was fiery on the golf course. During the round, I seem to remember a couple words
I won't mention."
Well, pardon his French.
In plain English, here's what Roy admires about Elway: There's a natural
confidence, totally devoid of pretension. Elway knows he's good. There's no need to
tell you about it. The easy laugh of Old No. 7 covers the slow tick of a gambler's
fearless heart.
"John should feel great about himself as a leader, because here's a guy who's not
afraid to make tough decisions," Roy said. "It was a tough decision to replace a
quarterback as popular in Denver as Tim Tebow with somebody he knew could
bring a Super Bowl to the team. Elway knew Peyton Manning had something left in
his game. It was a high risk in the eyes of a lot of people, but in Elway's eyes it was
the only right decision."
After arriving in a trade from Montreal, where he won two championships, Roy
walked confidently onto Elway's turf and won the Stanley Cup in 1996. The Broncos
countered with Super Bowl victories to cap the 1997 and 1998 NFL seasons. The
Avalanche drank from the Cup again in 2001.
The quarterback and goalie retired. The Broncos and Avalanche tumbled from elite
status. During a patch of rough ice five years ago, I remember Avs senior vice
president of communications Jean Martineau sitting through another loss in the
Pepsi Center, insightfully lamenting what seemed to ail the local NFL and NHL
teams was an inability to recapture the magic that departed when larger-than-life
legends walked out the door.
Elway and Roy defined the golden age of Colorado sports. And they're back.
At age 48, Roy is a little thicker than he was as a goalie. Now 53 years old, Elway
still bleeds orange, but his hair is streaked with gray. Hey, middle age happens.
Time has robbed skills from Elway and Roy, except the most important one: an
unbeatable, insatiable passion for winning.
"It's the passion you have inside that never goes away," Roy said. "When I retired
from playing, my first two or three years were tough. I suffered anxiety. I felt I was
missing something in my life. But when I started coaching in Canada, I started to
reconnect with what made me happy."
The Broncos have nothing except first-place finishes since Elway returned to the
front office three seasons ago. As a rookie on the Colorado bench, Roy has
established himself as a legitimate contender for coach of the year, while leading
his young Avs to a 31-13-5 record.
"My challenge is to prove this is a great hockey town. We're never going to be like
football in Denver, but I want it to be a great hockey town again," Roy said. "Yes, it
hurts me when I see only 14,000 people in the building for a game, after so many
years when we sold every ticket. But we cannot force people to come. We want to
excite fans enough to make them come back. There have been some bumpy
moments in the past. But having the chance to be a difference-maker is what
makes me excited about this challenge."
No town looks better in confetti than Denver. In Elway and Roy we trust. And trust
this: Roy and Elway dream of victory parades.
"Getting in the Hall of Fame was great, but I wanted the next mountain. That's why
I want to win a world championship in a different role than as a player," Elway said.
"I was built to climb mountains. So I will probably always be looking for the next
mountain to climb until the day I die."
The next summit on Elway's checklist: Beat Seattle. The Duke is one victory away
from his third Super Bowl ring.
Hey, Saint Patrick: Do not look back. The Colorado sports legend in your rearview
mirror is closer than he appears. Elway, the king of comebacks, is gaining fast in a
quest for championships.
Game on.
Troy Aikman eager to see Peyton
Manning battle Seattle's defense
By Mike Klis
The Denver Post
January 24, 2014
If the Seattle Seahawks can stop Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, then bully
for Richard Sherman.
To date, Manning has not been stopped.
A couple of teams outscored him. The San Diego Chargers once kept the ball away
from him.
But no team has shut down Manning during his record- setting season.
Now comes Super Bowl XLVIII in East Rutherford, N.J., where the Seahawks are
the last line of defense between Manning and the greatest quarterback season of all
"That's the matchup everybody is going to be talking about, Peyton Manning vs. the
Legion of Boom," Hall of Fame quarterback and Fox color analyst Troy Aikman said
during a conference call Thursday. "I'm excited to see it. That's why I spoke about
how disappointing it would be if conditions keep that part of it from happening the
way we'd all like to see because of the impact the weather may have on the passing
Inclement conditions — which figure to descend upon MetLife Stadium at the
Meadowlands when Super Bowl XLVIII kicks off Feb. 2 — might be one obstacle to
Manning's glove-handed passing game.
Seattle's defense, though, has tortured quarterbacks rain or shine, home or road,
while accompanied by deafening support or eerie silence. This season, the
Seahawks ranked No. 1 in the NFL in total defense, passing defense, takeaways
and scoring defense. Sherman led the league in interceptions and narcissism.
The Manning-led Broncos ranked No. 1 in passing, touchdowns and points.
During his news conference Thursday, Manning intimated he didn't know much
about Seattle's defense — yet. It was like the straight-A student pretending to not
know the answer, so the teacher would call on someone else.
"I'm just starting to get to know them and prepare for them," Manning said of the
Further explanation might or might not come next week when the Super Bowl
buildup kicks into high gear. Until then, Manning is leaving the analysis to others.
"Seattle, this is the best secondary he's going to face, I know that," Aikman said.
"These guys are really good. They're not going to try and fool him. Seattle lines up
in what they're doing virtually every snap and they just say, 'Hey, we've got great
players and we're good enough to hold up.' And they have. They're the best pass
defense in football."
Sure, the Seahawks have the best passing defense this season. But the Broncos
have the best passing offense of all time. Manning was considered great before. He
has reached unprecedented levels this season with 59 touchdown passes and 6,107
passing yards while guiding the Broncos to a record 656 points (counting two
playoff victories).
In the rare times Manning and the Broncos felt badly about themselves, they scored
33 and 31 points in losses to Indianapolis and New England, and had the ball for
only 21 minutes while scoring 20 points in a loss to San Diego. Averaging 27 points
in defeat isn't exactly getting stymied.
What was it that made the Broncos go from really good last season, Manning's first
with the team, to record-setting great in year No. 2?
"Going faster," said wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. "Going faster and everyone
was on the same page in the second year. Getting together earlier."
Aikman said it starts with the protection the Broncos' offensive line gives Manning.
But even those linemen credit Manning for his sixth sense in the pocket.
"Normally what happens as a quarterback is, you start to figure things out and each
year you learn more and more and then when you really have command of the
game, your body breaks down," Aikman said. "And it looked like that was
happening to him a couple years ago and he's been able to weather it. He's had to
make some adjustments because he doesn't have the arm strength he had prior to
the injuries. I think he would be the first to tell you that, but he's able to make it up
because he has great anticipation, he recognizes what defenses are trying to do
against him and then he's got players that can get open and catch the football. It's
a great combination.
"And then you combine those things with this offense now in the league. The
philosophy as far as the spread sets and attacking these defenses and getting off as
many snaps as you can."
Seattle's defense has the next turn. The final turn.
With Super Bowl tickets, Broncos paying
big bucks
By Mike Klis
The Denver Post
January 24, 2014
Playing in the Super Bowl is getting expensive.
The Broncos received their ticket allotments Thursday. Each player received two
complimentary tickets, plus 13 tickets they could buy at $800, $1,200 or $1,500
Rookies such as C.J. Anderson and Kayvon Webster received two $800
complimentary tickets to the Feb. 2 game for upper-deck seats at MetLife Stadium
in East Rutherford, N.J. An eight-year pro such as Jeremy Mincey received two
$1,200 midlevel comp tickets.
Veterans such as Peyton Manning and Champ Bailey received two $1,500 lowerlevel comp tickets.
That's face value, folks.
Each player on the Super Bowl-winning team will receive $92,000. The losing
team's players get $46,000 apiece.
Just win, baby.
As for the 13 tickets each Denver player can buy, many decided to upgrade.
Mincey, for example, paid $1,500 apiece for 13 lower-level tickets. That's a bill of
$19,500. Ouch.
"I've got a Mincey tribe coming," Mincey said. "I mean, shoot, you only get to play
in the Super Bowl once. I wouldn't have my family miss it."
Undrafted rookies such as Anderson couldn't afford to buy their full allotment of 13
"Of course not," he said. "Not my check. I need my check. I don't know about
them. I need mine."
Still, he paid for eight tickets at $1,200 apiece. On the secondary market, the
tickets can fetch three times the face-value price.
"Can't sell them," Anderson said. "You can get fined, that's what I heard. I can't get
fined, either."
Greg Wilson proud to wear Broncos No.
By Mike Klis
The Denver Post
January 23, 2014
Greg Wilson is no ordinary rookie receiver on the Broncos’ practice squad.
Not with the No. 15 he wears.
“Tebow?” he said. “I’ve heard some people talk about it. They asked me if I wanted
this number and I chose it. I’ve been No. 15 my entire life. College, high school.”
It became apparent during the offseason the Broncos weren’t going to retire Tim
Tebow’s No. 15. His number was given to rookie receiver Tavarres King. The
Broncos waived him twice and he was claimed by Carolina.
Wilson had 67 catches for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns in two seasons at
Fordham. He got a rookie minicamp tryout with the San Francisco 49ers. He was
signed to the Broncos’ practice squad last week — just in time to accompany the
team to New Jersey for the Super Bowl. He’ll be playing one of the Seahawks’
receivers these next two weeks in practice.
Wilson was aware of how Tebowmania swept through Dove Valley, and the nation,
for two months in 2011.
“I’ve never Tebow-ed,” Wilso said. “I might have to. If I get the opportunity, yessir,
I’ll bring it back.”
Super Bowl Monday? NFL has backup
plans in case of bad weather
By Mike Klis
The Denver Post
January 23, 2014
If Super Bowl Sunday is moved to, say, Super Bowl Monday, the first people to find
out will be Broncos coach John Fox and Seattle coach Pete Carroll.
“We are advising teams to prepare in case a contingency plan goes into effect,” Eric
Grubman, NFL vice president of business operations, said in an interview Thursday
with The Denver Post. “If there is a schedule change, both teams will be notified
simultaneously in a conference call.”
A snowstorm in the greater New Jersey area dumped 13 inches on MetLife Stadium
on Tuesday. Had the Super Bowl been played at 6:40 p.m. Wednesday it would
have kicked off as scheduled, Grubman said. Had that same storm hit on Super
Bowl Sunday, the league may well have had a decision to make on behalf of fans’
If it’s determined with a three-day warning that a major weather event will hit on
Super Bowl Sunday, there is a contingency plan to play the Super Bowl on Friday or
“If they move it, they move it,” Fox said. “Both teams have to adjust to it.”
If there’s a severe weather event that hits on Super Bowl Sunday or the day before,
the game could be moved to Monday, Feb. 4. Grubman said his weather advisers
told him it’s silly to forecast the weather for Super Bowl Sunday any more than
seven days in advance. So he’s preparing for worst-case scenarios.
The most likely scenario is the game will go on as scheduled. But don’t tell the fans
in the stadium the cold-weather planning was much ado about nothing. They’ll get
something. As in loads of Super Bowl souvenirs to go along with those expensive
The NFL is providing fans attending the game with a warm-weather kit that will be
waiting for them at their seats. Along with a seat cushion, fans will receive earmuffs, text-friendly gloves, hand warmers, a knit cap, Kleenex, a cup holder, lip
balm and an in-stadium radio that will allow them to hear the play-by-play call of
the team.
“From the 80,000 fans going to the game, not all of them have gone to a game in
cold weather before,” Grubman said. “If you tell them it’s going to cold, they may
bring a winter coat but how many will bring ear muffs or hand warmers that they’ll
be glad to have as it gets colder as the game goes on?”
Xanders not a finalist for Dolphins GM
By Mike Klis
The Denver Post
January 23, 2014
The Miami Dolphins informed Brian Xanders on Wednesday he would not be a
finalist for their general manager position.
Xanders, the Broncos’ general manager from 2009 until May 2012, is currently
serving in a front-office capacity with the Detroit Lions. He interviewed for the
Dolphins’ top job last week.
The Palm Beach Post reported the three finalists are Cleveland assistant general
manager Ray Farmer, Dolphins assistant GM Brian Gaine and Tampa Bay director of
player personnel Dennis Hickey.
Farmer is considered the frontrunner.
Steven Hauschka, Seattle’s top-notch
kicker, once fought for Broncos job with
Matt Prater
By Mike Klis
The Denver Post
January 23, 2014
Seattle kicker Steven Hauschka was signed by the Broncos in December, 2010 to
fill in for Matt Prater, who had a groin injury. Hauschka was six-of-seven in field
goals in the final four games, then competed with Prater in the 2011 training camp.
Hauschka was waived on Sept. 3, but not before he had nailed a 51-yard field goal
as time expired to beat the Seahawks, 23-20, in the third preseason game.
Pete Carroll was impressed enough with Hauschka’s clutch performance that the
Seahawks claimed the kicker off waivers on Sept. 4.
Hauschka has been Seattle’s kicker ever since. He was 33-of-35 in field goals
during the regular season and has been huge in the playoffs, going six-of-six on
field-goal attempts.
Not that the Broncos are regretting keeping Prater, who was four-of-four on field
goals last week against New England, including a 54-yarder, and was 25-of-26
during the season to earn a Pro Bowl berth.
Broncos’ revenge tour through the NFL in
2013 rolls right along
By Mike Klis
The Denver Post
January 23, 2014
The Broncos lost to San Diego in game 14 of the regular season, but they beat the
Chargers in a second-round playoff game, 24-17.
The Broncos lost to New England in a late-November regular-season game in
Foxborough, Mass, but they whipped the Patriots, 26-16 in the AFC championship
game Sunday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
Now comes the Super Bowl and Broncos-Seattle II.
OK, so it was only the preseason when the two teams met Aug. 18 in Seattle. But
the “A” teams played the first half and it was the Seahawks who took a convincing
33-7 lead.
There were extenuating circumstances. The Seahawks’ vaunted defense didn’t stop
Manning that day so much as the Broncos were stopped by Julius Thomas and
Ronnie Hillman fumbles.
Hillman fumbled an inch before he was to cross the goal line to cap a 14-play, 80yard drive. The ball was picked up 6 yards deep in the end zone by Seahawk
cornerback Brandon Browner (since suspended) who returned it for a touchdown.
Instead of the Broncos closing to 17-14, the Seahawks were up 24-7.
Seattle also scored on a 107-yard kickoff return by Jermaine Kearse.
Manning was 11-of-16 for 163 yards, including a touchdown pass to Wes Welker,
for a 122.7 passer rating in the first half, so it’s not like Seattle’s defense
Marshawn Lynch, Terrance Knighton on
collision course at Super Bowl
By Patrick Saunders, Ryan Parker and Mike Klis
The Denver Post
Fans who like old-fashioned, meat-and-potatoes football could be in for a treat
when the Broncos and Seahawks clash in Super Bowl XLVIII.
"Roast beast" will be on the menu when Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch
collides with Denver defensive tackle Terrance Knighton. Lynch, nicknamed "Beast
Mode," runs with anger on every carry. He leads the NFL with 19 games of 100
yards or more since 2011. It will be up to the 6-foot-3, 335-pound Knighton, aptly
nicknamed "Pot Roast," to put a big body on Lynch.
"We stepped up to the challenge last week, stopping New England's run game (in
the AFC title game)," Knighton said Thursday. "San Diego had success running the
ball in the regular season and we stepped up to that challenge in the playoffs.
"It just gets worse and worse each week. Going against a back like this — we
obviously have to stop him and can't allow him to get going. A guy like that who
builds momentum and has confidence that he can run the ball just makes it worse
for us."
Miller update. Von Miller's legal troubles have come to an end with nothing more
than fines and fees.
The linebacker pleaded guilty — through his lawyer — to minor traffic violations in
Arapahoe County District Court on Thursday.
Miller didn't appear in person. All other charges against him, stemming from
multiple traffic violations, were dropped. He pleaded guilty to a lane-change
violation and speeding 10 to 19 mph over the posted limit, court records said. He
was arrested in August at the Centennial Gun Club — a firearms shop — on a
failure-to-appear warrant on the traffic charges.
Tebow's ghost. Greg Wilson is no ordinary rookie wide receiver on the Broncos'
practice squad. Not with the No. 15 jersey he wears.
Tim Tebow's No. 15 was first given to rookie wide receiver Tavarres King, who was
waived and claimed by Carolina. Wilson, who wore the number in high school and
college, took the number again after he was signed to the Broncos' practice squad
last week.
"I've never Tebowed," Wilson said. "I might have to. If I get the opportunity — yes,
sir — I'll bring it back."
Practice weather. With about 3 inches of snow swept from their practice fields and a
temperature of 10 degrees, the Broncos began installing their game plan in
conditions they're likely to face Feb. 2 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
No big deal, said QB Peyton Manning.
"We've practiced in this and had to play in these types of conditions at different
points in the year," he said. "So, any time you can have a similar situation ...
whether it is a two-minute situation, weather, whatever it is — it's always a good
Injury report. Tailback Knowshon Moreno, who injured his ribs in the AFC title
game, was a limited participant in practice. Kicker Matt Prater (illness) and
defensive tackle Mitch Unrein (knee) did not practice. Patrick Saunders, Ryan
Parker and Mike Klis, The Denver Post
Tony Carter helping fill hole on Denver
Broncos defense
By Patrick Saunders
The Denver Post
January 24, 2014
When New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady scanned the Broncos' defense
during the AFC championship game last Sunday, he looked for No. 32, Tony Carter,
a 5-foot-9, 175-pound cornerback.
On the Patriots' second possession of the game, Brady went after Carter on a thirdand-3 play, throwing deep down the right side for wide receiver Matthew Slater.
Carter was there to break up the pass and force a punt. He finished the game with
two passes defensed and four tackles (three solo).
Carter, thrust into action in Denver's nickel defense because cornerback Chris
Harris had a season-ending knee injury the week before against the San Diego
Chargers on Jan. 12, passed a major exam.
The next test comes against the Seattle Seahawks and quarterback Russell Wilson
in Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2.
"I think I did a pretty good job, but I left a couple of plays out there," Carter said
Thursday. "Brady completed a few plays, where I was close to getting my hand on
the ball and breaking it up or making a pick. But I didn't, so I can get better. I think
overall as a defense we played well, and we did a good job stopping the run and we
didn't give up any big plays."
Starting strong safety Duke Ihenacho said Carter met his teammates' expectations
in Denver's 26-16 victory over the Patriots.
"T.C. has played in a lot of football games, so we knew he was going to be up to
the challenge," Ihenacho said. "We didn't fret with him coming in there. It didn't
surprise me at all to see him play well."
Brady is a classic drop-back quarterback, but Wilson presents a different challenge.
He's fast and athletic, and possesses dangerous ability to throw while on the run.
"Russell throws the deep ball very well, and they have a power running game that
complements him very well," Carter said. "You can never count him out on a play.
He can make things happen with his legs and his arm. We are going to work hard
and make sure we are 100 percent prepared for him."
Broncos' first practice before Super Bowl
covered in snow
By Patrick Saunders
The Denver Post
January 23, 2014
In winter weather fit for New Jersey, the Denver Broncos took the field Thursday for
their first practice leading up to their Super Bowl showdown against the Seattle
Seahawks on Feb. 2.
With about three inches of fresh snow swept from the practice fields and a
temperature of just 10 degrees, the Broncos began installing their game plan.
All players were on the field except for kicker Matt Prater, who was dismissed
because of illness. Starting running back Knowshon Moreno, who injured his ribs in
last Sunday's victory over New England in the AFC championship game, was a
limited participant. It remains to be seen how much Moreno will practice the rest of
this week.
Defensive tackle Mitch Unrein did not practice because of an injured knee.
Quarterback Peyton Manning certainly was not bothered by the frosty field and the
frigid temperatures.
"We played in this and practiced in this a good part of the year, so really, we've
been through this. But it's good to get out here and get started," quarterback
Peyton Manning said.
Asked to evaluate the Seahawks' talented defense, Manning essentially dodged the
question, at least for now, saying he was just beginning to study Seattle.
Manning said John Fox has asked him and some of the other veterans to talk to the
team about handling the Super Bowl experience, but Manning declined to share
what he told his teammates.
Fox said he wanted players such as Manning and receiver Wes Welker — who have
both played in two Super Bowls — to "share their experiences with the younger
The Broncos have four players with Super Bowl experience, while the Seahawks
have none. When asked if that would be an advantage for the Broncos, Fox said:
"This game, like any game, comes down to who plays the best. Advantages and
disadvantages kind of go out the window and hopefully we are prepared and work
hard enough to be that team."
The Broncos will practice at their Dove Valley headquarters again on Friday and
Saturday before leaving for New Jersey on Sunday.
Von Miller's legal troubles end with
dismissals, minor pleas
By Ryan Parker
The Denver Post
January 23, 2014
ARAPAHOE COUNTY — Von Miller's legal troubles have come to an end with nothing
more than fines and fees.
The Broncos' strongside linebacker pleaded guilty — through his lawyer — to minor
traffic violations in an Arapahoe County District courtroom Thursday afternoon.
Miller did not appear in person.
Seven points were removed from his license.
All other charges against Miller, stemming from multiple traffic violations, were
Miller, 24, pleaded guilty to a lane change violation and speeding 10 to 19 mph
over the posted limit, according to court records.
Before entering his pleas, Miller completed community service and a driver's
Miller was arrested last August at the Centennial Gun Club — a firearms shop — on
a failure to appear warrant.
Court documents show Miller failed to appear for a court hearing on a charge from
October 2012 when he was cited for careless driving, driving without a license and
no proof of insurance.
Miller was in trouble again in September after getting cited by law enforcement for
driving without a license and speeding.
Miller missed the first six games of the regular season for violating the league's
substance abuse policy.
Miller tore his anterior cruciate ligament during the Broncos' victory over the
Houston Texans, ending his season. He has since had surgery to repair the
Percy Harvin injury still a mystery for
Seahawks in Super Bowl
By Troy E. Renck
The Denver Post
January 23, 2014
RENTON, WASH. — Percy Harvin has been a ghost in uniform. Or maybe The Loch
Ness Monster is a more apt description. There have been infrequent sightings
followed by tales of feats that strain reality.
Speaking for only the fifth time to the media this season, Harvin talked confidently
about playing in the Super Bowl, but not about his uncertain health.
"I don't know if I felt the exact same as I was in Minnesota. But I know I felt good
enough to play in a football game," said Harvin on Thursday when asked about his
condition during his cameo against the New Orleans Saints' in a divisional game
before suffering a concussion.
Harvin profiles as a playmaker, his speed as a slot receiver and kick returner
capable of creating memorable moments. Since signing a six-year, $67-million
contract with a $12-million signing bonus last summer with the Seahawks, Harvin
has caught one pass and returned one kick, limited by a torn labrum in his hip.
Asked if the Super Bowl offered a chance to prove his value, Harvin bristled.
"Not at all. I am a football player. I am confident in my game.," Harvin said.
"Unfortunate situations happen in life and in this game."
Harvin is dynamic when on the field. He averaged 35.9 yards per return last season
with the Vikings, has scored on five kickoffs in his career and his best receiving
game came against the Broncos in 2011.
"It's really hard to stop him because he creates match-up problems," quarterback
Russell Wilson said. "He can bring a special element to the game — his speed —
and that fear factor is definitely alive."
Enjoy the rainbow Running back Marshawn Lynch doesn't talk much to the press.
He sits at his locker and jams hard core rap as the Seahawks' resident Dee-Jay. In
a rare moment two weeks ago, he did explain why he eats Skittles during games to
NFL Japan.
"My mom gave them to me to settle my stomach when I was in youth football,"
Lynch said.
He keeps the Skittles in the trainer's kit so he can pop a few like aspirin. Seattle
fans love his strange nutrition, raining the field with the candies when he scores a
Footnotes If it's cold in New Jersey, Peyton Manning and his glove will become a
storyline. But the Seahawks aren't exactly filled with a roster of Mr. Freezes. Wilson
admitted that he's played only one game in the snow in his life. ... Lynch (knee)
and receiver Doug Baldwin (hip) did not participate in practice the past two days.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said this is by design as he looks to give them time to
rest and recover. ... Baldwin didn't see any reason the Seahawks would change
their game plan despite the Broncos' issue, at times, defending the pass this
season. "I don't know why we would. We have been playing at a pretty good pace
when we hand the ball off to Marshawn Lynch."
Bet on Broncos QB Peyton Manning
saying "Omaha" at Super Bowl
The Denver Post
January 24, 2014
Some Super Bowl bettors will pay more attention to what Peyton Manning says at
the line of scrimmage than what he does after the ball is snapped.
Online sportsbook is taking wagers on the number of times the Broncos
quarterback yells "Omaha" as one of his presnap calls during the Feb. 2 game
against the Seattle Seahawks.
The over-under is 27½ and is among a series of more than 400 proposition bets, or
props, announced Thursday by Bovada.
"I guess it goes to show that people will bet on almost anything," said David Brown,
president of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce in Nebraska.
Other Super Bowl props include the length of opera singer Renee Fleming's
rendition of the national anthem before the game (over-under of two minutes, 30
seconds) and the temperature at the time of the opening kickoff at MetLife Stadium
(over-under of 34 degrees). Yet the Manning-Omaha prop might be among the
most unusual.
If a bettor chooses the "over" and Manning says Omaha 28 times or more during
Fox's telecast of Super Bowl XLVIII, he wins the same amount he wagered. He
loses his bet in the same situation if Manning says Omaha 27 times or fewer.
Manning said Omaha 31 times in the AFC title game, resulting in donations of
$24,800 for his Peyback Foundation from Omaha businesses. Bloomberg News
Hochman: Chauncey Billups fondly
embraces "We, the Broncos nation"
By Benjamin Hochman
The Denver Post
January 24, 2014
Are we allowed to "we"? It's a tricky debate for sports fans, in regards to referring
to their favorite teams as "we." As in: "We are going to the Super Bowl" or "How
could we get rid of Kosta Koufos?" In reality, the Broncos are going to the Super
Bowl; you're not. But fans say "we" because they feel this unwavering bond to the
team, because the Broncos are part of their identity — and part of their city's DNA.
Chauncey Billups feels you on this. He feels the bond. The Detroit Pistons guard
might be a multimillionaire, a former NBA Finals MVP and perhaps the greatest pro
athlete to ever come out of Denver. But as he said on the phone Thursday, "We
have one more game to go."
He's part of the "we" too, as a Park Hill native.
"I'm a lifelong, die-hard fan," said Billups, who, like Peyton Manning, is 37. "I'm
just so proud of the team. The goal is to win it all. I'm happy to be a Broncos fan."
Billups is "building a friendship" with the Broncos quarterback, he said. The two text
back and forth, Billups often congratulating his favorite team's star on his play.
They both appeared in a funny commercial for the 2014 BMW Championship, a golf
tournament to be held this September at Cherry Hills Country Club.
But Billups' best Broncos memories, for now anyway, are from his Park Hill days
growing up.
"When I really first started getting into it was Gerald Willhite, doing those backflips,
and Sammy Winder, you know what I'm saying, people like that. Simon Fletcher, I
saw him one day in my neighborhood growing up, at this little soul food restaurant.
I already was a fan, but that just took it to another level. Seeing Simon Fletcher. I
was so in awe."
When the Nuggets acquired Billups in a trade in the fall of 2008, J.R. Smith wore
Billups' trademark No. 1. But then it hit him. Of course. Billups would wear No. 7,
John Elway's No. 7, explaining at the time, "I look forward trying to lead the charge
and hopefully one day bring a championship to this town. Everybody knows I have
a lot of pride in Denver. Being able now to have that 'Denver' across my chest, it
just makes me feel good."
He couldn't bring a title to Denver as Elway did, but he elevated Denver basketball,
leading the Nuggets to the Western Conference finals in 2009. The Nuggets haven't
gotten out of the first round since. Elway showed up at some of those playoff
games, No. 7 cheering on No. 7.
Billups won't be able to make it to New Jersey to watch the Broncos — he'll be in
Miami with the Pistons. But the NBA doesn't have any games on Super Bowl night.
Asked where he'll watch the Super Bowl, Billups said: "Probably in my room,
because when it's my team playing, I don't like being places where it's really loud.
I'm a real fan, so I really need to focus in on the game. The before-and-after
celebrations, I'll do that, but during the game, I need to be locked in, right in my
hotel room."
Broncos return to practice in frigid temps
By Arnie Stapleton
Associated Press
January 23, 2014
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Peyton Manning found no need to dunk his right hand
in a bucket of ice water Thursday — it was 9 degrees when the Broncos returned to
their practice field for the first time since clinching a spot in next week's Super Bowl
at MetLife Stadium.
"Anytime you can have ... a situation that you can simulate during practice that
might be in a game, that's always a good thing," said Manning, his breath
vaporizing as he spoke from the podium after the two-hour workout.
Manning, who spent much of his career inside in Indianapolis, has prepared for
some cold-weather games since coming to Denver in 2012 by soaking his right
hand in ice water.
He welcomed the blast of wintry weather after a relatively balmy stretch of January,
which included a 63 degree Sunday afternoon when he led the Broncos past the
New England Patriots for the AFC title.
The knock on Manning is that for all his greatness he crumbles in the cold and in
the playoffs — he has just one championship ring in 12 previous trips to the
postseason, eight of which ended in first-round exits, including last year's doubleovertime loss to Baltimore on a frigid night in Denver.
Manning could take care of both of those criticisms next week when the Broncos
face the Seattle Seahawks in East Rutherford, N.J., in the first outdoor Super Bowl
ever held in a cold-weather city.
With a win, he would be the first quarterback to lead two teams to the title.
Although it's too early for forecasters to predict what the weather will be, there's a
decent chance for freezing temperatures or snow by kickoff on the night of Feb. 2.
Although Manning is 167-73 in the regular season, he's 11-11 in the playoffs. And
he's 4-7 in games that are below freezing at kickoff, although some of those were
games where he played sparingly because the Colts had already locked up playoff
seeding. Others were against New England, when the Patriots clearly had the better
And Manning did complete 39 passes for 397 yards and four touchdowns against
Tennessee last month when the temperature at kickoff in Denver was 18 degrees.
If the Broncos beat the Seahawks — and they're favored by oddsmakers for the
30th straight game — Manning will match little brother Eli's two Super Bowl rings.
Eli said Peyton doesn't have to beat Seattle to secure his legacy, however.
"I think Peyton's already created his own legacy," Eli said during a conference call
Thursday. "He's played at a very high level for a long period of time and he's
overcome injuries and obviously set numerous records and been on a lot of playoff
teams, playing in his third Super Bowl."
Peyton's resume is impressive: 13-time Pro Bowler, seven-time All-Pro and odds-on
favorite to win his fifth MVP after setting NFL records by throwing for 55 TDs and
5,447 yards.
Eli does not think the cold will be a factor in the game, either.
"I don't think this hurts or helps either team," he said. "Peyton has been in Denver
this year and played outside in a lot of cold games. I think obviously if it were to
snow or be very windy, it could be a disadvantage to the Broncos, just because how
much they like to throw the ball, compared to Seattle and their running game.
"For the most part, it's really going to be the best team that is going to win,
whoever plays the best football that day. It's going to come down to that and
execution. The weather isn't going to decide the game."
Although the Seahawks are more run-oriented, the Broncos do have a good 1-2
punch in running backs Knowshon Moreno, who grew up 45 minutes from the
Meadowlands, and Montee Ball, who combined for 2,290 yards from scrimmage and
17 touchdowns this season.
Denver safety Mike Adams, who's also from New Jersey, scoffed at the notion that
inclement weather could hurt the Broncos.
"We're talking about the Super Bowl. I'm not worried about the cold, I promise you
that," Adams said. "Weren't we practicing in like minus-3 degree weather here? So
I'm definitely not worried about any cold weather. If anything, I'm worrying about
them cancelling the game."
The NFL's contingency plans call for the game to be played anywhere from Friday,
Jan. 31, to Monday, Feb. 3, in case of a major snowstorm.
Manning — who is 10-3 while wearing a glove on his throwing hand the last two
seasons — and the Broncos are embracing the elements.
"We practice in the cold all the time. I think we practiced indoors one time," Denver
pass-rusher Shaun Phillips said. "We're definitely cold weather bred, and we'll be
ready for it."
Notes: K Matt Prater (illness) didn't practice. Neither did DT Mitch Unrein (knee).
RB Knowshon Moreno (ribs) was limited.
Eli: Peyton doesn't have to win to secure
By Tom Canavan
Associated Press
January 23, 2014
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — They are two of the NFL's most well-known
They telephone each other at least once a week to talk shop, work together on an
offseason passing camp, and have appeared in a number of television commercials.
Each had a chance to host "Saturday Night Live."
Each is a Super Bowl MVP.
There is something else about Peyton and Eli Manning. First and foremost, they're
They know each other inside out. They root for each other. They bleed for each
other. They're family.
So when little brother Eli says Peyton doesn't need to beat the Seattle Seahawks
and win a second Super Bowl to secure his legacy as one of the NFL's greatest
quarterbacks, believe him.
"I think Peyton's already created his own legacy," Eli said Thursday during a
conference call 10 days before Peyton and Broncos meet the Seahawks in the Super
Bowl at MetLife Stadium. "He's played at a very high level for a long period of time
and he's overcome injuries and obviously set numerous records and been on a lot
of playoff teams, playing in his third Super Bowl. I don't think that's something that
he's worried about.
"There will always be arguments about who is the greatest? Or who is the best," Eli
said. "I think if you're in that argument, if you're one of the names thrown around
in there, I think you've already created a pretty good legacy."
Peyton's resume is impressive: four-time MVP, 13-time Pro Bowler, seven-time All
Sure, there is only one title. Two would be the icing, and put him on par with Eli.
For the past few days, Eli Manning said his big job has been to get his brother extra
tickets for the first outdoor Super Bowl in a cold-weather city. Barring late add-ons,
he's already hit the request number.
"Obviously, I know what it's like with the Super Bowl and a lot of people are trying
to figure out if they're coming to the games, so I'm trying to take some of that
stress off of him and help manage some of those things," Eli said. "That way, he
can focus on work and getting the game plan."
While the two have exchanged some text messages, the brothers have not seen
each other since Denver's win over New England in the AFC title game on Sunday.
They hope to get together early next week in the New York for a few hours, when
Eli will give Peyton the secrets about playing in MetLife Stadium and his insight into
playing Seattle, which the Giants did on here on Dec. 15.
The way the Seahawks' defense dominated New York that day in a 23-0 win,
Peyton might well ignore the advice.
After that, Peyton will take center stage during the weeklong media frenzy and Eli
will get ready to watch only his second game at the Meadowlands. The first was in
2003 when the Jets crushed Peyton and the Colts in an AFC playoff game at Giants
Stadium. Eli was still at Ole Miss.
There is some coincidence about this game. When Eli won his second Super Bowl in
2012, it was in Peyton's stadium in Indianapolis.
"I'm rooting for him," Eli said. "It's not like watching any other football game. If I'm
watching two other teams, I'm kind of casually watching and don't really care who
wins or loses. Here, it's a little bit more nerve-racking. I don't get nervous playing
football games, I get nervous watching my brother play, and I guess because I've
been doing this for a long time and you kind of know key moments and key plays."
Eli does not think the cold will be a factor in the game. The bigger issue for his
brother would be snow and wind. That might affect the Broncos more because they
are a passing offense. The Seahawks are more run-oriented.
Coming into the season, Eli hoped the Giants might become the first time to play
the Super Bowl in their own stadium. A 0-6 start derailed that and led to a 7-9
season that left New York out of the playoffs for the fourth time in five years.
If he's not going, Manning is happy his brother made it. There is a little jealousy,
"It kind of makes you want to get back to that situation and kind of get back to
working and getting your mind set on doing whatever I have to do to get the Giants
back to the championship games and get back to Super Bowls," Eli said.
Sunday, he'll watch, and root for Peyton, just like his big brother did for him in
2008 and '12, when the Giants won it all.
That's the family way.
NY-NJ area ready for 'mass transit' Super
By David Porter
Associated Press
January 23, 2014
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — For all the consternation over whether Mother Nature may or
may not visit in northern New Jersey for next weekend's Super Bowl, another
unpredictable force could determine whether the event turns into a transportation
debacle: the football fan.
The $64,000 question, beyond whether Feb. 2 will bring another storm the likes of
the one that dumped nearly a foot of snow Tuesday, will be whether the estimated
few hundred thousand visitors to the area heed organizers' advice and leave their
cars at home or at their hotels.
If fans do decide to take mass transit, they will find plenty of options waiting. If
they don't, they will find out what New York metro area residents already know,
that the slightest disruption to the traffic system, be it construction, an accident or
the influx of more vehicles, can tip an already delicate balance into chaos.
And that's on an average day.
"There's a certain degree of angst that I have right now, quite frankly," said Jim
Kirkos, head of the Meadowlands Chamber, a business organization covering the
area surrounding MetLife Stadium. "But people at the host committee have been
studying this for a long time and they have a really solid transportation plan.
They're going to have a lot of assets and resources working on this, so I have a lot
of confidence this will find a way to work itself out."
The efforts to make this the first "mass transit" Super Bowl fall into two categories:
the days leading up to the game and the game itself.
Geography dictates the former. More than 20 miles separates Times Square, site of
the NFL's Super Bowl Boulevard attraction, and Florham Park, N.J., where the
Broncos will practice. In between is Jersey City, site of the team hotels; East
Rutherford, home to MetLife Stadium and the Seahawks' practice facility, and
Newark, where media day will be held next Tuesday.
New Jersey Transit, the nation's third-largest commuter rail system, will expand
service and add cars onto some trains starting on Wednesday of Super Bowl week,
and will have additional bus service into New York from next Wednesday through
Saturday. The agency is offering a $50 "Super Pass" good for travel on its rail, light
rail and bus lines from Jan. 27 to Feb. 3. NJ Transit spokesman John Durso Jr. said
about 1,300 of the passes had been sold so far.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the bridges and
tunnels between New York and New Jersey, will add trains to its PATH rail service
between Newark, Jersey City, Hoboken and Manhattan beginning next Monday.
Two years of planning have gone into figuring out how to move 80,000-plus people
in and around MetLife Stadium on Super Bowl Sunday in any weather. Two factors
in organizers' favor: weekend traffic is less onerous, and parking restrictions will
keep down the number of cars that can get onto the stadium grounds.
Fewer than 15,000 of the normal 28,000 parking spaces are available and must be
reserved by ticketholders for $150 each. (As of Wednesday some were being sold
on eBay for upwards of $300.) Buses and limos won't be allowed to drop off
passengers and leave, and will also have to pay for parking spaces.
That leaves trains and buses as the mode of transportation organizers hope a large
number of fans will choose.
The Super Bowl host committee is running buses from six locations in New York and
three in New Jersey — one in Secaucus, one at Newark Liberty Airport's Marriott
hotel and one in Hanover, close to the Broncos' practice facility in Florham Park.
Tickets are $51 roundtrip — no discount for one-way travel — and are on sale
through this Friday. They've been selling well, according to host committee
spokeswoman Alice McGillion, though she wouldn't specify how many had been
sold. The buses hold about 50 people each and will be allocated to the different
locations based on demand, McGillion said.
NJ Transit lengthened its lower platform at the Secaucus train station to
accommodate longer trains for the Super Bowl, and will offer trains about every 10
minutes or so on game day, according to Durso. Riders should expect to have their
game tickets checked and go through security screening, Durso said.
"It's going to be 'load and go,' where once we bring the trains to capacity we're
going to move them out to the Meadowlands," he said.
For motorists, the state Department of Transportation will have an army of
machinery and resources at its disposal including plows and salt-spreaders in case
of snow, and trucks patrolling roads near MetLife Stadium to clear away accidents
or help stranded motorists. Drivers will be directed by numerous electronic signs
that can be changed depending on traffic conditions by DOT personnel at a
command center central New Jersey.
"It will be very clear how to get to the stadium, what exits to take," DOT
spokesman Joseph Dee said. "And there will be a lot of eyes on a lot of camera
images, and communications with folks in the field."
Broncos' Miller pleads guilty to 2 traffic
Associated Press
January 23, 2014
DENVER (AP) — An attorney for Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller has entered a
guilty plea on Miller's behalf to two traffic violations, and other traffic charges have
been dropped.
The Denver Post reports ( ) Miller wasn't in the
Arapahoe County courtroom in suburban Denver when his lawyer entered the guilty
pleas to a lane change violation and speeding.
Miller completed community service and took a driving course before the pleas were
He also had been charged with careless driving, driving without a license and
having no proof of insurance.
Miller's season ended Dec. 23 when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the
Broncos' victory over the Houston Texans. He has since had surgery.
Miller missed the first six games of the regular season for violating the league's
substance abuse policy.
Missed tackles could mean
shattered dreams
By Jeff Legwold
January 23, 2014
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- When the Denver Broncos see Marshawn Lynch run the ball
for the Seattle Seahawks, they can see the math.
They see the back to-the-basics equation that every broken tackle by the running
back in Super Bowl XLVIII will be a chance for the Broncos to have a broken heart.
“With such a strong back ... a quick back and somebody his size, you have to gang
tackle,'' said Broncos safety David Bruton. “You can't just leave it up to one guy.
We have to try to get 11 hats to the ball all the time.''
Steven Bisig"I haven't seen on film any guys really taking him down by themselves
or knocking him back," said Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton of Seattle's
Marshawn Lynch.
When it comes to the dimensions, Lynch is not what would be considered a big back
by many who evaluate football players as a livelihood. He's 5-foot-11, 215 pounds,
bigger than some of his peers as a team's primary ballcarrier, but smaller than
some others.
But Lynch runs heavy and when it comes to adding the force and acceleration to his
mass, he is one of football's best finishers. Bigger players slide off or are shoved
And it isn't a confetti-run every time he touches the ball. Sometimes it's a 3-yard
run after several 3-yard runs, before Lynch drops his shoulder on a defender who
doesn't finish the job. His earthquake run in the 2010 wild-card game when he stiffarmed former Broncos and Saints cornerback Tracy Porter on the way to a 67-yard
touchdown run when eight New Orleans defenders had a chance to tackle him
brought cheers loud enough to have formally registered as seismic activity.
“You have to gang tackle a guy like that,'' said Broncos defensive tackle Terrance
Knighton. “You try not to have so much pride as a defensive player and want to go
out there and make the plays yourself. Especially with me being a D-lineman.
Obviously I think I can go out there and handle it all by myself, but we have to
gang tackle him. I haven't seen on film any guys really taking him down by
themselves or knocking him back. We'll have to do a good job containing him and
not allow him to break big runs.''
Since the start of the 2011 season Lynch leads the NFL with 39 total touchdowns,
two more than Adrian Peterson, three more than Saints tight end Jimmy Graham.
And for the most part the Broncos know where Lynch plans to get to work. In the
NFC Championship Game win over the San Francisco 49ers, 107 of Lynch's 109
rushing yards came between the tackles. The Seahawks use plenty of two-back
looks as well to help clear the way. The Broncos have often, this season, answered
heavy-run formations with more of a 3-4 look on defense without outside
linebackers standing up on the line of scrimmage with three down linemen,
especially on early downs.
But a lot of how things go against Lynch will be how the Broncos fare in those initial
one-on-one moments, defender and running back. And the Broncos will have to
either get him down on their own, or at least slow him long enough until the help
“Every week has been a challenge,'' Knighton said. “We stepped up to the challenge
last week stopping New England's run game. San Diego had success running the
ball in the regular season and we stepped up to that challenge in the playoffs. It
just gets worse and worse each week. Going against a back like this -- we obviously
have to stop him and can't allow him to get going. A guy like that who builds
momentum and has confidence that he can run the ball just makes it worse for us.''
“A guy like Marshawn Lynch, he requires us to do some extra film study and do
some extra hitting,'' said Broncos defensive end Shaun Phillips. “He is that kind of
John Fox relying on experience
By Jeff Legwold
January 23, 2014
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- John Fox has always said experience matters. With that in
mind, Fox has relied on players or members of the front office to speak with the
team as the Denver Broncos prepare for the Super Bowl.
Fox had players who have played in the league's title game -- Peyton Manning, Wes
Welker, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Jacob Tamme -- offer up their thoughts
in a team meeting on Thursday morning as well as executive vice president of
football operations John Elway.
"Coach Fox has had some guys that have some experience share some of those
thoughts with other players,'' Manning said. "And he's encouraged guys to ask
questions or guys who have some experience to share any thoughts, tips. We have
had opportunity to do that whether it was coaches or players or John Elway. So I
think that's a good thing.''
Manning has played in two Super Bowls, having won one to close out the 2006
season and is the only Broncos player with a Super Bowl ring. Elway played in five
Super Bowls as a player, winning in back-to-back appearances in the last two
seasons of his career.
Fox has been to two Super Bowls, one as a head coach of the Carolina Panthers to
close out the 2003 season and one as the New York Giants defensive coordinator to
close out the 2000 season.
"Just relating the experience,'' Fox said. "It's a unique game, a unique stage, just
share those experiences for the younger players.''
Part of the advice Broncos players have been given is to designate someone other
than themselves to handle ticket requests for any travel issues. Manning has
enlisted his brother, Eli, a two-time Super Bowl winner as the Giants' quarterback.
Peyton handled ticket requests for Eli when the Giants were in the title game.
"I think that was way I could help him,'' Manning said. "He's helping me out this
year and I certainly appreciate that."
On the field, kicker Matt Prater was held out of Thursday's practice because of an
illness while defensive tackle Mitch Unrein (knee) also did not practice. Running
back Knowshon Moreno (ribs) and defensive tackle Sione Fua (calf) were limited.
Moreno is expected to play in the Super Bowl on Feb. 2 against Seattle.
Broncos still working past 4-12 finish
in '10
By Jeff Legwold
January 23, 2014
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Denver Broncos will play in the franchise's seventh
Super Bowl a week from Sunday because they did enough in the draft to make it
that far, they did enough in free agency (OK, Peyton Manning is the ultimate free
agency home run) and they made it all work over the last three seasons.
But even with the extreme makeover that came with John Elway's return to the
team as its chief football executive in January of 2011, even with the title game
appearance, there is still a roster hole the Broncos will still have to address moving
Or, to put it another way, there is a reason the Broncos will be the older team in
Super Bowl XLVIII.
The Broncos have seven players on the current 53-man roster who have played at
least 10 seasons in the league, led by Manning's 16. The Seattle Seahawks have
one: defensive end Chris Clemons. While the Broncos have certainly climbed all the
way out of their 4-12 finish in 2010, they are certainly still a product of that season
and the smattering of non-playoff finishes that came before it.
For those who believe the draft is the team's foundation -- and Elway counts
himself as one of those -- the real guts of a roster are those fifth- and sixth-year,
homegrown players. Players drafted and then signed to their second contracts to
stay put. Of the Broncos captains -- Manning, Champ Bailey, David Bruton, Wesley
Woodyard and Wes Welker -- just two have been with the team since they were
rookies. That’s Bruton (2009 draft) and Woodyard (2008 undrafted rookie).
A player in his sixth season would be a product of the 2008 draft. And since ’08 the
Broncos have had two coaching changes and two changes at the call-the-shots
general manager level as well. Each resulted in a complete tear-down from the
previous regime. That is why this current roster includes a pile of young players to
go with the veterans who have been around for at least 10 seasons. The Seahawks
have 24 players with three seasons or less experience on their current roster -players who came into the league in 2011 or after, while the Broncos have 22.
It means the Broncos' roster gap is rooted in '08 and '09. For the Broncos only Pro
Bowl left tackle Ryan Clady remains from the ’08 draft, which was Mike Shanahan’s
last season with the team while Woodyard remains a high-quality find as an
undrafted rookie from that year as well.
A player in his fifth year would be a product of the 2009 draft. For the Broncos that
only includes Bruton, running back Knowshon Moreno and defensive end Robert
Ayers. While Bruton is a special teams regular, Moreno is still the only one of those
three players who played at least 50 percent of the team’s snaps on offense or
defense this season.
And that has put the Broncos in a position to be active in free agency at both the
front end -- the recruitment and signing of Manning in 2012 -- to go with a series of
one-year contracts to experienced players. This past year that included defensive
end Shaun Phillips (10 sacks), cornerback Quentin Jammer and linebacker Paris
"I’ve always said if we can find somebody better than we have, we have to find
them," Elway said. "And if they’re out there then we’ll sign them. So age and all
that at this point in time, with where we were coming out of a 4-12 year and then
we go to 8-8 now at that point and then you get a guy like Peyton Manning. Now
it’s about trying to find all the pieces together … but we’re not just trying to find
young guys. We’re going to find guys that fit, young and old guys, that fit
From Elway’s perspective, a Super Bowl trip only helps his cause, as would
Manning’s expected return for 2014 if doctors give the quarterback the go-ahead in
the weeks following the Super Bowl to play next season. So, even as Elway would
continue his quest to "stack those draft classes year after year," to make the draft
the foundation of sustaining what they’ve done over the last three seasons, the
Broncos would be a popular destination for veteran players in search of success.
"It comes down to the thing is that it’s been my goal to really continue what
[Broncos owner] Pat Bowlen created in the fact that people want to play here,"
Elway said. "So players will come here late in their career when they know they
have a chance to win a world championship and they know the reputation of the
Denver Broncos since Pat Bowlen has been here that it’s a good place to play … . If
money is the No. 1 thing, we’re really not on the same page if it’s all about money,
in my mind."
Broncos cool to weather talk
By Jeff Legwold
January 23, 2014
With a snowstorm having rolled through the Northeast in recent days and
temperatures expected in the high 20s during Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife
Stadium, the game-day weather is already a popular narrative for the championship
game and the Broncos haven't even left Colorado.
"Cold? We're talking about the Super Bowl," Broncos safety Mike Adams said. "I'm
not worried about the cold, I promise you that. We weren't practicing in like minus3 weather here? I'm definitely not worried about cold weather."
In the days leading up to the Broncos' Dec. 8 game, a 51-28 victory over the
Tennessee Titans, the Broncos practiced outside in temperatures that were minus-1
at the start of one workout and 3 degrees at the start of another. The temperature
was 18 degrees at kickoff for the Titans' game in Denver.
Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning finished the game 39-of-59 passing for 397
yards and four touchdowns. Immediately following the win, Manning went on the
team's flagship radio station and said people who offered up the "narrative" he
could not play in the cold weather could "stick it where the sun don't shine."
"The Denver Broncos, we're definitely weather proof ... it snowed last night," tackle
Orlando Franklin said. "We were outside for practice [Thursday]."
So, while the first outdoor Super Bowl in a cold-weather city figures to be a
prominent talking point in the days ahead, especially after the Broncos and Seattle
Seahawks arrive Sunday in the New York/New Jersey area, the Broncos players
wonder what all of the fuss is about.
"Whatever it is -- 100 degrees, 20 degrees -- no matter what, you go out and
play," said rookie running back Montee Ball, who played at the University of
Wisconsin. " ... You play, it's the Super Bowl."
Added Broncos cornerback Tony Carter: "It's the Super Bowl. I don't care where
they play it, I want to be in it. It's the biggest game of the year, nobody in here is
worried about the weather."
Eli to offer advice to big brother
By Dan Graziano
January 23, 2014
Peyton Manning is heading to New Jersey next week with the Denver Broncos to
play the Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium, and he'll get a helpful scouting report from
his little brother.
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who plays his home games at MetLife
Stadium, said he'd be offering Peyton tips on the stadium's quirks, especially as
they pertain to potential winter weather conditions such as strong winds.
"I might have a few things for him, but I don't want to reveal that, because I don't
want to give it to [Seahawks quarterback] Russell Wilson," Eli Manning said on a
conference call Thursday. "So any tips I may have wind-wise, I would tell him in
Eli Manning did share his opinion that MetLife Stadium doesn't present the same
kind of wind challenges for which its predecessor, Giants Stadium, was famous.
"The old stadium definitely had a specific end zone and corner that you wouldn't
want to throw into if it was going to be a windy night," Eli said. "If it is one of those
windy days, then there is a little bit of local knowledge that you can give. But it's
definitely not as bad as the old stadium."
Eli attended the Broncos' AFC Championship Game victory over the Patriots in
Denver on Sunday and spoke to his brother after that game. He said this week, he
and Peyton have mainly been texting as he has worked to help Peyton with tickets
for friends and family and other non-football aspects of the Super Bowl
preparations. Eli said he remembers Peyton helping him in a similar fashion two
years ago when he and the Giants were playing the Super Bowl in Indianapolis and
Peyton was still a member of the Colts' organization, and his mission is to lessen
the off-field burden so Peyton can focus on on-field preparations.
Eli's advice for Peyton
Eli Manning has stated he may give brother Peyton advice about playing at MetLife
Stadium. But should Peyton listen to him? Vote! »
As for the question of whether Peyton needs to win a second Super Bowl in order to
be counted as the greatest of all time, his proud little brother seemed to disagree.
"I think he's already created his own legacy, and he's played at a very high level for
a long period of time, has overcome injuries and obviously set numerous records
and been on a lot of playoff teams and is playing in a third Super Bowl," Eli said.
"I don't think that's something that he's worried about. There will always been
arguments about who's the greatest, who's the best. If you're in that argument,
and your name is being thrown around in there, I think you've already created a
pretty good legacy. He's a competitor and he wants to win championships. I think
that's what he's thinking about."
Wilson was a Manning Academy student
By Terry Blount
January 23, 2014
RENTON, Wash. -- Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson met Denver Broncos
quarterback Peyton Manning nine years ago.
Wilson was a 16-year-old high school sophomore at the time, attending the Peyton
Manning Passing Academy.
"There were thousands of kids there," Wilson said. "I was actually in his group. It
was me and 12-15 other guys."
Fast forward seven years. The two men met again.
"Through the whole draft process, the Broncos brought me out to Denver," Wilson
said. "He was in the locker room, and I went up to talk to him."
Here’s how the conversation went:
Manning: "Have I seen you before somewhere? Where do I know you from?"
Wilson: "Well, you actually coached me at the Manning Passing Academy."
Manning: "Oh, yeah. Good to see you again."
Wilson was asked what he remembers about Manning at the academy.
"Just how much care and time he showed for the kids," Wilson said. "How much
detail he always talked about and how much of a perfectionist he was.
"I try to use that in my game. I’ve got a long way to go, but I try to do all the little
things. That’s what he does. He takes tons of notes and does all the right things. He
puts his team in the right position to win football games."
Wilson is a much different type of quarterback than Manning. Wilson is a scrambler
and Manning is the classic pocket passer. But Wilson said there is one area in which
he wants to be just like Manning.
"I try to emulate a lot of the things he does in terms of the knowledge he has for
the game," Wilson said. "He can make all the throws, but his knowledge separates
him from everybody else. That’s what I’m trying to work to one day.
"I love him to death. He’s just a great person and, obviously, a great football
player. I have so much respect for him."
Thurmond: Welker hit uncalled for
January 23, 2014
Wes Welker's hit on Aqib Talib in Sunday's AFC Championship Game didn't sit well
with Seattle Seahawks cornerback Walter Thurmond.
"It was really uncalled for," Thurmond told reporters Wednesday. "The receiver ran
right into the guy. I don't know the extent of the injury Talib had, but I thought we
were supposed to protect football players in this league now. I guess not. I guess
that only goes one way."
The NFL cleared Welker of any wrongdoing for his hit on the New England Patriots'
cornerback that proved to be a key play in the Denver Broncos' 26-16 win on
Wes Welker has had his share of injuries this season. He knows what it is like to sit
out and said he did not try to collide with Aqib Talib, writes Jeff Legwold. Blog
"It was a legal hit," NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino said on the NFL
Network on Wednesday night.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick blasted Welker for the hit on Monday, calling it "one of
the worst plays" he's seen in 39 years of coaching. Talib suffered a knee injury on
the play and didn't return to the game. Belichick said in a radio interview
Wednesday that he didn't believe the cornerback would have to undergo surgery,
Thurmond, a fourth-year player, told reporters a penalty should've been called and
that Welker may have received a "star" call from the officials.
"If you're intentionally coming at somebody, it's supposed to be a flag," Thurmond
said. "But they didn't throw the flag on him. Some players get away with a lot more
than other players depending on status, but that's just the nature of the game."
Thurmond said the play, which is called a "rub" or "pick" when a player tries to
make contact with a defender, didn't apply because Welker never lifted his head.
"Welker had his head down, like he was coming down the whole time," he said.
"That should be a flag, and he should be getting fined. There's a whole bunch of
things that should happen in that situation, but I don't run the NFL."
Part of a secondary nicknamed the "Legion of Boom," Thurmond knows the
Seahawks will have to deal with similar plays from the Broncos in the Super Bowl.
"We play a lot of man coverage, so we know they're going to have a lot of crossing
routes like that," Thurmond said. "We're preparing for that situation to occur. We
know that kind of contact is going to happen because we play so much man, and
we'll be ready for it."
Champ Bailey's trip to the Super Bowl
was 'meant to be'
By Lindsay H. Jones
January 23, 2014
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — As a crowd of reporters swarmed around his father, the
littlest member of the Bailey bunch rolled around on the floor of the Denver
Broncos' locker room with a cousin, wearing an orange No. 24 jersey, "Lil' Champ"
written in blue type across the back. Finally, his dad emerged from the scrum.
"Y'all are silly," said Champ Bailey as he approached the pack of family members
who were waiting to celebrate the biggest win of his NFL career. Finally, at age 35,
Bailey would be playing in the Super Bowl — the only place his 15-year career as
an NFL cornerback hasn't taken him.
"That's what it's all about — get yourself to have a chance to get in the big one and
that's where we are now," Bailey said.
When he arrives at MetLife Stadium with his teammates on Feb. 2, it will be his first
time even at a Super Bowl. At no point in his first 14 years in the NFL could Bailey
bring himself to go to the championship game since his team wasn't playing in it.
So this will also be the first Super Bowl for the extended Bailey family, about 40 of
whom showed up in Denver for last week's AFC Championship game. His mother,
Elaine, will make the trip from Folkston, Ga., and his father, Roland Sr., from the
Jacksonville area. His brothers, Boss and Ronald, will be there, along with their
sister, Danielle.
"You watch the Super Bowl on TV, and they make it look so good, and so much fun
on TV, so I just wonder if it's going to be all that it's lived up to be. Just to see him
come out of the tunnel" Boss Bailey, who played from 2003-08 in the NFL with the
Detroit Lions and Broncos, told USA TODAY Sports on Thursday. "I always said I
wouldn't go to a Super Bowl unless me or him was in it. This is my shot to go, and I
didn't know if I would ever have that shot to go."
The Broncos, and Bailey, were close only one other time since he arrived in Denver
in a trade with Washington in 2004 in exchange for running back Clinton Portis.
That 2005 AFC Championship game loss to Pittsburgh haunted Bailey for years,
especially as the Broncos missed the playoffs from 2006-10, and he saw two head
coaches fired. Last year, when the Broncos appeared primed for a Super Bowl run,
Bailey played perhaps the worst game of his career in the divisional round loss to
Then in 2013, with the best Broncos in more than a decade surrounding him, Bailey
could barely play. He played in only eight quarters over three games in the Broncos'
first 14 games because of a nagging foot injury before finally returning for limited
duty in the final two weeks of the regular season. He was back in the starting lineup
last week, replacing cornerback Chris Harris, who suffered a torn ACL the week
"He knew what the end plan was this year. I never saw him get down, even when
he wasn't playing. He was like, 'We just have to keep winning games, winning
games, position ourselves to be in first place, and then I'll be ready,'" Boss Bailey
said. "It's just meant to be. He missed all that time in the season so he could be
here. I knew this was Champ's moment, in that game, to be there, and be effective
for his team to make it to the Super Bowl."
The Super Bowl has always been sacred in the Bailey house, where Roland Sr.,
hosted Super Bowl parties and his sons cheered for their favorite players. Boss
loved Lawrence Taylor, while Champ adored Walter Payton and the 1985 Bears.
Later, the Bailey boys rooted for Deion Sanders' Dallas Cowboys, and Jerry Rice's
San Francisco 49ers.
Now Bailey is that iconic player whom so many young cornerbacks have tried to
"People forget real quickly in this game, and maybe it's because he's been injured,
or maybe because Father Time has caught up a little bit, that Champ was one of
the greats ever to play that position. He played at the level that Richard Sherman is
now, but he didn't do it for one or two years. He did it for a long period of time,"
former Broncos safety John Lynch, Bailey's teammate from 2004-07, told USA
TODAY Sports. "He was the best corner in the National Football League, so for him
to get this opportunity, he's earned it. He deserves it, and I was just thrilled."
That sentiment is shared around the Broncos' training facility this week as the
Broncos' prepare to head to New Jersey. As happy as players were to reach the
Super Bowl for themselves and quarterback Peyton Manning, they know how
special this is for Bailey.
It's a respect he's built by being here for 10 years, for never acting like a prima
donna, for serving as a confidant for dozens of teammates — including young guys
such as Tony Carter, whom Bailey invited to have the locker adjacent to his, and
veteran free agent addition Quentin Jammer.
"I don't throw this out lightly, but he's probably one of my favorite people I've ever
met," Jammer told USA TODAY Sports. "He's just a good dude. He doesn't carry
himself in a manner that suggests he's a first ballot Hall of Famer. He's real with
people. He's low key, he does everything the right way. When you have young guys
coming through the league, if there is one guy you'd want as a role model, to show
you how things should be done, how to be a professional, that's the guy."
USA TODAY Sports' 22nd All-Joe team
full of unsung Seahawks, Broncos
By Nate Davis
January 24, 2014
USA TODAY Sports' All-Joe team was created in 1992 by longtime NFL writer Larry
Weisman as a tribute to Joe Phillips, a 14-year defensive lineman who did yeoman's
work for the Kansas City Chiefs that season. Phillips' effort in the trenches didn't
lead to much glory … unless you point to the 29 combined sacks of Derrick Thomas
and Neil Smith, Kansas City's fifth-ranked defense or the team's wild-card run. USA
TODAY Sports has honored the unsung Joes ever since and compiles them in a 53man roster that has at least one representative from every NFL team. Only players
who have never been named to the Pro Bowl are eligible (note the Broncos and
Seahawks share the All-Joe lead with four selections apiece):
Quarterback — Matt Flynn (Packers): He essentially saved Green Bay's season,
capably taking the reins as the Plan D passer until Aaron Rodgers returned from a
busted collarbone to nail down the NFC North crown in the regular-season finale.
Amazingly, the Packers' locker room was Flynn's fourth in less than a year. But he
was able to settle back into his old haunts quickly enough to engineer two double
digit comebacks against the Falcons and Cowboys, a pair of wins that tripled Flynn's
career total in his sixth season. Colin Kaepernick (49ers): After a bumpy start, he
had 100-plus passer ratings in five of his final six starts before leading another
deep playoff run. Josh McCown (Bears): First Chicago player ever to pass for 300plus yards in three consecutive games. Some think Bears might have reached
postseason if they'd stuck with McCown (his 13-to-1 TD-to-INT ration was bettered
only by Nick Foles) over Jay Cutler.
Running back — Donald Browns (Colts): He began the year third on the depth
chart, but superior production (5.3 yards per carry) meant an eventual promotion
over ballyhooed trade acquisition Trent Richardson. Knowshon Moreno (Broncos):
Also No. 3 on the summer depth chart, all he did was become the first Denver
player to rush for 1,000 yards and add 500 more receiving in the same season.
Moreno scored a career-best 13 TDs and hasn't lost a fumble in more than 16
months. Like Brown, he's looking at a nice reward in free agency. Ben Tate
(Texans): Ran for a team-best 771 yards despite playing a good chunk of the
season with four broken ribs. This tough guy will be tough for Houston to re-sign.
Danny Woodhead (Chargers): His 76 catches led all AFC backs as he provided the
outlet option QB Philip Rivers had missed in recent years.
Fullback — Bruce Miller (49ers): Converted college defensive end has become a
bonecrushing blocker as a pro and the spearhead of the Niners' prolific rushing
Wide receiver — Marques Colston (Saints): Fell 57 yards short of his seventh
1,000-yard receiving effort. As long as he's barred from Honolulu, Colston will
always have an All-Joe spot waiting for him. Jerricho Cotchery (Steelers): He's
beloved in locker room even if he's a quiet assassin. Ten of his 46 grabs produced
TDs. Julian Edelman (Patriots): Wes Who? Edelman's 105 catches just about tripled
his previous career-high (37) and ably replaced the production of the man Bill
Belichick now refers to as "the receiver." Edelman also averaged 10.7 yards per
punt return. Pierre Garcon (Redskins): His 113 receptions paced the league and
broke Hall of Famer Art Monk's 29-year-old team record. Jordy Nelson (Packers):
He may have the best hands in the game right now but somehow can't catch a trip
to the Pro Bowl. Nelson's legs are pretty good, too, churning out 1,314 receiving
yards. Golden Tate (Seahawks): With Percy Harvin out most of the year, he earned
a lot of tough catches (64) and yards (898) while facing the opposition's best
corners. Tate's also a good special teamer.
Tight end — Charles Clay (Dolphins): Dustin Keller's unfortunate preseason knee
injury created an opportunity for Clay, who more than capitalized with 69 catches
for 759 yards in a breakthrough campaign. The part-time fullback also led Miami
with seven TDs. Greg Olsen (Panthers): Unfortunately for him, he's become an AllJoe staple, too. Olsen (73 catches, 816 yards, 6 TDs) is Cam Newton's favorite
target and a force in the community.
Tackle — Chris Clark (Broncos): Not only was he asked to replace arguably the
league's best tackle after Ryan Clady went down for good with a Week 2 foot injury,
Clark was charged with bubble-wrapping the league's best quarterback. But he did
a pretty good job safeguarding Peyton Manning. King Dunlap (Chargers): A virtual
unknown in his sixth NFL season, Dunlap filled a gaping hole on the San Diego line
and was an unsung reason Rivers rebounded and the offense got back into gear.
Zach Strief (Saints): According to ProFootballFocus, he was the highest-ranked
tackle not picked for the Pro Bowl. Strief only surrendered three sacks of Drew
Guard — Rodger Saffold (Rams): He moved to right tackle to accommodate Jake
Long, then spent half his season at guard to patch a hole before moving back to left
tackle when Long was injured. Matt Slauson (Bears): Free agent solidified an O-line
that had long been a sieve, and his efforts brought a four-year extension after the
season. Geoff Schwartz (Chiefs): The K.C. line was a Rubik's Cube. But Schwartz
may have been its best blocker, playing both guard positions and right tackle. Larry
Warford (Lions): Rookie third rounder played like a top-10 pick. A definite keeper.
Center — Jason Kelce (Eagles): All he did was come back from a torn ACL in 2012
to anchor a high-tempo offense that demands ability, smarts and conditioning from
coach Chip Kelly. Manny Ramirez (Broncos): He may one day remembered as the
pivot man for the greatest offense in NFL history. Pretty remarkable when you
consider the demands Manning puts on his snapper and the fact Ramirez hadn't
played the position in the NFL prior to this season. "Manny's been awesome,"
Manning said last month. "That is no easy task to go from guard to center,
especially in a sophisticated, fast-moving, always-changing offense. I think it would
be one thing if you knew what play was going to be called and you had 40 seconds
to process it. But we call one play and change it to the next with five seconds on
the play clock and when we change a play, Manny has to make his own calls and he
has just gotten better each week."
Kicker — Josh Scobee (Jaguars): No team struggled to score more in 2013 than
Jacksonville, but don't blame Scobee, who drilled 23 of 25 field-goal tries. One of
his misses was blocked, the other failed from 60 yards. He's 71-for-78 (91%) from
three-point range since 2011 and also excels on kickoffs.
Defensive line — Michael Bennett (Seahawks): He may have been Seattle's best
offseason pick-up, leading the club with 8.5 sacks while providing stout run
defense. Calais Campbell (Cardinals): The best 3-4 end in the NFL not named J.J.
Watt, Campbell posted a career-best nine sacks while crushing tailbacks for the
NFL's top run defense. He also excels at blocking kicks with his 6-8 frame. Jurrell
Casey (Titans): Only Dallas Pro Bowler Jason Hatcher had more sacks among
interior linemen than Casey's career-high 10.5. Rob Ninkovich (Patriots): Is he an
end? A linebacker? We're not sure, we just know he's a do-it-all type with a
fantastic beard. Domata Peko (Bengals): Veteran leader has quietly done the dirty
work for a defense ranked in the top 10 each of the past three seasons. Brian
Robison (Vikings): Has averaged 8.5 sacks since 2011 while operating in Jared
Allen's shadow, though that may change in 2014 if Allen leaves for less purple
pastures. Robison showcased his athleticism with a 61-yard fumble return for a TD
in Week 2. Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson (Jets): This duo formed
the heart of a new-look New York defense. Richardson, a rookie, is a devastating
run stopper and gap-shooting disruptor who moonlights as a goal-line back (2 TDs).
Wilkerson was voted team MVP after piling up a personal best 10.5 sacks to go
along with his stellar all-round play.
Outside linebacker — Lavonte David (Buccaneers): You tell us how a first-team allpro doesn't go to Hawaii. All David does is make tackles (144), sack quarterbacks
(6), and intercept the passes (5) he isn't breaking up (10). Stud. Thomas Davis
(Panthers): You might know that the Carolina defensive captain's right ACL has
been repaired three times. But did you know he just collected a career-high 123
tackles and has missed just one game in the last two seasons? A great pass
defender. Junior Galette (Saints): After registering 12 sacks off the edge, perhaps
no one was happier with Rob Ryan's new 3-4 defense than Galette. Jerry Hughes
(Bills): A former first rounder cast off by the Colts, Hughes emerged as quite the
sub package QB hunter (he only started once in 2013) in Buffalo with 10 sacks.
DeAndre Levy (Lions): Don't throw in his zone — only Seattle's Richard Sherman
picked off more passes than Levy's six, a gaudy figure for a linebacker.
Inside linebacker — Karlos Dansby (Cardinals): Returned to the desert after three
years in Miami and turned in his best season. His career-high 114 solo tackles
complemented 6.5 sacks. He also picked off four passes (returning two for scores)
and broke up 19 passes, tied for most among linebackers. Jerrell Freeman (Colts):
Another playmaker, Freeman's six forced fumbles were the most for an inside
backer. He's also solid all around (126 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 2 INTs). D'Qwell Jackson
(Browns): He's taken London Fletcher's place as the league's most
underappreciated tackling machine. Nick Roach (Raiders): Didn't miss any of
Oakland's 1,074 defensive snaps and provided the steady veteran presence the unit
sorely needed after arriving from Chicago. Paul Worrilow (Falcons): Undrafted
rookie stepped in as a starter in October and ended up leading Atlanta with 127
tackles, including 54 during a three-game stretch in November. Pen him into the
lineup from now on.
Cornerback — Tramaine Brock (49ers): Former practice squad player led Niners
with five picks, claimed a starting job in the season's second half and earned a
four-year extension. Fun fact: Brock is the only player from Belhaven University
(Jackson, Miss.) to play in the NFL. Chris Harris (Broncos): Former undrafted
nickelback assumed the starting role of injured star Champ Bailey and emerged as
Denver's steadiest defender, playing more snaps than anyone else on the unit
before tearing an ACL in postseason. Byron Maxwell (Seahawks): The least
heralded member of the Legion of Boom not only stepped in for suspended Brandon
Browner late in 2013 but improved the air defense opposite the frequently untested
Sherman. Captain Munnerlyn (Panthers): Diminutive (5-8, 195) former seventh
rounder emerged as Carolina's No. 1 corner in 2013, equally willing to take on
receivers, runners and blockers. Terrell Thomas (Giants): He tore his right ACL
prior to both the 2011 and 2012 seasons. But Thomas was back in 2013 to nail
down the slot, finishing with 67 tackles. Lardarius Webb (Ravens): He tore his left
ACL midway through Baltimore's Super Bowl season but returned in 2013 to tie for
the league lead with 23 pass break-ups. Webb also chipped in with 74 tackles.
Safety — Barry Church (Cowboys): He suffered a torn Achilles' in 2012 but
reclaimed his starting post in 2013. Church had a heavy workload behind Dallas'
injury-riddled front seven, and his 135 tackles were more than any defensive back
in the league. Reggie Nelson (Bengals): Perhaps not the superstar first rounder the
Jags once envisioned, Nelson has settled in as another unheralded mainstay of the
top-shelf Cincinnati defense. He rarely misses a snap despite his hard-hitting style.
Punter — Jon Ryan (Seahawks): He's figured out how to combine hang time and
directional kicking so well, that he only allowed 82 punt return yards in 2013. Only
Rams Pro Bowler Johnny Hekker was better, but he's usually operating in a dome,
not Seattle's elements.
New Jersey takes backseat in Super Bowl
XLVIII billing
By Chris Strauss
January 23, 2014
A 16-foot, illuminated XLVIII statue, to be exact. The giant installation, designed by
a local architect and being put into place this weekend, will sit on the edge of the
Hudson River, visible to thousands of VIP partygoers descending upon the West
Side of Manhattan, N.Y., next week for exclusive Super Bowl parties thrown by,
among others, DirecTV, GQ and Bud Light.
Similar statues have dotted the landscape of recent host cities, but there's more
symbolism in the placement of Super Bowl XLVIII's edition in Hoboken's Pier A
Park. While the game between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks will be
played in New Jersey, the event has been unofficially touted as the New York Super
Bowl; many official game signs, not to mention the NY/NJ Super Bowl Host
Committee, give top billing to the Empire State.
It's something Garden State residents are accustomed to, with both of the state's
NFL teams, the Jets and Giants, billing themselves as New York teams despite
playing their home games in East Rutherford, N.J. Even Hoboken's most noteworthy
son, Frank Sinatra, ended up crooning a trademark song about making it in "ol'
New York."
"The city is going all out in Times Square, where our offices are, with the whole
Super Bowl Boulevard," says Chris Mitchell, publisher of GQ magazine, which will
host its annual A-list Super Bowl pre-party atop the Standard Hotel in Manhattan's
Meatpacking District. "They're not doing that in Newark. The epicenter of the city is
New York, even though the game is in New Jersey.
The five-term mayor of the game's host borough, which has a population of nearly
9,000 on non-event days at MetLife Stadium, thinks his state isn't getting enough
respect for its role in staging the mega event.
"I understand the game would not be here if not for New York," East Rutherford
Mayor James Cassella told USA TODAY Sports. "I get it. I enjoy New York, too. I go
there a lot. And in East Rutherford I expect to get disrespected, but the state of
New Jersey is being left out of the mix.
"I get the impression the NFL could care less about New Jersey," says Cassella, a
Giants season-ticketholder who said he doesn't have a Super Bowl ticket.
Some hot spots
That's not to say New Jersey isn't seeing a spillover benefit, especially in places
near Manhattan. While the NFL cannot control where the parties are held, the
league made sure New Jersey was the site of game-related activities. Both team
hotels are in New Jersey, and on Tuesday the Prudential Center in Newark will host
that annual frenzy known as Super Bowl media day.
Player interviews during Super Bowl week will be in New Jersey, the Seahawks at
the Westin Jersey City and the Broncos holding their media availabilities on the
Cornucopia Majesty, a 30,000-square-foot luxury party ship that will be docked in
Jersey City.
The top New Jersey hotels also expect to do well, with easy access to public transit
that is equally convenient for guests looking to enjoy Manhattan all week and get to
the game Sunday.
The W Hoboken is blocks from the XLVIII statue and the "Hoboken Huddle," a
week-long festival beginning Monday that will feature ice skating, entertainment
and other attractions. The luxury hotel has been booked to near capacity for Super
Bowl weekend for months, with a standard room, normally priced from $300 to
$500, going for $832 a night with a minimum three-night stay.
"We have about 50 rooms for the (Super Bowl) weekend which are currently selling
at a somewhat interesting pace," says Pedro Dias, general manager at W Hoboken.
"We are confident that we are going to sell out for the weekend."
Big game, bigger city
What the game's economic impact will be on both sides of the Hudson is up for
debate, as it is at every Super Bowl. The NFL estimates that hosting the game could
bring $600 million in additional revenue to New York and New Jersey, up
substantially from last year's estimated $480 million impact in New Orleans.
Economists and researchers disagree, estimating the impact between $60 million
and $100 million.
One fact that is not debatable: While a Super Bowl might stretch hotel capacity in
some cities, that's far from the case in New York, where there are 82,000 hotel
rooms in Manhattan alone.
"There is tons of hotel availability, from the Ritz Carlton to the roadside motels at
the Holland Tunnel," Robert Tuchman, president of Goviva, a New York City-based
sports marketing firm that puts together travel packages to big events, said in an
e-mail. "It's actually the great thing about NYC/NJ hosting the Super Bowl; there is
tons of space for fans making late decisions on rooms. Much more than I ever
That additional availability prompted at least one luxury hotel in Midtown
Manhattan to create a last-minute Super Bowl package that oozes New York City
hubris. At the Sofitel New York, $100,000 gets 20 guests 10 double-occupancy
luxury suites over Super Bowl weekend, a daily breakfast, round-trip transportation
to MetLife Stadium and game tickets in Section 300.
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Yes, when it comes to being big, the Super Bowl might have met its match in the
Big Apple.
"To New York City, this whole 'big party headed to town' is more doable than most
cities because the infrastructure is there to make it work," says Brooklyn Decker, a
top model who is co-hosting the first night of the annual two-night Leather & Laces
Super Bowl party in Times Square next Friday. "As big of a weekend as this is, I
feel as it's a little 'been there, done that' for New Yorkers."
While Decker, several of her model friends, a number of other A-list entertainers
and athletes will be partying in Manhattan next weekend before trekking out to
stadium luxury suites for the game, most residents of New York and New Jersey
won't end up doing anything all that different from their normal routine.
"It's good for the economy of this area to have the Super Bowl here, but it doesn't
make a big difference to me one way or the other," says Scott Hunter of Old Bridge,
N.J. "I wasn't going to be going to it anyway — I wasn't going to be able to afford it
— so I'll be watching on TV, whether it's here or not."
Goodell: NFL would consider allowing
medical marijuana
By Chris Strauss
January 23, 2014
NEW YORK – Commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday the NFL would consider
allowing athletes to use marijuana to treat concussions and other head injuries if
medical experts deemed it a legitimate solution.
Appearing with General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt to announce the first 16 winners of
the $20 million "Head Health Challenge," sponsored by GE and the league, Goodell
didn't sway from his recent statements on use of the drug by active players.
"I'm not a medical expert. We will obviously follow signs. We will follow medicine
and if they determine this could be a proper usage in any context, we will consider
that," Goodell said. "Our medical experts are not saying that right now."
Both Colorado and Washington -- home states of the Super Bowl teams, the
Seahawks and Broncos -- are the only states where the drug is legal for
recreational use. Twenty more, plus Washington D.C., allow for medicinal marijuana
use. A report on HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" Tuesday estimated that
between 50%-60% of the league's players regularly use the drug, many for pain
management. The show also interviewed an Israeli doctor who showed how treating
mice with head trauma with marijuana showed drastic improvement in their
While the league is not willing to reconsider its stance on that potential treatment,
they are showcasing a number of potential innovations in diagnosis of head injuries.
More than 400 applicants in 27 countries applied for $300,000 awards in the Head
Health Challenge, which ended up going to researchers at a mix of 16 private
companies and universities.
Representatives from three of the awardees were in attendance at the league
offices to discuss their projects.
BrainScope Company, based in Bethesda, Md., is working with Purdue University's
Neurotrauma Group to enhance its handheld traumatic brain injury detection
technology. The tool, which would fit over a player's head and could be used on a
sideline, would provide a more specialized assessment of any possible brain injury
suffered on the field.
BrainScope's device is currently under development for trial use only, meaning that
it would need to get FDA approval before it could be used in a practical setting. The
potential for that future prospect with BrainScope as well as the evolution of blood
tests, new brain imaging techniques and other groundbreaking studies has the
commissioner feeling positive about the next frontier in combating the league's
concussion crisis.
"Not only are we going to get better at diagnosis, but we're going to make a
difference in the prognosis and the treatment," Goodell said. "People are going to
get better."
2013 Broncos: vs. Philadelphia, at Dallas
By Paul Klee
Colorado Springs Gazette
January 23, 2014
Next up: vs. Philadelphia (Week 4), at Dallas (Week 5).
The Eagles surprised me. You? When Philadelphia came to Denver, Philadelphia
looked awful. Next thing you know, Philadelphia’s a playoff team. The quarterback
change came at the right time and punched the right buttons; but doesn’t that say
more about the sorry state of the NFC East?
The best part of the Broncos-Eagles came during the first quarter. The family, and
fiancee, of the late Army Staff Sgt. Liam Nevins was honored in the south end zone.
Read more here.
The Cowboys and Broncos turned in a historic performance at Jerry World. They
combined for 99 points, the third-most in NFL history, and the Broncos rolled up
522 yards on offense — real-life Tecmo Bowl. Dallas-Denver represented arguably
the most memorable game on the Broncos schedule. The most entertaining, at
The dates: Sept. 29; Oct. 6.
The games: Denver 52, Philadelphia 20; Denver 51, Dallas 48.
The sites: Sports Authority Field at Mile High; AT&T Stadium.
The notable: Minutes before Matt Prater’s game-winning field goal against the
Cowboys, Peyton Manning told Knowshon Moreno he wasn’t allowed to score.
Manning didn’t want to give Tony Romo another shot.
The photos: AT&T Stadium in Arlington, the inside of AT&T Stadium (including Matt
Prater’s game-winning field goal, bottom right). The Dallas crowd was roughly 30percent Broncos fans.
Broncos: Preparing for Super Bowl crush
By Paul Klee
Colorado Springs Gazette
January 23, 2014
This is the second Super Bowl, as a head coach, for John Fox. This is the third
Super Bowl, as a quarterback, for Peyton Manning (above, today). John Elway is a
part of his sixth Super Bowl with the Broncos.
But this is the first Super Bowl, for everyone, hosted in the New York/New Jersey
metro area. The 48th Super Bowl will be different than the previous 47.
The Broncos started early with their tips and advice on how players should handle
the crush of 5,000-something credentialed media, parties that run ’til daybreak,
ticket obligations for family and friends and the temptations of holding a giant
event in a giant city.
“You try to help out any way you can,” Manning said today.
“(Fox) has encouraged guys to ask questions,” he added.
Manning said veterans, from himself to Elway, have been resources for younger
players. Fox held a team meeting to discuss logistics. It figures the Manning
brothers will discuss any quirks at Eli’s homefield, MetLife Stadium.
(Here’s my only tip, since they asked: download the “NYC Bus and Subway” app to
your phone. It’s handy. New York has a way of keeping you on your feet. You don’t
want tired feet on Super Bowl Sunday, right?)
This figures to be a crush like no other Super Bowl crush. That goes, especially, for
the media crush. In media obligations, Fox advised his players this way:
“Speak to the game and speak to themselves and not much else,” he said.
That’s what the Fox says about media and the New York/New Jersey Super Bowl.
Can’t wait to hear what Richard Sherman says, too.
2013 Broncos: vs. Raiders
By Paul Klee
Colorado Springs Gazette
January 23, 2014
Broncos left tackle Chris Clark was forced into duty thanks to an injury to All-Pro
Ryan Clady. In this Monday Night game, Clark often was matched up with Doherty
graduate Lamarr Houston, who forced Clark into a holding penalty. Otherwise, Clark
has proven to be more than capable in Clady’s absence.
Next up: Raiders at Broncos, Week 3.
The date: Sept. 23.
The game: Broncos 37, Raiders 21.
The site: Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
The photos: Raiders media guide, clever signage on Evans and I-25.
The notable: Peyton Manning’s first half QB rating of 152.1 neared perfection
2013 Broncos: at Giants
By Paul Klee
Colorado Springs Gazette
January 23, 2014
Next up: Broncos at Giants, Week 2.
The Manning Bowl was a mismatch. Eli threw his sixth interception of the season in
the fourth quarter of Week 2. (Peyton has thrown 10 interceptions all season). One
Giants fan, sitting in Section 214, sat through the game shirtless. (That won’t
happen on Super Bowl Sunday, unless he’s mad.) Many Giants fans hit the exits
with 10:13 left in regulation. (The Giants had four turnovers and were
Most important, the Broncos got a sneak preview of the stadium that will host
Super Bowl XLVIII. As Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie left the field, he told me fans
let him know they would see his team in February. Turns out, the East Coasters
were right on.
The date: Sept. 15.
The game: Broncos 41, Giants 23.
The site: MetLife Stadium.
The photos: 1. MetLife Stadium 2. Field view from MetLife Stadium. 3. Press-box
view from MetLife Stadium 4. My cabbie got a flat tire on the way to MetLife
Stadium 5. A personal-favorite neighborhood in Manhattan 6. Peyton Manning
threw for 307 yards and two touchdowns in his first game at MetLife.
The notable: Bill Parcells, whose Giants beat the Broncos in Super Bowl XXI, was
honored at halftime. And MetLife Stadium boasts a powerful sound system, the
loudest I’ve heard in a football arena. Bruno Mars should dig that.
Lenon's 14-year football odyssey
rewarded with Super Bowl
By Craig Morgan
FOX Sports Arizona
January 23, 2014
Denver Broncos middle linebacker Paris Lenon owns an odd distinction. He is the
only active NFL player to have played in the XFL, the alternative and ill-fated league
run by World Wrestling Entertainment CEO/Chairman Vince McMahon, where the
rules were as scant as the cheerleaders' outfits and the pre-game coin toss was
replaced by two players sprinting to, then wrestling for a ball on the ground to
determine possession.
"I do look back on that league, but it's only because people bring it to my
attention," said Lenon, who took a short trip home to Arizona to see his wife
(Heather), kids (Paris, Amirah and Jalen) and his dog (Millie) this week before the
Broncos head east for Super Bowl XLVIII in East Rutherford, N.J.
"It was so long ago I don't remember much about that league. I kind of exist in the
moment; not in the past or the future. I know it kind of annoys my wife because
she likes to plan ahead, but I just don't function that way."
Lenon's approach was probably best for his mental health. Given the stops and
starts on his 14-year football journey, it would have been easy to get discouraged.
He wasn't drafted out of the University of Richmond but signed with the Carolina
Panthers as a rookie free agent, beginning his pro football odyssey. The Panthers
released him at the end of mini-camp and he spent the year out of football working
as a substitute teacher and in a post office, sorting mail at night so he could train
during the day.
He signed with the XFL's Memphis Maniax for the league's one season of existence.
Following that season, he signed with the Green Bay Packers in April but was
waived after just three months. Seattle signed him one month later, then waived
him after 11 days.
Lenon re-joined the Packers' practice squad before the team's final 2001 regular
season game and one playoff game, but after the season, he was assigned to play
for the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe.
Amsterdam was a greater adjustment than any Lenon has experienced. The fans all
had whistles, few really cared about American football and there were plenty of
distractions in one the world's most liberal cities.
"I wasn't interested in any of that stuff," Lenon said, chuckling. "I just wanted a
chance to keep playing football."
Lenon finally made the Packers' active roster in 2002 and played mainly on special
teams. He started four games on defense in 2004 and 12 in 2005 before signing a
three-year deal with Detroit, where his career took off.
Over the next seven seasons with Detroit (three years), St. Louis (one) and Arizona
(three), Lenon recorded more than 100 combined tackles five times, with a highwater mark of 124 (94 solos) for the Cardinals in 2010.
Despite his play, Lenon endured a lot of losing, including an 0-16 mark with the
Lions in 2008 and a 1-15 record with the Rams the following season.
"I don't think about my career in a negative way," Lenon said. "Every year was just
a step. As a player, you gain more experience and knowledge every year, so I
never thought about how bad I had it. I always thought I was fortunate to be
Lenon's difficult football path has certainly honed his work ethic and attitude, but
Jeff Pultz, his defensive coordinator at Heritage High School in Lynchburg, Va., said
both have been there since Lenon was a kid.
Arizona connections in Super Bowl XLVIII
Paris Lenon, MLB, Cardinals (2010-12)
Omar Bolden, FS, ASU (2008-11)
Brock Osweiler, QB, ASU (2009-11)
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Cardinals (2008-10)
Stewart Bradley (IR), LB, Cardinals (2011-12)
Gerell Robinson (practice squad), TE, Hamilton HS, ASU (2008-11)
Zach Miller, TE, Desert Vista HS, ASU (2004-06)
O'Brien Schofield, LB, Cardinals (2010-12)
"Sometimes athletes are high-maintenance people who want attention, but not
Paris. He preferred to be in the shadows and just go on about his business," said
Pultz, who credits Lenon's parents with instilling that virtue as well as humility in
Lenon. "His parents taught him to be responsible with his money, responsible for
his family and never forget where you came from. He carries those values with him
today. He even calls his dad after every game just to let him know he's OK."
On Feb. 2, Lenon will finally get a taste of how the other half lives when the
Broncos face the Seahawks in the Super Bowl. Lenon had never advanced past the
divisional round of the playoffs and had only tasted one playoff victory before the
Broncos' current run.
Brought in to be a backup when the season began, the 36-year-old now essentially
splits snaps with erstwhile starter Wesley Woodyard,€” who primarily plays in
nickel packages while Lenon plays in the base defense and in short-yardage
"He understands the game, he understands the schemes of offense, and he's gotten
more comfortable in our defensive scheme as we've moved along," Broncos coach
John Fox told the Denver Post. "And as I mentioned awhile back, when we started
plugging him in there, he earned that opportunity."
Given all that he has overcome, it would be fair to say Lenon has earned this shot
on the sport's ultimate stage. But keeping in character, Lenon just shrugs.
"It's a big game with a very big prize at the end of it, but right now, I'm still
approaching it as a football game, which is something I've been doing for a long
time," he said. "I'm still going to enjoy the time, and it will be big enough when I
step onto the field with all the television coverage and the excitement and
"But I think it's a bigger deal for my family who get to see this after so long. For
me, it's just another work week."
Broncos' Adams comes long way to make
short trip to Super Bowl
By David Whitley
FOX Sports
January 23, 2014
Mike Adams checked his phone on Monday. Denver’s win over New England wasn’t
even 24 hours old, and he had 144 text messages and 44 missed calls.
Everybody wanted to congratulate the Broncos’ safety and/or hit him up for Super
Bowl tickets. Adams grew up not far from MetLife Stadium, so his popularity had
quickly soared. But if they had to confess, how many old friends never truly
thought Adams would home a conquering hero?
“Maybe 75 percent,” he said. “I come from Paterson, New Jersey. No one makes it
out of Paterson.”
The fact he did makes him perhaps the Super Bowl’s most grateful player. If the
media break away from Richard Sherman or Peyton Manning long enough to notice
next week, Adams may also stop being one of football’s most anonymous players.
“Obviously, he’s no slouch,” his old high school coach, John Iurato, said.
He’s a 10-year NFL veteran. For all most people know, however, he could be the
Mike Adams who plays for the Steelers. Or maybe even the Mike Adams who
pitches for the Phillies.
This Mike Adams is clairvoyant. When the NFL awarded Super Bowl XLVIII to the
New York/New Jersey area in 2010, he told people he’d be playing in it.
“You wouldn’t believe me,” Adams said, “but I promise you I said that.”
The crazy part is that he was playing for the Browns at the time. It takes a lot of
faith to believe in Cleveland, but Adams could be the NFL’s patron saint of lost
causes. There was no bigger one than himself.
Adams is one of eight children, raised by a single mother. One of Sharon Adams’
main goals in life was to see that none of her children had to attend Eastside High.
It was the school depicted in the movie “Lean on Me.” Morgan Freeman played Joe
Clark, the hardnosed principal who tried to clean up Eastside’s act in the 1980s. By
the time Adams came along, all the bad actors had returned. The state eventually
took over running the local school district.
Iurato was the coach at Passaic Tech. It was just across the river in Wayne, but far
enough away from the crime and grime that gives Paterson its reputation. A friend
recommended he take a look at Adams.
“He was a good kid,” Iurato said. “He just needed a shot.”
Adams helped Passaic Tech win a state title, but college recruiters hardly noticed
him. He ended up a Delaware Blue Hen.
Adams’ time there was marred by a broken leg and a dislocated hip. He spent
almost three months on crutches and basically had to re-learn how to walk. One
day, an assistant coach leveled with him.
“You’ll never make it in the NFL,” he said. “You’re not big enough. You’re not fast
His reaction?
“It made me feel like lifting weights,” Adams said.
No team cared enough to draft him, so he signed a free-agent deal with the San
Francisco 49ers. It paid $2,700 a week, which was nothing by NFL standards but
not bad for a Paterson kid just out of college. Adams could not enjoy the moment.
As training camp opened, his mother died from ovarian cancer. She was 38. That
was depressing enough. Throw in the pressure of a rookie nobody trying to make
an NFL roster and it was too much.
Adams had searing headaches but didn’t complain. Then he awoke one morning
and opened his eyes.
They wouldn’t focus. He was all but blinded by the tiniest ray of light. He put a
towel over his head and was taken to the hospital.
“They couldn’t find anything,” Adams said.
It was simply a stress overload. Adams went back to practice and tried to
concentrate on making the team.
“He knew what he had to do and what mom wanted him to do,” Iurato said. “He
didn’t want to blow the opportunity, so he went back and worked his ass off.”
Rashaun Woods was the hotshot receiver San Francisco had drafted in the first
round. Adams glued himself to him.
“I went against him every day and dominated,” he said.
The No. 1 pick from Oklahoma State was out of the league in three years. The Blue
Hen nobody wanted made the 49ers practice squad and became a part-time starter
his second year.
The average NFL career is 3.3 years. Adams’ is three times that long and counting.
He started 50 games in his first eight seasons, most of them spent with the
Browns. The Broncos signed him as a free agent two years ago, and he’ll start at
free safety on Feb. 2.
If Adams had played for a contender all those years or called Michael Crabtree a
mediocre receiver, more people might know his name. His success was not lost on
the people back home, however.
Adams went to a funeral a few years ago and nodded hello to a stranger. They
headed in opposite directions, then Adams’ aunt grabbed the stranger by the arm
and dragged him back.
“You know your son plays football?” she said.
"Yeah,” he replied. “But I like basketball.”
He walked away, and that was that. The extent of Adams’ lifetime interaction with
his father.
The anger he felt that day has melted into sadness. Especially now that Adams has
a daughter and realizes what his father missed.
"I’m more disappointed for him than me,” he said. “He never got to see me do
things. He never taught me how to tie a tie and other stuff like that.”
Adams knows he’s far from the only son of Paterson who feels that way. He’s
resolved himself to change what he can.
He started a foundation with Gerald Hayes, a Passaic High teammate who played in
the NFL from 2003-11. It sponsors mentoring programs, food drives, a youthleague football team and even pays for 100 haircuts before the school year.
The only requirement is that everyone who participates must provide some type of
community service. It would be nice to say it’s made a big difference, but Adams
doesn’t think his old neighborhood is much safer than it was 20 years ago.
“It’s getting worse,” he said. “More kids are going toward the gangs now, the
shootings and the killings. It makes you not want to go back, but…”
He does. Adams lives 20 minutes away in Parsippany. He returns to tell kids how to
become the next Mike Adams. It’s a name worth remembering.
“Just block everything out and have tunnel-vision,” he said. “No matter what you
do, whether you want to be a garbage man or a teacher or a barber. Be the best
garbage man or teacher or barber you can be.”
There’s no telling where they’ll end up. Maybe even in a Super Bowl.
Jim Irsay ‘couldn’t be more excited’ for
Peyton Manning’s return to Super Bowl
By Frank Schwab
Shutdown Corner/Yahoo! Sports
January 23, 2014
There was a minor kerfuffle earlier this year when Colts owner Jim Irsay kinda sorta
took a shot at Peyton Manning for only winning one title in Indianapolis. That came
the week before Manning returned to play the Colts as a member of the Broncos.
It was a poor choice of words by Irsay, but it was impossible to believe he didn't
appreciate what Manning did for the franchise.
So it's not a surprise that Irsay is thrilled for Manning as he goes back to another
Super Bowl, this one with Denver.
"I just couldn't be more excited," Irsay told The Indianapolis Star. "This is what we
were hoping it was going to be — a win-win situation for everybody. I'm so happy
for him. We've already talked this week about getting him some extra (Super Bowl)
tickets and I told him, 'You've got it, buddy. Go get 'em. Go win it.' I wish him all
the best."
That should put to rest any thoughts of an Irsay-Manning feud. Manning's success
doesn't mean Irsay regrets anything, however. Here's more from Bob Kravitz's
"And we're obviously on track; actually we're past where we thought we would be
with Andrew (Luck)," Irsay said. "If Peyton had stayed, it would have been a joke
with what we could have been able to field in 2012. It would have been crazy to
think we could have put a team together with Peyton.
"It was just an impossibility. Now we have the perfect situation, where we're way
ahead of schedule and Andrew is achieving things beyond our wildest expectations,
and Peyton has a chance to get that second Super Bowl ring. It's been a win-win
and that's what we were hoping for."
And that's all fair, as well. The Colts wouldn't trade 15 years of Luck for a few years
of Manning. They were in rebuilding mode and couldn't have built a roster around
Manning like the Broncos have anyway.
It really did work out well for everyone involved. And now we can put to rest the
notion that Irsay doesn't properly appreciate Manning.
Who are the NFL’s most respected
players, as voted by their peers?
By Frank Schwab
Shutdown Corner/Yahoo! Sports
January 23, 2014
Redskins linebacker London Fletcher didn't win an ESPN poll asking more than 320
players who the most respected player in the league was.
Peyton Manning won in a landslide, but we'll revisit that in a bit. Let's talk about
Fletcher for a moment.
The top seven players were mostly a roll call of the league's most recognizable
players. Manning was followed by Tom Brady, Adrian Peterson, Calvin Johnson,
Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers. It looks more like a fantasy football draft than
anything else.
But squeezed in that top seven between Brees and Rodgers on the list, getting 3.4
percent of the vote, was Fletcher. That's pretty remarkable, considering the rest of
the list. And it's much deserved.
Fletcher, who has said he was 99 percent sure he would retire after this season,
didn't make the list because he's the best linebacker in the NFL (although he has
been pretty good for this entire century). It's a testament to him carving out a 16year NFL career coming out of John Carroll University, looked over initially because
he is just 5-foot-10. But what Fletcher did was come to work every day. Literally.
He played in 256 consecutive games, never missing one. He played all 16 games
this year, racking up more than 100 tackles once again at age 38. He is respected
as a leader and for his toughness and longevity. He's the perfect player for any NFL
rookie to look up to.
Manning didn't exactly come out of nowhere to make himself an NFL success, but
he is the league's most respected player. He got 26.8 percent of the ESPN votes,
and Brady was a distant second with 7.5 percent. In a separate ESPN poll of "If you
had to start a team with one player, whom would it be?" the 37-year-old Manning
won that too, at 19.3 percent, besting Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck and
his 17.5 percent.
Given how well Manning and Fletcher did in the poll, it's pretty clear that the
league's players do respect their elders.
Peyton Manning gets big ticket request
assist from brother Eli
By Frank Schwab
Shutdown Corner/Yahoo! Sports
January 23, 2014
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Peyton and Eli Manning have a deal with each other. When
one makes the Super Bowl, the other takes care of ticket requests.
This has happened more often than anyone would expect from two brothers.
For the fifth time, one of the Manning boys is starting a Super Bowl. This time it's
Peyton, leading the Broncos into Super Bowl XLVIII against Seattle. So Eli handled
the tickets. The game is at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, where Eli's Giants play
their home games, so he might have had some connections to hook up those extra
tickets Peyton needed.
Eli said Peyton requested a certain number of tickets. "I have hit that number,'' Eli
said proudly.
— Paul Schwartz (@NYPost_Schwartz) January 23, 2014
Eli Manning, two-time Super Bowl champion and master ticket manager.
"We try to help out in any way you can," Peyton Manning said after practice on
Thursday. "That's certainly a way I've been helpful to him and he's been helpful to
me, over the past two I've played in and he's helped me out again this year. You
certainly appreciate that."
So much of the Super Bowl has nothing to do with the game, but the outside
distractions that can throw off a team. So much so that the Broncos called for a
"spouses meeting" on Tuesday to presumably take care of the many questions they
had before heading to New York.
"I'm not going to go into too much detail, but it's an important meeting," Broncos
coach John Fox said with a smile on Monday.
The Broncos have at least a few people around who have been to the Super Bowl,
including Manning, Wes Welker and even John Elway, the team's vice president of
football operations. None of the Seahawks players have ever played in a Super
Bowl. Fox, who coached in a Super Bowl with Carolina, asked those players who
have been there (including Elway) to give the players who haven't been some tips.
"I think that's a good thing that Coach Fox set that up to help some guys have an
idea what they're getting into," Manning said.
Not only did Eli Manning help his brother out with ticket requests, he defended his
honor against anyone who thinks that this Super Bowl will define his legacy.
Eli Manning doesn't think the result of Super Bowl XLVIII will have any effect on
Peyton's legacy: "I think ...
— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoNYDN) January 23, 2014
Peyton seemed appreciative of his brother's support but didn't get into that specific
storyline on Thursday.
"Eli pulls for me and I pull for him," Peyton Manning said. "It's been neat having the
relationship with him, both having the same job these past 10-something years.
There's a lot we can relate to, situations we both face."
Super Bowl XLVIII: Broncos focused in
calm before storm
The SportsXchange/Yahoo! Sports
January 23, 2014
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- For the moment, the Denver Broncos can convince
themselves that it's business as usual. They reconvened for practice Thursday after
two days off, days that players mostly spent working on the logistics of getting
family and close friends to New Jersey, dispersing tickets and ensuring all wants
were met.
"We're treating this like it's a work week for us," said running back Montee Ball.
"We got some great work out there (Thursday). We were physical. We did some
great things out there. It's time to really, really start cracking down, and narrowing
down to our ultimate focus."
By next week, that might change a bit, as the Broncos take their turn under the
blinding spotlight. It promises to be a bit harsher than for a usual Super Bowl,
given that it will be played just a long pass from the media capital of the western
But for now, and the practices on Friday and Saturday before departing on Sunday,
the Broncos' focus is within.
"We're mostly working on ourselves, getting that fine tuning down, getting our
timing down and continuing to get better on offense," said wide receiver Andre
Caldwell. "You also get to see some of the things that they did well throughout the
season, what to expect and know their personnel, as well."
That inward focus has also led to the few players and coaches with Super Bowl
experience counseling everyone else on the experience. Broncos head coach John
Fox was there with the Carolina Panthers 10 years ago, but just four players have
first-hand knowledge of the Super Bowl: Peyton Manning, Wes Welker, Jacob
Tamme and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
Like Fox, all have lost a Super Bowl at least once, an experience that permeates the
primary piece of advice: don't be satisfied by just getting there.
"They said, 'It's a great feeling being there, but the times they lost, it was
miserable,' just because you went through all that work," said Ball. "That's our
mindset: we're there for business, we're there to work, we're there to come back
with the trophy."
That's part of the reason why the Broncos took the two days at midweek to settle
the logistical and transportation matters. Some had to handle such details
themselves. Others had family step in.
Defensive tackle Terrance Knighton didn't even have to ask anyone for help; his
mother simply told him she'd take care of everything.
"That's exactly what she said: 'I got it,'" Knighton said. "She knew it was coming
and she has always been that way. She is overprotective of us. I'm the oldest of
four boys and I'm a mama's boy. She can just look at me and know I need her
help. So, she definitely took the onus on herself to handle it."
Knighton's family is centered in Windsor, Conn., just 125 miles northeast of MetLife
Stadium, so the requests for tickets were going to be immense.
"A lot of requests, but the good thing is that my mom is my 'no' person. Once you
tell people, 'My mom is handling all the ticket stuff,' they don't even ask. They don't
even want to ask her," he said. "They try to put my back against the wall and ask
me, 'Remember that time I did this; remember that time I did that?' I'm just like,
'Yeah, my mom is handling it.' They just stop asking after that."
And that leaves the focus on the Seahawks, which is exactly where Knighton and
his teammates want it.
-- DT Mitch Unrein was held out of Thursday's practice because of a knee injury
sustained in the AFC Championship Game. Unrein was on hand to take mental
repetitions, standing near the defensive linemen as they went through their drills.
-- RB Knowshon Moreno was limited in practice Thursday after suffering a rib injury
in the AFC Championship Game. X-rays on Moreno's ribs were negative, and while
he is considered "day-to-day," he is expected to play against the Seahawks.
-- DT Terrance Knighton was listed on the injury report with a knee injury, but had
a full practice of work Thursday. Knighton was the Broncos' dominant defensive
player in the AFC Championship Game, finishing with a fourth-down sack and two
tackles for losses.
-- K Matt Prater was held out of Thursday's practice because of an illness. He is
expected to return later this week.
-- S Rahim Moore is eligible to return from recallable injured reserve, but has not
practiced since suffering compartment syndrome in his leg on Nov. 18, hours after
the Week 11 win over Kansas City.
Super Bowl XLVIII: Manning embraces
The SportsXchange/Yahoo! Sports
January 23, 2014
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Peyton Manning, master of preparation, plans for every
With gloved hands and compression headgear, the record-setting quarterback led
the Denver Broncos back to the practice field for the first time since winning the
AFC Championship game Sunday. The afternoon practice was a welcome trial for
handling game conditions in East Rutherford, N.J.
Manning is 0-4 all-time in postseason games with a temperature of 40 degrees or
below at kickoff.
"Anytime you can have somewhat of a situation you can simulate during practice
that you might see in a game, it's always a good thing," Manning said.
While Manning's relaxed, been-there-done-that attitude was clear, there is a
novelty factor for the Seattle Seahawks, who are the first Super Bowl team since
the 1990 Buffalo Bills with no previous experience in the game on their roster.
Pro Bowl safety Kam Chancellor said Thursday that his teammates are still riding
high after winning the NFC Championship in the final minute against West division
rival San Francisco. He said the Seahawks, who allowed 14.4 points and 172
passing yards per game, understand how Manning wants to attack their tall, rangy
and hard-hitting defensive backs.
"We just want to play good defense, play our coverage," Chancellor said, adding
that the Seahawks are being schooled not to listen or react to Manning's many
vacillations at the line of scrimmage. He doesn't even care what "Omaha" means.
Manning, who turns 38 in March, is not taking his third chance at a title for granted.
Getting to the Super Bowl is nothing to sneeze at, no matter the venue.
"It's always special, no matter where it's played," Manning said. "I think the fact
that it's in New York, it's certainly going to be special. It's a big deal, because we've
worked so hard to get to this point. Two teams that have worked so hard, laid it on
the line all season long. This is why you work so hard all offseason long. There is no
question it's a big deal."
Manning won't be surprised if snow, sleet and subzero temps enter the forecast
next week during the Broncos' gameweek preparation for Super Bowl XLVIII. He is
diligently taking notes in his own scouting of the No. 1-ranked Seahawks defense.
"Still kind of going through the preparation, still trying to get to know them at this
point," Manning said. "From what I've seen so far, excellent defense. There's a lot
to study."
Manning is leaving one thing to chance. He asked little brother Eli to help field
requests and distribute tickets to friends and family planning to be at MetLife
Stadium on Feb. 2.
"You try to help out anyone you can," Manning said. "I've been helpful to him and
he's been helpful to me the last two that I've played in. ... I always appreciate my
brother. Eli pulls for me, and I pull for him. It's been neat having the relationship
with him, both having the same job for the last 10-something years. A lot we can
relate to, situations we both face. Quarterbacks naturally share their unique
Peyton Manning is the only player in this year's Super Bowl with a championship
"Coach (John) Fox has had some guys that have some experience share any
thoughts or tips," Manning said. "I think that's a good thing to set that up, tell the
young guys kind of what they're getting into."
What’s the Point?
January 23, 2014
Earlier this week, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the league would consider
eliminating the extra point in favor of a revised scoring system. Peter King believes
this is long overdue and advocates a change. Robert Klemko disagrees and thinks
it’d be a knee-jerk decision to abolish the PAT. Their arguments are below.
I was wrong this week. I wrote the extra point is the biggest waste of time in
American sport. Actually, the intentional walk is worse. But that’s it. That’s the only
thing worse than the 45 seconds of clock between the touchdown and the TV
timeout that was wasted five times per game in the 2013 NFL season on a play that
has become the most automatic thing about football. That’s three and a half
minutes in every game, wasted.
Why I think the PAT should be re-invented immediately:
1. Kickers have made it too automatic. In the past three years, kickers have missed
five, six and seven extra points, respectively. That’s 18 misses out of 3,709 tries—a
99.5 percent accuracy rate. Out of every 200 extra points, one is missed.
2. I do love football tradition. I’m the guy, remember, who wrote a pro football
history book back in the nineties and got ripped for having Don Hutson and Otto
Graham 1-2 on the list of greatest players of all time. You can have a respect for
tradition and still know when change is logical. And right now, change is overdue on
the PAT.
3. Recall the last time an extra point was exciting, or even remotely interesting. I
When the current iteration of football scoring was last changed significantly, in
1912, the touchdown was valued at six points and the “try,” or point after
touchdown, one. In those days, the kicker was a rank amateur compared to
everyone else on the field, and the PAT was always in doubt at different levels of
football. When the NFL was invented in 1920, this line of scoring was adopted: six
for a touchdown, one for the extra point.
So the PAT has been alive in its its current form for 102 years. Are we sentenced to
live with it forever? Can we not change a rule that clearly has outlived its
Or, put another way: If you were inventing the sport of football today, and you
were putting a scoring system into play, would you adopt a rule for scoring that
was 99.5% efficient? Would you adopt a rule for a highly competitive game that
was absolutely uncompetitive?
I raised this point about Stephen Gostkowski this week in The Season. Gostkowski
has made 360 straight PATs, dating back to the final game of his rookie season, in
2006. He last missed four months before the Patriots traded for Randy Moss. Seven
years ago. In that time, four-and-a-half hours of Patriots football has been played
with Gostkowski attempting and making extra points (360 times 45 seconds per
PAT try). What a waste.
So, what should the NFL do? I’m not in favor of what Roger Goodell suggested to
Rich Eisen this week, that every touchdown be awarded seven points, and if you
choose to go for two and make it, you finish with eight points—but if you miss, you
only get six. That’s penalizing a team for trying a potentially exciting play, the twopoint conversion. What I’d do:
1. Make every touchdown worth six points.
2. Give teams a choice on the conversion. The one-point conversion would be a
kick. The two-point conversion would be from the 2-yard line, where it currently is,
run as it currently is when teams choose to go for two after a touchdown.
3. But the PAT would be moved back. I am open to any number of suggestions
here. My preference would be a true challenge. Say the average spot of a missed
field goal in 2013 is from 44 yards out. In 2014, then, the spot for the extra point
would be the 27-yard line, necessitating a 44-yard kick to convert the extra point.
But I am flexible here. Anything with the ball spotted at the 25 or farther would be
okay with me. I just want to make the kick non-automatic.
I don’t want to fiddle with the tradition of the game. I love tradition. I wish there
would be more mud bowls and Charger powder-blues and crew-cutted tight ends. I
do not advocate change for change’s sake. But the extra point just doesn’t make
sense anymore. It’s not going to ruin the game to change it, the same way
changing the kickoff spot by five yards didn’t lessen the greatness of the game.
I’ve heard scores of suggestions, many of them smart and good, about the PAT on
Twitter in the past day or so. It’s good to discuss the merits of the game you all
love so much. All I ask, again, is this: If you were inventing a competitive sport like
football all over again, would you include a play that is the most automatic in
Peter, I agree with you.
Extra points are gimmes, and the game would be immediately improved by
narrowing the goal post, setting the kicks at an angle, moving back the extra point
or eliminating it all together.
It’s a non-play, and it’s unnecessary in today’s NFL. Even former Jets special teams
coach Mike Westhoff grudgingly agrees.
“I don’t like eliminating more special teams plays, and the declining importance of
special teams is why I’ve turned down offers to go back to the NFL,” Westhoff told
me, “but if I were a head coach, I would not be opposed if they made that change.
The kick doesn’t matter anymore.”
It’s a fine and obvious point, but it doesn’t take into account the long view. There
are many precedents in football which illustrate why reactionary, knee-jerk rule
changes are never the way to go.
Here’s my favorite:
By 1940, the center-QB exchange had evolved from the center kicking the ball back
with his heel, to rolling the ball on the ground back to the quarterback with one
hand, to an elevated snap invented by John Heisman. In 1893 as coach of Buchtel
College, Heisman taught his center to snap the ball in the air to accommodate his
very tall quarterback of the time. Then, in 1940, Bears coach George Halas had an
idea, which for all intents and purposes killed Heisman’s gun. His center snapped
the ball to the quarterback standing directly behind him, and in the NFL
Championship that year the Bears put up 73 points on Washington, rushing for 381
yards and passing for 138. This would be the way football was played for as long as
anybody could foresee.
And what might the NFL look like now if the decision-makers of yesteryear looked
at their sport the same way those who would change the extra point today see
things? Undoubtedly, they would have deemed the QB-center exchange too easy.
By the late-1950s, with 20 years of 99% execution, what would have been the
point of a snap? Why not just scrap the formalities and let the quarterback start
with the ball in his hands? It would have sped up the game, and probably saved the
necks of more than a few centers.
And if they had gone ahead and killed the snap, the consequences would have been
Niners coach Red Hickey never would have introduced the modern shotgun in
November of 1960 as a way of escaping a scary Colts pass rush. Tom Landry never
would have improved on it with Dallas in the ’70s, despite being mocked endlessly
by a football community still stuck under center. We would know nothing of
countless schematic innovations which led to the offenses of Peyton Manning and
Russell Wilson, who thrive in diverse, shotgun-heavy attacks, borne of the patience
of men who recognized decades ago that football strategy was in its infancy.
Suppose we take the same long view on extra points?
During the 2013 regular season, a little under half of the 69 two-point conversion
attempts were successful, and in 2012, exactly half worked. When it was tried, it
was always late in a game—only three times did teams go for two in the first half of
games this season. Going for two points is a big risk when the average team scores
23.4 per game. Plus or minus two points constituted an even bigger risk in 1999,
when the average team scored 20.8 per game.
It stands to reason the two-point conversion will become more and more enticing
as rule changes such as the defenseless receiver rule and the constantly evolving
safety bubble around the quarterback raise scoring every year. When Chip Kelly’s
offense at Oregon was scoring 50 points a game, he occasionally went for two in
the first quarter, because why not? If your offense is above average, and the
average offense converts 50% of the time, odds are your risk is going to be
And if it isn’t? Two points is still a drop in the bucket when you’re scoring 50 points
per game. Plus, as a safeguard, Kelly would often line up in a gadget formation,
and revert to a kicking formation if the defensive front wasn’t conducive to the
“I do think that offenses will go for two more as scoring rises, and that really does
make the extra point situation more crucial,” Westhoff said. “The problem is,
coaches are still stuck in the old thing a little bit. They ignore the odds and play it
If the NFL were to continue on its path to higher and higher scoring, one can
assume coaches will eventually take Kelly’s college strategies to heart. And such
operations would be impossible if the NFL did something short-sighted like, say,
eliminate the extra point, or ask teams to declare whether they’re going for one or
two after a touchdown, which would have to be the case in the event of the extra
point kick being pushed back.
I proposed this theory to Westhoff, who agreed.
“I like it. I do think that offenses will go for two more as scoring rises, and that
really does make the extra point situation more crucial,” he said, “The problem is,
coaches are still stuck in the old thing a little bit. They ignore the odds and play it
Indeed, instead of coaches attempting more conversions as NFL scoring rose at the
turn of the century, they attempted fewer. Those brave ’99ers called for 80 twopoint conversions that season, 11 more than NFL teams attempted in 2013. No
doubt, this is evidence of the NFL’s group-think malady, which holds that
widespread innovation is preceded by a lone boatsman riding against the current. It
will take a maverick—a Heisman or a Hickey or a Landry—to buck the NFL trend
and make the extra point an exciting proposition once again.
Until then, let’s be patient.
Peyton Manning, Eli bring brotherly bond
to Super Bowl week
By Judy Battista
January 23, 2014
The Mannings have developed an extraordinary family routine for Super Bowls, in
that any family that actually has the need for a routine surrounding the Super Bowl
is extraordinary.
Two years ago, when the New York Giants were preparing to face the New
England Patriots in Indianapolis for Super Bowl XLVI, Peyton Manning played the
delighted host, submerging his own concerns about his injured neck and his
fraying relationship with the Colts to become a ticket procurer and restaurantreservation purveyor for his brother. This week, with the Denver Broncos getting
ready to take on the Seattle Seahawks in East Rutherford, N.J., for Super Bowl
XLVIII, it is Eli's turn. In the moments after Denver secured its spot in the game
last Sunday, Eli stood beside Peyton in the Broncos' locker room, warning that
Super Bowl week is chaos, a reminder that Peyton surely did not need.
The routine was reestablished. Whichever brother is not in the game is in charge of
removing as many of the ancillary concerns as possible from the one playing. And
so this week, Peyton and Eli have traded text messages, Peyton telling Eli the
number of tickets he would need -- a number that, Eli said Thursday, he has hit,
scrounging them up mostly from teammates.
"He was very helpful in dealing with family and friends and taking that burden off
me," Eli said on Thursday. "We've learned in playing a few of these. You try to get
all that stuff done this week."
They've played in a few of these, all right. Counting the upcoming game, the
Manning brothers will have appeared in a total of five Super Bowls -- three for
Peyton, two for Eli, with Eli holding, for at least 10 more days, the edge in victories.
Until Peyton's injury and subsequent wrenching departure from Indianapolis, the
Mannings had remarkably parallel careers, enjoying an uncommon stability that
Peyton, two years ago, was convinced was the reason for their shared success: The
brothers had had little coaching turnover to wade through, with each enjoying an
uninterrupted run with a key coach (Tom Moore for Peyton, Kevin Gilbride for Eli) to
that point in their careers.
All of that has changed now. After a disastrous Giants season, Eli is preparing for a
new offense installed by recently hired offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo. And
Peyton, two years removed from extolling the virtues of working only with Moore, is
prepping for the big game with his second team.
If there has been envy from Peyton over Eli's Super Bowl success -- which is often
used to underscore Peyton's own mixed postseason record -- it is not apparent. The
brothers, separated in age by five years, have grown closer as adults because of
their shared career, and they are strikingly noncompetitive with each other. They
have dreaded the occasional games over the years in which their teams have faced
Two years ago, Peyton was so concerned about karma that, after watching the
Giants win their wild-card game while lifting weights at the Colts' facility, he
returned there for the divisional round. When the Giants won that, Peyton was
afraid to tell his little brother that he would not return to Indy's weight room for the
NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers, so instead he essentially
snuck into Candlestick Park, making his own travel and ticket arrangements.
Peyton no longer watches Eli's games on television after -- years ago -- finding
himself standing on a hotel bed, screaming at the television after a referee's blown
call, all hours before his own game even kicked off.
"I'd feel like I'd already played a game and I hadn't even gotten to our locker room
yet," Peyton said just before that Giants Super Bowl for a story in The New York
Times. "I'm thinking, 'Peyton, it is not healthy to be all worked up before a game.' "
Eli said that he usually watches games with no rooting interest and he does not get
nervous before he plays in his own games. But on Thursday, Eli said watching
Peyton play is nerve-racking, adding that he's not envious of his brother -- though
he finds his own sense of ambition stoked a bit.
"I am proud of Peyton, and if I'm not going to be playing the game, he's who I'd
want to be playing," Eli said. "And so I think going to a championship game like
last week and kind of just being in that excitement and seeing the crowd and
seeing the coaches after that game, it definitely adds a little fire under you to get
back to that scenario. You miss that and, having been there before and knowing
that feeling, you get jealous of that feeling and that excitement and everything
going along with it."
Not that the brothers watch games the way normal people do, anyway. Peyton,
perhaps the greatest student of the game ever to play, usually watches the
defense, and because he missed the entire 2011 season, he was able to offer Eli
some tips on what he had seen going into that NFC title match in San Francisco -discussing, it turned out, the defense the 49ers ended up running on Eli's
touchdown pass to Mario Manningham in the fourth quarter.
The sharing of scouting reports, too, is part of the routine. The Giants played the
Seahawks this year, a 23-0 home loss Eli would probably sooner forget -- except
for the insight gained that he now plans to lend Peyton. And, of course, nobody
knows the vagaries of how the notoriously swirling winds of the Meadowlands -- not
as bad as in the old Giants Stadium, Eli said -- could affect playing conditions at
MetLife Stadium like Eli does.
"I might have a few things for him, but I don't want to reveal that because I don't
want to give that to Russell Wilson," Eli said. "Any tips, wind-wise, I will tell him in
It was in a private throwing session back in New Orleans almost three years ago,
when Peyton was at his lowest physical state, before the surgeries led to the faded
scar that now maps his remarkable return, that Eli told Peyton he could see that he
could not complete his throwing motion. That was before it became obvious that
Peyton would have to leave Indianapolis, before Eli won his second Super Bowl -- in
a stadium that sported a towering picture of his brother on its façade. Only a few
weeks after Eli's triumph, with Peyton celebrating beside him, that picture came
down for good when his brother was released, setting in motion Peyton's stunning
return to the top of the game.
Much has been made of how capturing a Super Bowl championship with a second
team would enhance Peyton's legacy. That hardly seems necessary, in a family so
used to success that it has a well-worn plan for how to manage it.
"I think Peyton's already created his own legacy," Eli said. "He's played at a very
high level for a long period of time, and he's overcome injuries and obviously set
numerous records and been on a lot of playoff teams, playing in his third Super
Bowl. I don't think that's something that he's worried about. There will always be
arguments about who is the greatest, or who is the best. I think if you're in that
argument, if you're one of the names thrown around in there, I think you've
already created a pretty good legacy."
Knowshon Moreno practices again for
Denver Broncos
By Marc Sessler
January 23, 2014
Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno practiced for the second straight day
Thursday, all but ensuring his availability for Denver's showdown with the Seattle
Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Coach John Fox told reporters that Moreno was a limited participant after missing
the final handful of possessions against the Patriots in Sunday's AFC Championship
Game with a rib injury.
The Broncos use more than one runner, but Moreno is the closest thing Denver has
to a foundation back after leading the team with 241 carries for 1,038 yards this
season. Rookie Montee Ball has seen an increased workload of late, with doubledigit carries in five of his last seven games and 22 rushes for 95 yards in two
playoff wins.
Denver's ground game played a key role against New England, converting third
downs and helping to chew the clock. That might be more important than ever
against Seattle's historically nasty pass defense.
Also for the Broncos, kicker Matt Prater was dismissed Thursday because of illness
and defensive tackle Mitch Unrein missed the session with a knee injury.
Peyton Manning only Super Bowl
participant with ring
By Gregg Rosenthal
January 23, 2014
Peyton Manning takes too much criticism for having "just" one Super Bowl title.
Compared to the rest of the participants in Super Bowl XLVIII, he might as well be
Terry Bradshaw.
Manning is the only player on either roster who has won a Super Bowl. Three other
Denver Broncos have been to the game without winning, while no Seattle Seahawk
even has made it to the title game.
This fact is as rare as it sounds. The Seahawks are the first team since the 1990
Buffalo Bills to have an entire team without any experience. This Super Bowl has
the fewest players with previous experience than any championship since 1982. It's
one of the reasons we love this matchup.
"I think there are enough young players in that locker room that can get some
information from guys that have been through it before," Broncos coach John Fox
said via The Denver Post. "There are a lot of things you deal with during these two
Wes Welker has lost the game twice, while Broncos tight end Jacob Tamme and
cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie have lost in the game once.
Super Bowl experience and handling the "distractions" of the week always feels like
an overrated angle anyway. Experienced teams win in some years, and teams fresh
to the spotlight win other times.
These have been the best two teams in the NFL all season. Throw a bunch of brand
new Super Bowl participants in a cold-weather stadium, and Super Bowl XLVIII will
feel fresh.
Jim Irsay 'excited' for Denver Broncos'
Peyton Manning
By Dan Hanzus
January 23, 2014
Jim Irsay and Peyton Manning have gone from business partners to
competitors. That hasn't changed how the Indianapolis Colts owner feels
about the quarterback, who is set to appear in his first Super Bowl with the
Denver Broncos.
"I just couldn't be more excited," Irsay told The Indianapolis Star on
Wednesday. "This is what we were hoping it was going to be -- a win-win
situation for everybody. I'm so happy for him. We've already talked this
week about getting him some extra (Super Bowl) tickets and I told him,
'You've got it, buddy. Go get 'em. Go win it.' I wish him all the best.
"I couldn't be happier because he will forever be a Colt and a part of so
many years of greatness here. I'm just really rooting for him to get that
second ring. That would be awesome."
Irsay is choosing his words carefully after comments about Manning back in
October became fodder for a week of (ridiculous) debate ahead of the Colts'
Week 7 win over the Broncos.
That said, Irsay also made sure to point out Wednesday he still believes
Indianapolis made the right move to release Manning and draft Andrew Luck
in 2012.
"And we're obviously on track; actually we're past where we thought we
would be with Andrew," he said. "If Peyton had stayed, it would have been a
joke with what we could have been able to field in 2012. It would have been
crazy to think we could have put a team together with Peyton."
"It was just an impossibility. Now we have the perfect situation, where we're
way ahead of schedule and Andrew is achieving things beyond our wildest
expectations, and Peyton has a chance to get that second Super Bowl ring.
It's been a win-win and that's what we were hoping for."
We'd say Irsay is using spin to avoid the reality that he let the greatest
quarterback ever walk out the door. But he's right. Everybody won here. If
only life always worked out this smoothly.
Jimmy Graham leads top 25 NFL free
agents for 2014
By Chris Wesseling
January 23, 2014
With just two more football Sundays left in the current season, the Around The
League crew is taking its first glance at the 2014 NFL free-agent market.
It's early in the offseason process. Franchise tags have yet to be discussed. There's
still time for clubs to lock up young stars to long-term contracts. Many of these
names will be removed from consideration by the time we compile our more
extensive previews regarding upcoming NFL free agents in early March.
Our list places the highest value on ascendent players with little or no reason to
expect a dropoff in production over the next few years.
To view the upcoming free agents by team, position and restricted free agents, click
the tabs above.
Without further ado, here are Around The League's top 25 NFL free agents for
1. Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints tight end
2. Greg Hardy, Carolina Panthers defensive end
3. Brian Orakpo, Washington Redskins linebacker
4. Jairus Byrd, Buffalo Bills safety
5. T.J. Ward, Cleveland Browns safety
6. Alterraun Verner, Tennessee Titans cornerback
7. Branden Albert, Kansas City Chiefs left tackle
8. Michael Johnson, Cincinnati Bengals defensive end
9. Lamarr Houston, Oakland Raiders defensive end
10. Brent Grimes, Miami Dolphins cornerback
11. Eugene Monroe, Baltimore Ravens left tackle
12. Vontae Davis, Indianapolis Colts cornerback
13. Linval Joseph, New York Giants defensive tackle
14. Jason Hatcher, Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle
15. Jared Veldheer, Oakland Raiders left tackle
16. Aqib Talib, New England Patriots cornerback
17. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Denver Broncos cornerback
18. Alex Mack, Cleveland Browns center
19. Eric Decker, Denver Broncos wide receiver
20. Michael Bennett, Seattle Seahawks defensive end
21. B.J. Raji, Green Bay Packers defensive tackle
22. Sam Shields, Green Bay Packers cornerback
23. Walter Thurmond, Seattle Seahawks cornerback
24. Donald Butler, San Diego Chargers linebacker
25. Randy Starks, Miami Dolphins defensive tackle
Cooper Manning is a part of it, too
By Bob Glauber
January 24, 2014
One by one, they came to his locker in the back corner of the room and embraced
him. First it was Archie Manning giving his son a hug. Then baby brother Eli, who
paid a surprise visit to Peyton's AFC Championship Game matchup against the
Patriots last Sunday. And then there was big brother Cooper, wrapping his arms
around his younger brother and offering his heartfelt congratulations.
Archie Manning and his three boys, joined together by football again, now have a
chance to enjoy a fourth Super Bowl victory for the first family of quarterbacks.
This was a jubilant scene as they celebrated the Broncos' 26-16 win over the
Patriots, a victory that earned Peyton a chance to win his second Super Bowl title
and add another piece of brilliance to his Hall of Fame career.
The smiles of all four men were genuine. Especially Cooper, who never has gotten a
chance to celebrate an NFL victory of his own. At least not on the field.
Had things worked out differently, Cooper might have been able to join his brothers
in celebrating a Super Bowl championship of his own. An all-state receiver in
Louisiana, Cooper had a breakout year as a senior at Isidore Newman School in
New Orleans, catching passes from Peyton and earning a scholarship to the
University of Mississippi, his father's alma mater and Eli's eventual college choice.
But when he began to feel some tingling in his fingers the summer before his
freshman year at Ole Miss, he went to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota to get checked
The diagnosis was crushing: He had a condition called spinal stenosis -- a
narrowing of the spinal canal -- and had to stop playing football altogether or risk
permanent damage.
His younger brothers went on to become NFL champions, something Cooper never
could experience. But he is content to live vicariously through his brothers, never
complaining about his situation. If you saw him Sunday evening in the Broncos'
locker room, you knew he was simply happy for his brother, not envious.
"This is my sixth [conference] championship to be involved in, and it's always a lot
better to have another week to ride,'' said Cooper, who lives in New Orleans with
his wife and three children. He works as an energy broker for the firm Howard Weil,
which has offices in New Orleans and Houston. "It's fun to be included.''
And yes, Cooper is included in both his brothers' lives. They wouldn't have it any
other way.
Cooper has a tradition of texting some words of wisdom to Peyton before a game,
knowing he won't get a response.
"He ignores me on a consistent basis, and it turns out OK,'' Cooper cracked.
And what was Cooper's pregame message? To go back in time to when the boys
played football at their home in New Orleans.
"I just told him, 'Hey, you've come this far, so go ahead and continue to be like a
10-year-old playing in the front yard and have fun with it,' '' he said. "And that's
what it looked like to me out there.''
Peyton threw for 400 yards and two touchdowns in the 26-16 win over the Patriots,
his second AFC Championship Game win over Tom Brady's team.
"Peyton still has a young-kid-in-the-front-yard attitude about football,'' Cooper said.
"I think people that love football, that's the way they are. That's the way he is.''
Cooper is delighted for his brother and insists that he doesn't look back with a
shred of regret regarding his own situation. Even if it meant he couldn't experience
the thrill of what it's like to win in the NFL.
"I don't ever spend a lot of time reflecting on it,'' he said. "I don't look back in the
rearview mirror. I just kind of enjoy the process, glad to be included and soak it up.
It's a thrill to me. It's fun to me.''
Along the way, Cooper taught his father a life lesson.
"We all feel like we're a part of this, especially Coop,'' Archie Manning said. "Peyton
and Eli make Cooper feel a part of it. It's kind of a family thing. Early on, he
handled it. Cooper has got a great spirit, so his spirit has helped us. He was good
with it, and he helped us get through it.''
No regrets for the Manning who can never win his own Super Bowl. Celebrating his
brothers' championships is his way of winning.
Legion of Boom hype doesn't upset
Broncos' defense
By Kimberley A. Martin
January 23, 2014
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. - The Broncos are the first ones to give credit where credit is
due. But don't think their defense hasn't heard all the talk about the Seahawks'
formidable defensive front and ballhawking secondary.
When it comes to Denver's defense, only one sound comes to mind: crickets.
"Nah, nobody's talking about us,'' cornerback Quentin Jammer said Thursday.
"Nobody's been talking about us all year. I don't know [why].''
Jammer, like many of his teammates, saluted the Seahawks for having the NFL's
No. 1 defense.
Defensive tackle Orlando Franklin said of Seattle: "They definitely deserve all the
credit they have been getting. They have done a lot of great things this season.''
Jammer said Seattle's Earl Thomas "probably was the best safety in the league this
Broncos defensive players admitted they didn't play up to their standards for much
of the season and often were bailed out by the league's No. 1 offense. But the unit
is jelling at the right time, especially the secondary, said cornerback Tony Carter.
Their preparation and communication on the back end is much improved, which has
helped them get off the field on third down more often.
So while talk of the "Legion of Boom,'' Seattle's secondary, dominates the hype,
Denver defenders say they're content in their own skins.
"We don't care about that,'' linebacker Nate Irving said. "We [know] who we are
and what we have to do and that's what we're focused on.''
Defensive tackle Terrance Knighton agreed. "They can have the attention. Our
focus is on winning,'' he said. "With team success comes personal success, as long
as we do what we're supposed to do and shut them down and allow our offense to
go out there and do what it is supposed to do.''
Eli Manning proud of, jealous of, nervous
for Peyton Manning at Super Bowl XLVIII
By Tom Rock
January 23, 2014
RENTON, Wash. - Eli Manning pictured himself playing in Super Bowl XLVIII, not
being the official ticket wrangler for another starting quarterback.
But pressed into such action by his brother Peyton, taking that burden off the
Broncos' starting quarterback so he can focus on football schemes and not family
seating arrangements, Eli Manning is proud of the work he's done. After a season of
disappointments and missed goals, the Giants quarterback seemed pleased that he
has been able to reach this one final benchmark of the 2013 season.
"He's asked for a number for me to try to get," Eli said, "and I hit that number.
Unless he has a few surprises, I'm in good shape right now."
For the third time in his life, Eli will watch his older brother play in a game he
himself desperately wishes he could be a part of. And this time he'll do so from the
stands of his own building, MetLife Stadium, when the Broncos play the Seahawks
on Feb. 2.
"I am proud of Peyton,'' he said, "and if I'm not going to be playing in the game,
he's the one I'd like to be playing in it."
Still, he admitted to a hint of envy while riding in the sidecar of Peyton's motorcade
toward a championship.
"Going through a championship game like last week and seeing that excitement and
seeing the crowd . . . it definitely lights a little fire under you to get back to that
scenario," Eli said. "You miss that. Having been there before and knowing that
feeling, you do get jealous of that feeling and that excitement that goes along with
it. But that was probably [being] more jealous of that atmosphere. It makes you
want to get back to that situation, get back to working and get your mind doing
whatever I have to do to get the Giants back to the championship games and get
back to Super Bowls."
That won't stop him from doing anything he can to help the Broncos. Besides the
ticket brokering, Eli likely will share some advice on facing the Seahawks -- he and
the Giants faced them last month in a 23-0 loss -- and playing at MetLife Stadium.
He said he has some tips on dealing with the notorious wind but will not share them
publicly for fear that Russell Wilson might pick up on them.
The brothers expect to spend some time together early next week when the
Broncos arrive in New Jersey, but by midweek, Peyton will turn his attention to
winning a second Super Bowl. If he does, it could cement his legacy as the greatest
quarterback of all time, but Eli said Peyton isn't focused on that.
"I think Peyton, he's already created his own legacy," Eli said. "There will always be
arguments about who is the greatest and who is the best. I think if you're in that
argument, if you're one of the names thrown around in there, I think you've
already created a pretty good legacy."
Eli said he obviously is rooting hard for the Broncos but declined to give a prediction
or guess on the final score. One thing he did seem sure of, though, is that watching
Super Bowl XLVIII will be more of a strain on him than playing in it.
"I don't get nervous in football games," he said. "I get nervous watching my
brother play."
Eli excited about new 'O.'For the first time since he was a rookie, Eli Manning will
have to learn a new offense. "In a way, it will be exciting,'' he said of having a new
offensive coordinator, Ben McAdoo, for the 2014 season. "You have to come in and
you have to learn some new things. Obviously, what the changes will be -- if it will
be completely changed with the terminology and formations or if we'll keep some of
those things and bring in all of his concepts -- I don't know if the coaches have all
figured that out yet as well.''
Manning spoke with McAdoo via phone before he was hired.
"I was very impressed with him and his offensive mindset,'' Manning said. "I'm
excited about what he'll bring to the Giants. I look forward to getting into some
meetings, getting with him and seeing what I need to do better and how I can
Peyton keeps his team focused in long
run-up to Bowl
By Steve Serby
New York Post
January 23, 2014
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Peyton Manning stood under a warm sun, his game face
already on 10 days before what could be the crowning moment of his Hall of Fame
football life at MetLife Stadium.
The press conference lasted a mere 6¹/₂ minutes, undoubtedly on his orders,
because there is no time to waste, not now, not two months from his 38th birthday,
not with Richard Sherman and the Seahawks standing between him and that
treasured Lombardi Trophy.
He had warned his teammates about the media locusts that will ambush them
Sunday upon the Broncos’ arrival, then grabbed his team by the throat with his
field general command and showed them up close and personal how you go about
trying to win a Super Bowl. A game he lost IV years ago. A game he has won only
once, VIII long years ago.
“He’s so passionate about the game, the way he’s out there, you’d think it was
game day tomorrow,” receiver Andre Caldwell said.
“He keeps his game face on when he’s out there on the field, he’s always ready to
go, so it’s no different from Week 1.”
Even in the meeting rooms, the legendary Manning laser focus was on full display.
“He demanded things on the practice field that the starting quarterback should
demand, and he led the offense through a Wednesday — I know it’s Thursday —
but a Wednesday practice like it should be. I thought he was his normal self, he
showed up … and went to work today,” backup quarterback Brock Osweiler said.
Manning gave the impression he had spent the past two off days browsing the
marijuana joints around town. Talk about blowing smoke!
“Still kind of going through the preparation,” Manning said, “still trying to get to
know ’em at this point, but from what I’ve seen so far it’s certainly an excellent
If anyone can detail the horrors of the Seahawks defense to him, it is kid brother
Eli, and naturally, Peyton plans on picking his brain.
“Give him two weeks to prepare for a team, you know he’s going to know
everything about the other team, and he’s not going to be fooled,” Caldwell said.
Manning was tight-lipped when asked what his message to his teammates had been
about what to expect once they arrive in New York-New Jersey.
“What I told ’em was probably what I told them in the team meeting, and probably
not to tell at the press conference,” Manning said.
In other words, none of your business!
“The main thing was don’t try to change your routine … do the same thing you did
throughout the season,” receiver Demaryius Thomas said.
“We’re not there to party. When you’re not playing in the Super Bowl, you’re there
to party,” linebacker Shaun Phillips said. “When you’re playing in the Super Bowl,
it’s a business trip, and that’s the main thing that we talked about.
“He just said, ‘Enjoy it. But you’ll be much more happier winning the game as
opposed to losing the game. Losing the game, you’re the ultimate low. When you
win the game you’re the ultimate high.’ ”
“Just because it’s a Super Bowl, it’s still a football game,” Caldwell said.
It’s a football game Manning wondered if he’d ever get back to following four neck
fusion surgeries. Eye on the prize already.
“Some of those Indianapolis teams that he was on, they weren’t the most talented
teams, but Peyton just does a hell of a job of making everybody around him
better,” Phillips said, “because he makes sure he prepares not only for himself but
for the guy next to him.”
Phillips, asked if he was tired of hearing about how good the Seahawks defense is,
said: “No, no, no. We enjoy hearing about how good their defense is. Less pressure
for us, more pressure for them. Which is OK, it’s going to come down to a defensive
game, most Super Bowls do, so we’re looking forward to it.”
No one more than the quarterback.
“The Super Bowl is always special, no matter where it is played,” Manning said. “For
a lot of our players, it is their first time playing in one. So I think the fact that it is
in New York is certainly going to be special, but it is a big deal because we worked
so hard to get to this point. Two teams that have worked hard and have really laid
it on the line all season long to be here. This is why you work hard all offseason —
for this opportunity. There is no question it is a big deal and it is very special to be
playing in this game.”
With Brother in Big Game, Eli Manning
Plays Concierge
By Bill Pennington
New York Times
January 23, 2014
What do two N.F.L. quarterbacks who happen to be brothers talk about when one of
them is playing in the Super Bowl at the other’s home stadium?
Home-field tactics? The wind? The turf? Where to park? Which shower head in the
locker room has the hottest water?
Don’t be silly.
They talk tickets. As in, how many can you get me?
Eli Manning told his brother Peyton he would help him in any way needed as Peyton
prepared to play in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium on Feb. 2.
Perhaps Peyton wanted to visit some New York City museums? Or the opera?
Certainly, Eli could arrange for a dinner reservation or two.
No, the chief request was tickets.
“He had a number for me,” Eli said Thursday of Peyton’s ticket request. “And I hit
it. Unless he’s got a few more surprises, I’m O.K.”
So unless Peyton screams “Omaha” and calls an audible demanding 15 more
tickets, Eli has done his job.
There is a lot of pressure and anxiety when it comes to the Super Bowl. Some of it
even involves the playing of the game. But long before Peyton Manning’s Denver
Broncos face the Seattle Seahawks, there is the ticket grab.
“Helping him with the tickets will take some of the stress off him,” Eli Manning said
in a conference call with reporters. “It takes some of the burden off him.”
The Mannings are not first-time contestants in this pregame contest. Eli has played
in two Super Bowls. This will be Peyton’s third.
In 2012, Eli played in a Super Bowl at what was then Peyton’s home stadium in
Indianapolis. The brothers have learned that what matters is keeping family and
friends happy — because everyone from your fourth-grade teacher to your favorite
barista comes out of the woodwork during the Super Bowl buildup.
Each needs only one ticket. Unless two are available. Or four.
Meanwhile, a ticket in the upper deck was selling for about $2,500 online Thursday.
“Having been through this before,” Eli said, “you want to get this done this week
and get it done as early as possible. You want everything to be solved for you
before you get to the city where you’re playing.”
Eli thinks he is on track. Once Peyton is in town — the Broncos are staying in Jersey
City and conducting interviews with the news media on a cruise ship docked next to
their hotel — Eli might give his brother some tips that pertain to the game, he said.
Eli played Denver’s opponent, the Seahawks, in December. And Eli has thrown
hundreds of passes in MetLife Stadium.
“I can give him any information I have about Seattle; I’ll be happy to give him
some tips,” Eli said.
That conversation may not exactly be a game changer. The Giants were trounced
by the Seahawks, 23-0. After the game, Giants Coach Tom Coughlin called the
Giants’ offensive effort “pathetic.”
So while that talk might be brief, Eli said he would be able to help with the
vicissitudes of playing inside MetLife.
“I might have a few things,” he said. “There is some local knowledge.”
Eli declined to elaborate on any of that insight because, he said, he did not want his
tips to help Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson.
“I’ll tell Peyton in private,” Eli said.
Otherwise, Eli seemed to be focused on playing the good host and helpful little
brother. He insisted that Peyton, who has won one Super Bowl and lost one, did not
need a second Super Bowl victory to cement his legacy as one of the best
quarterbacks in N.F.L. history.
“He’s already created his own legacy,” Eli said. “He’s set records and been on a lot
of playoff teams. I don’t think it’s something he’s worried about.
“There will always be arguments about who’s the best, and if you’re in that
argument, you’ve already created your legacy. But he’s not thinking about that.
He’s competitive. He’s trying to win the game.”
Eli, who has played more than 75 regular-season games in New Jersey, said the
only football game he had attended in the state as a spectator was on Jan. 4, 2003,
when Peyton’s Indianapolis Colts visited the old Giants Stadium to play the Jets in a
first-round playoff game.
“Besides that,” he said, “this will be the only time I’ll be in the seats watching.”
Eli will be hoping for a more enjoyable result than the last time. The Jets shut out
Peyton’s Colts, 41-0.
“It’s a little nerve-racking,” Eli said of rooting for his brother. “I don’t get nervous
playing in football games. I do get nervous watching my brother play.”
But he will apparently have some peace of mind. At least the ticket situation is
'Little Zane' a big man in Broncos
By Richard Anderson
Rapid City Journal
January 23, 2014
At 6-foot-4 and 305 pounds, no sane person would ever call Denver Broncos
starting guard Zane Beadles little.
Well, except for my late wife, Teresa. She had a good reason. When Teresa knew
Zane, he was little … about 2- and 3-years-old little.
When Beadles was drafted out of the University of Utah and made his mark as a
Broncos’ starter, Teresa still called him: “Little Zane.”
Teresa’s basketball playing career for the University of Wyoming was cut short after
her junior season in the late 1980s because of an illness. Back in the day, players
who were allowed to keep their athletic scholarship basically had to work for it.
Teresa did that for two years as the team’s unofficial manager.
One of her jobs was to keep an eye out on “Little Zane” when he tagged along at
the Cowgirls’ practice, as his mother, Jamie, was on the Wyoming team.
Watching “Little Zane” meant making sure he didn’t wander off like a youngster can
do and at least try to stop him from throwing basketballs out on the court while the
practice was in session -- like “Little Zane” was known to do on occasion.
Beadles is the step-son of current Wyoming head women’s basketball coach Joe
Legerski, who was a young assistant at the time under Chad Lavin.
Several years later Beadles returned to Laramie for the summer as Legerski
became the women’s basketball head coach at Wyoming, and he played for the
Laramie Rangers American Legion baseball team. By that time, he was no longer
“Little Zane.” As could be expected by now, he was a power-hitting first baseman.
If you are a fan of the Ellen DeGeneres Show, you might have seen Beadles’
appearance on Wednesday as he was promoting his charity, Zane Beadles Parade
Foundation. There, the big man danced with DeGeneres, talked about his
foundation and the Super Bowl and gave her his jersey off of his back (signed),
while DeGeneres gave him a $10,000 check for his foundation.
For more of the Zane Beadles Parade Foundation, see:
I know Teresa was thrilled when “Little Zane” was drafted by the Broncos in 2010
and I'm sure she'll be cheering for "Big Zane" in her own special way on Super Bowl
Broncos' Mike Adams following Victor
Cruz, Gerald Hayes to Super Bowl
By Art Stapleton and Keith Idec
January 24, 2014
The text message reminded Mike Adams not only of where he is, but where he is
Of the hundreds that overwhelmed his cellphone in the hours after the Broncos
punched their ticket to Super Bowl XLVIII, also assuring Adams of a Meadowlands
homecoming, the one from Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz held special
For the third time in six years, a native Patersonian will be on the biggest stage in
sports with an opportunity to win the most cherished of gridiron championships.
Gerald Hayes, Adams’ high school teammate at Passaic Tech, was the first to reach
a Super Bowl when his Arizona Cardinals lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2009.
Then it was Cruz’s turn in Indianapolis when he caught a touchdown, danced the
salsa and helped the Giants defeat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI two seasons
Now Adams gets his chance at the Vince Lombardi Trophy, and the fact that the
game will be played just 10 miles from their hometown at MetLife Stadium in East
Rutherford lends even more appreciation for the destination.
“Vic texted me [congratulations] the other day and I told him, ‘I’m right behind
you, bro. I’m coming. I’m up next,’ ” Adams said by telephone from Denver as the
Broncos prepare to meet the Seahawks on Feb. 2. “He said, ‘Go ahead and do it;’
[and] I said, ‘No doubt.’ I just hope I’ve been an inspiration to the young guys. I’ve
got to make it my business when I go back to play in this big game to go back and
talk to kids at a school and a little league football team. I have to let them know
that dreams come true if you keep working.
It took me 10 years, but I never gave up on it.”
There were times throughout the quest when any of the three could have moved
Hayes expected to be drafted in the first round, but lasted until the third.
Adams and Cruz went undrafted despite eye-opening performances at Football
Championship Subdivision schools Delaware and Massachusetts, respectively.
Adams sustained a hip injury during his college career, similar to the one that
ended Bo Jackson’s athletic career, and Adams was initially told by doctors he
would never play again.
Cruz was kicked out of Massachusetts twice because of poor grades, working in
Garden State Plaza in Paramus and taking classes at Passaic County Community
College before earning one final shot in school.
They also endured plenty of personal heartache, including the unexpected deaths of
Adams’ mother, Sharon, and Cruz’s father, Michael Walker, while both were in
“What makes this thing even sweeter is the road that we all took,” said Cruz, 27,
referring to Adams, 32; Hayes, 33; and himself.
“That road was different for all of us, but we all had our ups and downs. Being from
Paterson, we’ve seen far too many guys that died at our age, much younger.
People we might have spoken to the day before, then the next day they’re not even
alive anymore and we’re going to a funeral. There’s great appreciation for us to still
be here, facing the adversity we had to face growing up.
“For us to still be living our dream … the fact that we made it this far, kids from
everywhere can hopefully look up to us — suburbs and the inner cities — and say,
man, they battled through some things in their life, but they made it somewhere
The “Straight Out of Paterson” T-shirts Adams and Hayes distributed as part of their
Rising Stars Foundation camp held each summer have begun popping up all over
the city.
They are Broncos’ orange with Adams’ No. 20 and his signature on the back, and
are popular not just with youngsters, but adults as well, many of whom are
embracing the moment.
“This might just be the most gratifying feeling you can have as a football coach,”
said John Iurato, who coached Adams and Hayes at Passaic Tech in Wayne. “It’s
something that every football player in the world as a kid dreams about, and you’re
lucky to have two kids to have this experience, who played together, grew up
together in the same city with another kid in Victor Cruz; it’s really amazing. There
are a lot of good athletes, but not everybody is successful doing for the community
like these guys do.”
Added Hayes: “Having three guys from different parts of Paterson come out of
there — that gives them inspiration that they can go out there and can achieve
A pep rally to celebrate Adams’ presence at Super Bowl XLVIII will be held Tuesday
at Planet 301 in Paterson.
“Mike wasn’t a first-round draft pick. Vic wasn’t a first-round draft pick. Gerald
wasn’t a first-round draft pick,” said Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly, who coached
Cruz at Paterson Catholic and was in Denver to celebrate the AFC championship
with Adams on Sunday. “Nothing was handed to these guys. A lot of kids want to
look for shortcuts, but these guys worked for everything they got. The positive
message is, ‘If they can do it, so can you. This can be you.’ ”
Cruz followed Hayes, and Adams has now followed Cruz, blazing a path they hope
eventually provides another prideful answer to the question of who could be next.
“These are some big shoes to be wearing when you consider all the talent that has
come out of Paterson through the years,” Cruz said. “We need to soak in the
moment, all of us – Gerald Hayes, myself and [Adams]. And I’m also predicting the
Denver Broncos to win it, so when he wins it, and he hoists that trophy and comes
back to Paterson as a champion, those are the moments that mean everything.
“It’s something that you have to cherish, knowing how big of a deal this really is.”
Peyton Manning Vs. Russell Wilson: By
The Numbers
By Monte Burke
January 23, 2014
In the Super Bowl XLVIII clash between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle
Seahawks, much of the focus will be on the quarterbacks. The Broncos Peyton
Manning is one of the best ever to play the game. The Seahawks Russell Wilson has
started his NFL career with a bang, winning more games in his first two seasons
than any other quarterback ever has.
Here’s a look at the two quarterbacks by the numbers:
1: Rank of Peyton Manning’s jersey sales.
2: Rank of Russell Wilson’s jersey sales.
4: Number of Most Valuable Player awards Manning has won in his career, an NFL
record. He is expected to win his 5th award this year.
4.55: Wilson’s 40-yard-dash time at the NFL Combine.
4.8: Manning’s 40-yard-dash time as a rookie (Manning did not participate in the
1998 NFL Combine).
5’11”: Wilson’s height. He weighs 206 pounds.
6’5”: Manning’s height. He weighs 230 pounds.
9: The number of interceptions Wilson threw during the 2013 regular season.
10: The number of interceptions Manning threw in the 2013 regular season.
13: Age at which Manning declared himself a devout Christian.
14: Age at which Wilson declared himself a devout Christian.
16: Number of years Manning has been in the NFL; Wilson has been in the league
for 2 years.
25: Russell Wilson’s age. Manning is 37.
26: Number of touchdown passes both Manning and Wilson threw in their rookie
28: Number of interceptions Manning threw in his rookie season. Wilson threw 10
his rookie year.
-31 Rushing yards by Manning in 2013 regular season. Wilson ran for 539 yards.
52: Number of touchdown passes Wilson has thrown in his first two seasons in the
NFL combined.
55: Number of touchdown passes Manning threw in 2013, an NFL record.
101.2: Wilson’s quarterback rating in 2013.
115.1: Manning’s quarterback rating in 2013.
.228: Wilson’s batting average in 2011 while playing for a minor league affiliate of
the Colorado Rockies.
$526,217: Wilson’s base salary this year, ranked number 1256 in the NFL.
$12 million: Manning’s endorsement income from last year.
$15 million: Manning’s base salary this year, ranked number 1 in the NFL.
$1.081 billion: Value of Wilson’s Seahawks, number 15 on the Forbes NFL
valuations list.
$1.161 billion: Value of Manning’s Broncos, number 13 on the Forbes NFL
valuations list.
Broncos warm up to big chill in Denver
By Seth Walder
New York Daily News
January 23, 2014
It was no comparison to Winter Storm Janus, but Denver got some winter weather
Wednesday night that could serve as a preview of what we could see at Super Bowl
XLVIII at MetLife Stadium on Feb. 2.
The Broncos faced temperatures in the 20s Thursday with some snow around their
practice field, but that is nothing new for the Super Bowl-bound team.
“We’ve practiced in this and had to play in these type of conditions at different
points in the year so, yeah, any time you can have somewhat of a situation you can
simulate during practice that might be during a game — whether it’s situational,
two-minute situation, weather, whatever it is — that’s always a good thing,” Peyton
Manning said.
It’s still a long way out from the game for weather forecasts, though they do exist:
Accuweather currently estimates a temperature of 36 degrees with a 30% chance
of snow during the game.
The Broncos claim to be a cold-weather team, though this season, albeit in a small
sample, that hasn’t been the case. In their three games played outdoors with the
temperature 40 degrees or below this season, the Broncos are 1-2. The two losses
came at home against San Diego in 37-degree weather and in New England in 22degree weather. Still, Broncos players didn’t seem at all concerned about the
possibility of bad weather in New Jersey.
“Cold? You’re talking about the Super Bowl,” said safety Mike Adams. “I’m not
worried about the cold, I promise you that. We’ve practiced in like minus-3 degree
weather here. So I’m definitely not worried about no cold weather.”
“The Denver Broncos, we’re definitely weatherproof,” right tackle Orlando Franklin
said. “We live in a cold city. It snowed last night. We were outside for practice
Manning’s ability in the cold has been questioned, especially after last year’s
playoffs when, in 13-degree weather, the Broncos lost to the Ravens in Denver. The
Broncos put up 35 points in the game, but Manning did throw two interceptions.
That storyline seemed to have touched a nerve with the veteran signal caller. After
the one game that the Broncos did win in below 40-degree temperatures this year,
the 51-28 win over the Titans in 18-degree weather, Manning hoped to silence the
“Whoever wrote that narrative can shove it where the sun don’t shine,” Manning
said. “I felt pretty good out there today.”
The only weather-related concern the players seemed to share was that it could
alter the schedule. In the event of extreme weather, the NFL has admitted there is
a contingency plan to move the game to another day if it has to.
“(The weather) doesn’t affect defense,” defensive tackle Terrance Knighton said. “I
just hope they don’t change the game, the day or anything.”
Peyton Manning has more than just
Richard Sherman to handle in Seahawks'
By Manish Mehta
New York Daily News
January 23, 2014
Richard Sherman may be the unofficial spokesman of the Seahawks' Legion of
Boom, but the NFL's scariest secondary has a pair of safeties that could make
Peyton Manning's Super Bowl Sunday a living hell.
For all the ear-splitting chatter spilling out of Sherman's mouth these days, Earl
Thomas and Kam Chancellor may pose the biggest threats to Denver's high-octane
offense. Thomas' speed coupled with Chancellor's brute strength have been the
backbone for the most feared secondary in years. Four years after the Seahawks
selected both of them in the 2010 draft, they've helped re-shape the back end to
pave the way to the franchise's second Super Bowl appearance.
"We always talked about changing Seattle," Thomas said Thursday from the team's
practice facility in Renton, Wash. "We came in as competitors, young and probably
dumb. But at the same time, we understood that we could make a change and it's
definitely paying off for us."
Thomas and Chancellor should play integral roles in Super Bowl XLVIII. For the first
time since Super Bowl XXV between the Giants and Bills, the game will feature the
league's top-ranked offense against the league's top-ranked defense.
Thomas, arguably the best defensive player in the league this season, is the engine
of Seattle's physical defense. He quickly dismissed draft-day doubts about his size
(5-10, 202 pounds) to become the league's best ball-hawking safety. Manning will
have to be aware of Thomas, whose sideline-to-sideline closing speed is downright
frightening, at all times when dropping back to look for receiving threats Demaryius
Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker.
Manning will also have to contend with the 6-3, 232-pound Chancellor, who will be
locked up with Pro Bowl tight end Julius Thomas. Chancellor, a fifth-round steal,
effectively neutralized Jimmy Graham and Vernon Davis in Seattle's two playoff
wins. The pair of star tight ends combined for three receptions for 24 yards.
Thomas, who has been targeted 18 times with 14 catches in Denver's two playoff
games, is cut from the same cloth.
"He's just another athletic tight end (with) good hands," Chancellor said. "That's
just pretty much what impresses me about him. . . . I think he's pretty similar to
Jimmy and Vernon."
Neither Thomas nor Chancellor's decibel level rivals Sherman, whose postgame rant
against 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree has dominated the headlines all week.
Darrelle Revis even chimed in.
"I didn't think that was good on his part," Revis told the Tampa Times this week.
"He put himself ahead of the team. Other than that, he's an entertainer. . . . He
talks. He probably talks in his sleep. I thought he shouldn't have said all that."
There's little chance of Thomas or Chancellor pulling a Sherman in the run-up to the
biggest game of their lives. They're more concerned about combating Manning's
likely plan to beat Seattle's physical secondary with a combination of pick plays and
crossing routes. It worked to perfection against the Patriots' physical cornerbacks
and safeties in the AFC Championship Game, but can Denver's record-setting
offense do it again?
"That's how teams want to attack us now," Thomas said. "They don't want our big
corners to press or they don't want us to mess up the timing, so getting us in
condensed formations… bunch formations, but we know that. We understand how
teams want to attack us. That's the beauty of it."
Chancellor didn't seem overly concerned if he saw Welker running at him on a
crossing route. The Broncos receiver knocked out Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib last
week on a collision that changed the complexion of that game.
"If he's coming at me to do a pick play, I'm going to try and get around him,"
Chancellor said. "I'm going to get around him and get to my guy. If I blatantly see
him, I'm not just going to run into the guy and let my guy be wide open. I'm going
to go around him and get to my guy. Be athletic."
Chancellor and Thomas have given opposing quarterbacks headaches all season
with their athleticism and smarts.
"I think we're the best tandem in the league right now just because the chemistry
(and) the connection that we have," said Thomas, the 14th overall pick in the 2010
draft. "I think it started when I put my pride to the side and said, 'This guy is just
as good as me.' "
Manning knows that he'll suffer the consequences if he's not careful.
John Fox asks Peyton Manning to share
Super Bowl memories with Broncos
By Conor Orr
The Star-Ledger
January 23, 2014
DENVER -- The Super Bowl process, from how players should deal with increased
attention and grander platforms to how they should conduct themselves in the
weeks leading up to the game, have all been addressed.
This is John Fox's third Super Bowl, and he's been through the slog enough times to
understand that no detail, emotionally, schematically or physically, will be
That's why having Peyton Manning has been helpful. This is his third Super Bowl,
too. He's seen how all of his teammates reacted to the spotlight. He's seen how
nerves can come into play. He's seen how adrenaline can take a player to a
different level.
So this week, Fox asked Manning to share his experiences with the team. If
everything else has been taken into account, so too should emotion and focus
heading into the whirlwind.
"Coach Fox has asked some of the guys with experience to share their thoughts
with other players and he's encouraged guys to ask questions," Manning said. "Any
thoughts, tips, anything. So we've had an opportunity to share some of those
things both coaches and players and John Elway, so I think that's a good thing that
coach set that up to let guys know what they're getting into."
Added Fox: "Relating the experiences. It's a unique game, its a unique stage. Just
sharing those experiences with the younger players who may or may not have
experienced it."
Broncos players get super advice from
those who played
By Ryan Divish
Seattle Times
January 23, 2014
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — If you search through the rosters of the Broncos and
Seahawks, you’ll find that only one player on them has won a Super Bowl — Peyton
Manning, who led the Colts to a 29-17 win in Super Bowl XLI over the Bears.
So Broncos head coach John Fox, who coached the Panthers to a Super Bowl, has
asked Manning and three other players with Super Bowl experience — wide receiver
Wes Welker (Patriots), defensive back Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Cardinals)
and tight end Jacob Tamme (Colts) — to be available for advice to the rest of the
team about what to expect over the next 10 days and how to handle it.
Manning and the others spoke at a team meeting before Thursday’s practice. It
seemed to have an effect on Broncos players.
“With them giving me knowledge and saying, ‘Oh, you’ve got to expect this. Or
watch out for this. Or do that’ — I take heed to it,” safety Mike Adams said. “I
So what is that great information that Manning shared?
“What I told them was what I told them in the team meeting and probably not to
tell at the press conference,” he said.
But his teammates weren’t keeping secrets.
“Just keep everything to the same routine,” said wide receiver Andre Caldwell.
“Don’t let the fact that it is the Super Bowl change anything. ... because once the
game starts it’s still football.”
“Basically, he said enjoy it but you’ll be much happier winning the game as opposed
to losing the game,” said defensive end Shaun Phillips.
Fox also offered up some advice to his players about dealing with a media throng
that will only grow with each day. And it only takes a misstep to turn into a story.
What did he tell his players about handling the media crush and not becoming the
“Really, just being good to your guys — you’ve got jobs to do,” Fox said.
Manning is the shining example of that mantra. He knows how to play the media
game like reading a blitz. When asked about facing a Seahawks defense that is
rated No. 1 in the NFL, he wasn’t providing any bulletin board material.
“I’m just starting to kind of get to know them and prepare for them,” he said. “I’m
still kind of going through the preparation trying to familiarize ourselves with the
opponent, a lot of film to study, still trying to get to know them at this point. From
what I’ve seen so far, it is certainly an excellent defense.”
He wouldn’t even offer up a few first impressions of the Seattle defense, or its
vaunted secondary: “I’m still studying them, so probably not ready to make any
first impressions,” he said. “I’m still getting to know them. There is a lot to study,
and I look forward to using that time to study them.”
Dispatch from Denver: head coach John
Fox meets with the media on Thursday
By Ryan Divish
Seattle Times
January 23, 2014
Broncos head coach John Fox met with the media on Thursday after practice. Fox
has always been a coach that won’t speak of certain specifics to the media, and
that hasn’t changed. He was complimentary of the Seahawks and quarterback
Russell Wilson, noting that the Broncos brought Wilson in before the 2012 draft for
a workout.
“I’ve known Russell for a while — just because he was at N.C. State when I was
back in that part of the country,” Fox said. “Very impressive young man who has
got some great experiences, maybe even through other sports. I think he’s very
mature for his age. We brought him out here for a special visit and it doesn’t
surprise me at all he’s had the success and he’s where he is today.”
Fox was also complimentary of the Seahawks’ secondary.
“They’re No. 1 in the league,” he said. “They’ve got outstanding length as a unit.
They’ve got outstanding speed. They’ve got great route awareness and you can tell
they’re very well coached. That’s why they are where they’re at.”
Here’s some more quotes …
On the injury report
“[DT] Mitch Unrein did not participate, knee. [RB] Knowshon Moreno was limited,
ribs. [CB] Tony Carter was full, shoulder. [DT] Terrance Knighton was full, knee.
[CB] Kayvon Webster was full, thumb. [TE] Joel Dreessen was full, knee. [QB]
Peyton Manning was full, ankle. [G] Chris Kuper was full, ankle. [K] Matt Prater did
not participate today, illness. [DT] Sione Fua was limited today, calf.”
On if today was a Broncos vs. Broncos day
“I’m not going to get into how our preparation went and what we worked on from a
competitive standpoint. We had a good day’s work.”
On his initial reaction to a New York Super Bowl
“I spent five years there in the Giants organization as a defensive coordinator and I
have a lot of close friends. New York is a great city and we are looking forward to
the opportunity to be playing there.”
On how much advantage experience in Super Bowls helps
“This game, like any game, comes down to who plays the best. Advantages and
disadvantages kind of go out the window and it’s about performance. We’re
hopefully preparing hard enough to be that team.”
On encouraging players to give advice
“I think just relating the experiences—it’s a unique game, it’s a unique stage—just
sharing those experiences for the younger players who may or may not have
experienced that before.”
On LB Paris Lenon and his diverse background being from the XFL
“All of these guys have different backgrounds, I’m glad you brought that to my
attention. I look at Paris Lenon for what his body of work is, what he’s done here
and what he’s done for the Denver Broncos. Everybody has different paths and
different experiences; we’ve just been pleased to have him. He’s been a productive
player for us and a good teammate to the rest of the team.”
On what Lenon has added to the run defense
“The guy has a lot starts under his belt. He brought some experience. He was new
to us this year so like all new players, it takes you a minute to figure out their
strengths and weaknesses. We think he’s slid into a role that has helped us be
productive on defense.”
On the performance of the offensive line last week
“I think they’ve been a key all season, actually. We’ve got one game left and I think
their body of work is what it’s been—I think to be productive on offense, it starts up
front. If you don’t block very well you can’t run it very well and you can throw it
very well. They’ve been productive and have been an important cog in our offensive
On the refs potentially looking at crossing routes in the Super Bowl
because of the CB Aqib Talib injury
“I worry about everything the refs look at to be honest with you. Again, it’s part of
the game. You overcome a lot of different things when you are out there
competing. Obviously the opponent, and sometimes when calls go against you, you
have to overcome that. We’ve done that all year, that’s been our motto and this will
be no different.”
On crossing routes
“It’s a football. I’m not going to get into analyzing every football play we’ve run. It’s
a play that we utilize and just about every offense in the National Football League
On TE Julius Thomas and his growth
“Tremendous. He came in here as a rookie. He had a really, really, good camp and
turned a lot of heads in that camp. Unfortunately for him, in our second ball game
of the season against the Bengals he had a pretty severe ankle injury. It was a high
ankle sprain, required a little bit more rehab than we originally thought and the kid
battled back. These guys that come off injuries, especially serious injuries, it’s a lot
of hard work, a lot of weight room, training room, all that kind of work. And then,
I’m just really excited for the guy that he got healthy and did all the hard work it
takes. Then he came in and learned a pretty intricate system from a pretty
demanding quarterback and has done an outstanding job. So he’s great.”
On DT Terrance Knighton
“He’s been tremendous. He’s a guy that we were familiar with coming out in the
draft out of temple as well as [Defensive Coordinator] Jack Del Rio, our defensive
coordinator, coached Terrance. Our strength staff had been with him in
Jacksonville. So we had some pretty good insights on what kind of person and
player he was. He’s been nothing but ‘A-plus’ for us since he’s been a Bronco.”
On whether he used the Broncos’ preseason game with the Seahawks as
an example of Seattle’s talent
“I’m sure, as I mentioned on Monday—I’ll give you the same answer—I think both
teams will look at it. There are certain things I’m not going to get into exactly, but
there are things you take from it, no doubt.”
On what makes the Seahawks defense so good
“They’re well coached and they’ve got good length, outstanding speed. They are
very aggressive. They’re fun to watch, for sure. They’re very talented.”
On whether he likes having an extra week to prepare for the game
“This will be my third one—the two previous ones were both two weeks. It’s really
all I know. We adjust. That is what we get paid to do. I think it works out fine.”
On CB Champ Bailey
“When you look at a room and you can see two guys that you can pretty much say
are going to be first-ballot Hall of Famers— and I’m referring both to Peyton
Manning and Champ Bailey—the successes [Bailey] has had, to never have had the
experience of trotting out on Super Bowl Sunday, there are a lot of guys in that
room that it means a lot to them because it means a lot to him. From the very
onset, he gave me great insight to the Broncos organization, to a lot of the
players—and you need that as a newcomer, regardless of if you’re a head coach or
not. You need that insight and he’s been a valuable part of the success we’ve had.”
On Manning’s ability
“This is my almost-second complete season with Peyton—I’m talking about every
day as a coach, not as somebody watching him play—but I’ve seen tremendous
growth in him physically, as well as mentally, even, in our system. But physically,
from this time a year ago, he’s kind of started where he left off. Earlier, in that first
season, he was adjusting to a lot. He hadn’t played the year before, rehabbing a
pretty serious injury, just staying in shape as a veteran player. The guy might be
the best time manager I’ve ever been around as a professional. He’s earned
everything that he’s gotten and he’s worked very, very hard.”
On whether it requires unselfishness in order to have five players with 10
touchdowns each
“I think with this group, we speak of, ‘To be an outstanding team, you have to be
selfless, not selfish.’ I think that speaks to the character of those guys in that room.
They don’t get all pouty, or whatever you might want to put on it, about things like
that. They just care about winning. I appreciate that attitude and I appreciate that
mindset from those guys.”
On his advice to players dealing with the media
“Really, being good to you guys—you’ve got jobs to do. But speak to the game;
speak to themselves and not much else.”
On the importance of the final practices at home
“I call it the most important two hours of the day—anytime you have practice. Not
that the other things aren’t important, but really, the time on the grass is the most
important time. We take them all pretty serious.”
Dispatch from Denver: Peyton Manning
meets with the media
By Ryan Divish
Seattle Times
January 23, 2014
It snowed about two inches last night here in Denver and the temperature dropped
to the mid 20s. As you can see above, the Broncos practiced outside today. Does it
help them for the possible inclement weather in New York for Super Bowl XLVIII?
“We practiced in this and had to play in these types of conditions at different points
in the year,” quarterback Peyton Manning said. “Any time you can have a
somewhat of a situation that you can simulate during practice which you might see
in the game, it’s always a good thing. whether it’s a two-minute situation, or
weather or whatever it is, it’s a good thing.”
Manning spoke to the media for about six minutes. He was pretty careful in what he
said. You could joke that he’s more expansive pre-snap.
He was asked about the Seahawks’ defense and whether it was the toughest the
defense the Broncos offense would face this season? He was relatively noncommittal.
“I’m just kind of starting to get know them and prepare for them,” Manning said.
“We played them in the preseason. But I’m still kind of going through the
preparation and familiarize ourselves with the opponent. There’s a lot of film to
study. From what I’ve seen, it’s certainly an impressive defense.”
When pressed for more info, Manning stayed with his original answer. There was no
audibling to something more.
“I’m still studying them, so I’m probably not ready to make any first impressions,
I’m still getting to know them,” Manning said. “There’s a lot to study and I’m
looking forward to getting that time to study.”
Manning is one of a handful players on the Broncos with Super Bowl experience,
including Wes Welker. Head coach John Fox had them speak to the team on about
what to expect.
“He’s encouraged guys to ask questions and he’s encouraged guys that have
experience share any tips,” Manning said. “We have had an opportunity to do that.
It’s good thing to set up to give some guys an idea of what they are getting
themselves into.”
So what did he tell them?
“What I told them is what I told them in the team meeting, but probably not to tell
at the press conference,” Manning said.
Best part was when a TV person asked Peyton about the great advice his brother Eli
gave him about the swirling winds of MetLife Stadium.
“I haven’t had those conversation so … ” Manning said. “If we were playing in the
old one, it might be a little different. But we haven’t had those conversations.”
Here’s some more quotes from Manning’s meeting with the media.
On his level of work with his different coaches
“It’s probably hard to do it in a short answer. [Head] Coach [John] Fox, obviously
he is the head coach, [Offensive Coordinator] Adam [Gase] is kind of the head
coach of the offense, if you will. You’re dealing with Adam on the schemes and the
X’s and O’s and I’m dealing with [Quarterbacks Coach] Greg Knapp on my
quarterback fundamentals. Coach Fox, it is his football philosophies that we are
following as far as situational play and whatnot. He and I always have
conversations about kind of how he feels a defense might play us. He takes me kind
of into the defense minds of how they might try to stop this play or whatnot. He
has great experience as being a defensive coordinator. Those have always been
conversations that I have gotten something out of.”
On CB Champ Bailey
“He has great coverage skills, great ball skills. He’s a tremendous athlete. He’s a
smart player—you can always tell when you played against him that he understood
concepts and understood what you were trying to do possibly offensively. He’s a
great technician as well. I played against Champ when I was a young player and he
was with the [Washington] Redskins, and then of course many years when he was
here in Denver. It has been great to practice against him every day for the past two
years. The receivers get better and the quarterback gets better as well.”
On the four Broncos players with Super Bowl experience
“Coach Fox has had some guys that had some experience share some of their
thoughts with players. He has encouraged guys to ask questions or encouraged
guys that have some experience to share any thoughts or tips. We have had an
opportunity to do that, to share some of those—whether it has been coaches or
players or [Executive Vice President of Football Operations] John Elway. I think that
is a good thing that Coach Fox set that up to help some guys have an idea of kind
of what they’re getting in to.”
On getting help with non-football aspects of the Super Bowl from Eli
“Eli and I have done that in the past. You try to help out any way you can. That is
certainly a way that I think I’ve been helpful to him and he’s been helpful to me the
past two that I’ve played in and he’s helped me out again this year. You certainly
appreciate that.”
On getting support from Eli Manning
“I always appreciate my brother. I didn’t see what he said and I’m not sure he was
defending me. I think Eli pulls for me and I pull for him. It has been neat having
the relationship with him, both having the same job for these past 10-something
years. We have a lot that we can relate to and a lot of situations that we’ve both
faced. I’ve always thought that quarterbacks naturally can share those thoughts
and if you have other buddies who are quarterbacks, when he’s your brother it’s a
pretty unique situations and we bounce a lot of ideas off of each other these past
10 years.”
On whether the Super Bowl being in New York adds anything special
“The Super Bowl is always special, no matter where it is played. For a lot of our
players, it is their first time playing in one. So I think the fact that it is in New York
is certainly going to be special, but it is a big deal because we worked so hard to
get to this point. Two teams that have worked hard and have really laid it on the
line all season long to be here. This is why you work hard all offseason—for this
opportunity. There is no question it is a big deal and it is very special to be playing
in this game.”
Of all the role models
By John Boyle
Everett Herald
January 24, 2014
RENTON — Russell Wilson made a point of picking the brain of New Orleans
quarterback Drew Brees at the Pro Bowl last year.
And while the Seattle Seahawks celebrated an NFC Championship Sunday, Wilson
asked four-time Super Bowl champion and former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback
Terry Bradshaw, who now works for Fox television, what it takes to win a title.
So it’s safe to say the Seahawks’ quarterback likes to take knowledge from
experienced quarterbacks whenever and wherever he can get it. But before Brees
or Bradshaw could pass any words of wisdom on to Wilson, he was learning from
another quarterbacking great.
The one he’ll be trying to beat in Super Bowl XLVIII.
You see Wilson, back when he was a high school sophomore, attended the Manning
Passing Academy, a camp run by Archie Manning and his three sons, Peyton, Eli
and Cooper. And as luck would have it so many years ago, a teenage Wilson ended
up in the group of players being coached by Peyton Manning, the quarterback who
will be leading the Denver Broncos against Seattle next week.
“I mean there were thousands of kids there and I was actually in his group,” Wilson
said. “Me and I think 12 or 15 other guys.”
Manning obviously never could have known it at the time, but he was helping shape
a young quarterback who would someday try to deny him a second championship
ring. That famous Wilson work ethic and those well-documented study habits,
Wilson got a lot of that from his father, Harrison, and took the rest from a lot of
people who have influenced him, one of whom was Manning.
“Just how much care he showed for the kids at the time and how much detail he
always talked about and how much of a perfectionist he was, I try to use that in my
game,” Wilson said. “I got a long ways to go obviously, but I just try to do all the
little things and that’s what (Manning) does. He takes tons of notes, he does all the
right things and he puts his team in the right position to win football games.”
And while Wilson was the one learning from Manning, it seems the teenage
quarterback made an impression on Manning a decade ago as well. Prior to the
2012 draft, the Broncos brought Wilson to Denver for a pre-draft visit, and Manning
had a vague recollection of meeting Wilson so long ago.
“He was sitting there in the locker room and I went up and talked to him, and he
was like, ‘Have I seen you before somewhere?’” Wilson said. “He was like, ‘Yeah. I
think I’ve seen you. Good to see you man. I’ve seen you before somewhere. Where
did I know you?’”
Wilson told him, “Well actually you coached me in the Manning Passing Academy.”
Priority No. 1 for Wilson in the Super Bowl will be worrying about Denver’s defense,
but he admits he might sneak an occasional peek to watch one of the game’s alltime greats at work. For the Seahawks to beat the Broncos and their high-octane
offense, Wilson might have to put on an aerial show himself, or at least throw the
ball more than he is usually asked to in Seattle’s offense. And who knows, if Wilson
has a big day and leads his team to victory, the Seahawks might have, of all
people, Manning to thank for it, at least a little bit anyway.
“The way he plays the game, he’s just a tremendous individual. He has great
attention to detail, great leadership, has won a lot of games,” Wilson said. “So
we’re going to have to play our best football game and we know that. We know that
he’s a great football player and he leads his football team.”
Eli Manning’s playing concierge for
big brother
By Darin Gantt
January 24, 2014
Eli Manning is doing everything he can to help big brother Peyton next week.
But not with scouting reports.
Eli said his most important job has been ticket broker, helping Peyton line up the
seats he needs for Super Bowl XVLIII so he can worry about the football.
“I tried to help him out, and try and get answers on how many tickets I could get
from my teammates and players and people and try and get that done as early as
possible,” Eli said, via Jordan Raanan of “So once they start preparation
this week, he has everything solved before you get to the city you’re playing the
Super Bowl.
“I think that is kind of the biggest help I could be to him at this point. Obviously, I
know his friends and family, to try to get them settled so they are not dealing with
him and he has to worry about that.”
The two have experience at this game, as Peyton played concierge when Eli brought
the Giants to Indianapolis for the Super Bowl, and Peyton used his hometown
advantage there two years ago.
And so Eli’s been hitting up co-workers, since Giants players and staff and
employees were offered face value tickets for the game.
“He was very helpful in dealing with family and friends and trying to take that
burden off me,” Eli said. “It’s something we kind of learned having played in a few
of these. You try and get all that stuff done by this week.”
They’ll talk about the Seahawks later.
But for now, they’re making sure all the tickets are taken care of.
Moreno practices, in limited fashion, with
injured ribs
By Mike Florio
January 23, 2014
Both starting running backs for the Super Bowl XLVIII teams are dealing with
injuries. Seahawks tailback Marshawn Lynch hasn’t practiced this week with a knee
injury, and Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno is limited with injured ribs.
Moreno, who would have been limited on Wednesday if the Broncos had practiced,
was limited on Thursday during the team’s first official pre-Super Bowl practice.
Defensive tackle Mitch Unrein (knee) didn’t practice, and kicker Matt Prater missed
Thursday’s session with an illness.
Defensive lineman Sione Fua was a new addition to the report with a calf injury; he
practiced on a limited basis.
Injured players who fully participated in practice on Thursday were quarterback
Peyton Manning (ankle), guard Chris Kuper (ankle), cornerback Tony Carter
(shoulder), cornerback Kayvon Webster (thumb), tight end Joel Dreessen (knee),
and defensive tackle Terrance Knighton (knee).
Broncos, Knowshon Moreno return
to practice
By Josh Alper
January 23, 2014
The Broncos released a practice report on Wednesday, but it was just an estimation
of what players would have done because they didn’t actually start their practice
week until Thursday.
According to that estimation, running back Knowshon Moreno would have been a
limited participant. According to Lindsay Jones of USA Today, Moreno was on the
field taking part in practice on Thursday.
It’s a very good sign that Moreno is going to be ready to go come February 2 at the
Meadowlands. Jones also reports that cornerback Tony Carter was on the field after
suffering a shoulder injury in the AFC Championship Game, which fits with the
team’s estimation that the would have been a full participant in Wednesday’s
practice if there was a Wednesday practice.
Defensive tackle Mitch Unrein, who is nursing a knee injury, wasn’t seen at
practice, which took place in frigid conditions as Denver joined much of the rest of
the country in the clutches of the polar vortex. That may be colder than Super Bowl
Sunday turns out to be, but it won’t hurt to get used to it just in case the mercury
dips in East Rutherford.
Five to Watch: 2. Russell Wilson
By Andrew Mason
January 23, 2014
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- If Russell Wilson's baseball career had progressed
differently, he could have been playing his biggest game in Denver, not against a
team from there.
But the former Colorado Rockies farmhand only progressed as far as the Asheville
Tourists of the South Atlantic League in 2011 when his development stalled. He's
still on an organizational roster in baseball; the Texas Rangers claimed his rights in
the Rule 5 draft last month. But barring some unexpected circumstances, Wilson's
future lies in the sport at which he's already achieved massive success in just two
That's no surprise to Broncos Executive Vice President of Football Operations John
Elway, who arranged for Wilson to visit the Broncos during the pre-draft process in
"We had him in. We loved the kid," Elway said. "To see what he's doing, you know
when you met him that he had the capability because of the presence that he has,
that he had the ability to do what he is doing right now. He's athletic, can make all
the plays and has the right attitude."
Wilson also became re-acquainted with Peyton Manning that day. Wilson was a
student at the Manning Passing Academy while he was a high-schooler from
Richmond, Va.
"There were thousands of kids there and I was actually in his group -- me and, I
think, 12 or15 other guys," Wilson said, 'and just how much care he showed for the
kids at the time and how much detail he always talked about and how much of a
perfectionist he was and I try to use that in my game."
Years later, when Wilson visited Dove Valley, that led to a deja vu moment.
"He was sitting there in the locker room and I went up and talked to him and
whatever and he was like, ‘Have I seen you before somewhere?’ He was like, ‘Yeah.
I think I’ve seen you. Good to see you man. I’ve seen you before somewhere.
Where did I know you?’ And I was like, ‘Well actually you coached me in the
Manning Passing Academy,'" Wilson recalled. "So I love him to death."
Their styles are different, but one similarity is in their rookie performance -- not so
much the numbers, but the presence each brought. Their NFL arrivals, 14 years
apart, immediately turned what was a team weakness into a massive strength.
What is fascinating about Wilson's development is how ready he was to contribute
immediately. Although he improved in his second year, it wasn't a quantum leap,
because where can you go from such a highly efficient (quarterback rating: 100.0)
first year.
This season, his completion percentage was slightly down (by one percent), but his
interception rate dropped (from one every 40.3 passes to one every 46.2). His
average per attempt increased by 0.32 yards. His quarterback rating rose from
100.0 to 101.2. His run rate, first-down percentage on carries and average per
carry were nearly identical.
Through two years, no moment has seemed too big for him. But in spite of the
numbers, the Seahawks keep his relative lack of experience in mind.
"We’re working with a second-year player, and a second-year quarterback. You
have to keep that in mind. He’s fabulous, he’s fabulous in everything that we’ve
asked him to do, he does a great job of managing all of the situations, and he’s
come up big in just about every one of those for us," said Seahawks Offensive
Coordinator Darrel Bevell.
"We don’t want to push the limit and push it over and ask him to do too much and
have that show up in his play or anything. We haven’t done that, I don’t know if
you could do that to him because he is so well prepared and he puts so much
pressure on himself to do the right things all of the time, but he’s showed up big in
all of the situations for us.”
Not to say that people didn't see it coming. As I witnessed Wilson's performance
against the Broncos' backup defense during a preseason game on Aug. 18, 2012, I
tweeted this:
This notion may have seemed ridiculous based on half of a preseason game, but I
had my reasons, and they went beyond that night.
I'd watched him closely at North Carolina State and Wisconsin. I saw first-hand how
he adapted to throwing behind Wisconsin's massive offensive line. I loved his
delivery: quick, compact when it needed to be, with passes that exploded out of his
hand. He was mobile enough to make plays on the run, but preferred to throw.
(And there was probably a bit of short man's bias; I have to wear thick-soled
Timberlands to approach 5-foot-6.)
I knew that he'd shown up at Wisconsin as a post-graduate transfer in the summer
of 2011, limited to one season there. And in that short span, Wilson so impressed
teammates and coaches that he was named captain within a month of his first
Badgers practice.
"Just as soon as he got there, he was walking around with note cards, with plays on
them," said running back Montee Ball, a teammate of Wilson's at Wisconsin in
2011. "I was like, 'OK, this guy's really serious,' and based on his history, what
we'd heard about him and the first couple of practices, we were like, 'OK, we need
to follow this guy.'"
Some guys just have "it." They have a preternatural ability to adapt on the field,
they are impeccable leaders, they pride themselves on taking steps well beyond the
norm. Peyton Manning is one of those guys. So is Wilson. That's why they're here.
Of course, there's one step left to take, and no guarantee that he and the
Seahawks ever get over the hump. Dan Marino will be the first to tell you that the
early-career chance might be the only one you ever receive.
But the Seahawks' collection of young talent, keen eye in roster-building assures
that the Seahawks will remain a Super Bowl contender for the foreseeable future.
This game will help define Wilson's career, but it's unlikely to be his only turn on
the sport's grandest stage.
Manning Brothers' Bond Helps Super
Bowl Prep
By Gray Caldwell
January 23, 2014
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- At the AFC Championship Game, Eli Manning surprised his
brother Peyton with a visit to the locker room postgame.
"Two years ago, we didn’t think Peyton was coming to San Francisco for the (NFC)
Championship Game and he showed up," Archie Manning said after the Broncos'
win last Sunday. "He just showed up with some Indy guys and didn’t tell us, didn’t
tell Eli anything. So Eli kind of did that today, too."
The relationship between the two Super Bowl-winning brothers was in the spotlight
earlier this season when the Broncos and Giants squared off at MetLife Stadium in
Week 2.
That was Peyton Manning's first time in the stadium where Super Bowl XLVIII will
be held.
But he'll have plenty of knowledge of the venue courtesy of his brother.
"I might have a few things for him, but I don’t want to reveal that because I don’t
want to give that to Russell Wilson," Eli Manning said on a conference call. "Any tips
wind-wise, I will tell him in private."
"The old stadium definitely did have a specific end zone and corner you really did
not want to throw into if it was going to be a windy night," he explained. "I know
it’s going to be cold. I obviously don’t know what the wind conditions are right now,
but if it is one of those windy days, there are a few little things that you can give,
but it’s definitely not as bad as the old stadium."
Eli, whose Giants played the Seattle Seahawks in Week 15, said he would also
share with Peyton anything he gleaned from his battle with the Broncos' Super Bowl
"I’ll obviously give any information that I have to him, in our preparation, our game
plan, just kind of different things I saw watching film and different tips," he said. "I
will try to give him everything that I can give him to make his preparation better,
any tips or things that I saw. If he has any questions, I’d be happy to answer them
and help out in any way."
The bond between the brothers has been obvious this week.
Eli said he's been trying to help Peyton deal with ticket requests and other logistics
in advance of the big game so that his older brother can focus on the game itself.
"I think I’ve been helpful to him and he’s been helpful to me the past two that I’ve
played in and he’s helped me out again this year," Peyton said. "You certainly
appreciate that.”
Peyton said the brothers have bounced "a lot of ideas off of each other these past
10 years" as they prepare for games.
The one next Sunday just happens to be a little different than just another game.
"It’s not like watching any other football game. If I’m watching two other teams,
I’m kind of casually watching and don’t really care who wins or loses. Here, it’s a
little bit more nerve-wracking," said Eli, who made it clear he's rooting for his
brother and the Broncos. "I don’t get nervous playing football games, I get nervous
watching my brother play and I guess because I’ve been doing this for a long time
and you kind of know key moments and key plays. Obviously we’ll be rooting hard
and I’m excited for him, watching these last two playoff games and playing well and
hopefully he can continue to do that. You know what it means to win championships
and how hard he’s worked.
"I’m obviously very proud of him and I’m hoping he can go out there and play well
and the whole team, the Broncos, can play well and get a win."
Sharing Their Super Bowl Stories
By Gray Caldwell
January 23, 2014
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Forty-eight of the 53 players on the Broncos' active roster
had at least one game of playoff experience entering this year's postseason.
But only four had been to the Super Bowl -- Peyton Manning, Wes Welker, Jacob
Tamme and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
For that reason, Head Coach John Fox asked that group to talk to the team about
the experience of playing in the final game of the season.
"He has encouraged guys to ask questions or encouraged guys that have some
experience to share any thoughts or tips," said Manning, the only Broncos player to
have a Super Bowl victory under his belt. "We have had an opportunity to do that,
to share some of those whether it has been coaches or players or (Executive Vice
President of Football Operations) John Elway. I think that is a good thing that Coach
Fox set that up to help some guys have an idea of kind of what they’re getting in
Fox is headed to his third Super Bowl -- he went as the head coach of the Carolina
Panthers 10 years ago and as the defensive coordinator of the New York Giants
after the 2000 season.
Knowing what to expect in the lead-up to such a big game -- and in the contest
itself -- led Fox to ask the group to speak to the team.
“Well I think just relating the experiences – it’s a unique game, it’s a unique stage –
just sharing those experiences for the younger players who may or may not have
experienced that before," Fox said.
The meeting was universally appreciated in the locker room.
“It means a lot because I’ve been in the league a long time and I think I’ve won
more games here in two years than I did in my career. And that is saying a lot,"
said safety Mike Adams, a 10th-year veteran. "So with them giving me knowledge
and saying, ‘Oh, you’ve got to expect this. Or watch out for this. Or do that.’ I take
heed to it. And I listen. And it’s all great information that they give you so again, I
don’t want to be too wide-eyed and out there and lose focus. All that information is
pertinent and it helps.”
Wide receiver Andre Caldwell said the main advice given was to keep the same
"Don’t let the fact that it is the Super Bowl change anything," he said. "Keep doing
what you’ve been doing all year. Prepare like you’ve been preparing and don’t
worry about all the other stuff because once the game starts it's still football.”
This week, some of the biggest distractions come in the form of ticket requests.
They, predictably, flood in from all directions. But linebacker Steven Johnson said
Thursday was the last day to deal with those logistics, so they'll be able to put it
behind them as preparation for the Seattle Seahawks is officially underway.
With the advice of the Broncos with Super Bowl experience in tow, now the team
can focus solely on the task at hand.
“They told us just to enjoy the process and talked about the schedule of the actual
game day and just to remember that it is a business trip," team captain David
Bruton said. "We go out there to take care of business. Enjoy the moment, enjoy
everything about it, but it will be a lot more enjoyable if you come back with a win.”
Reconnecting with Wilson
By Stuart Zaas
January 23, 2014
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson is well known to plenty of
football fans and players around the league.
But aside from his Seahawks teammates, running back Montee Ball and linebacker
Nate Irving know him better than most.
Ball and Irving each played college football with Wilson, albeit with different teams.
Irving spent three seasons (2008-10) with Wilson at North Carolina State and Ball
played one season with Wilson (2011) at Wisconsin.
“Back when he was with me at Wisconsin, he displayed great qualities of a
quarterback,” Ball recalled. “And I’m sure he’s doing the same thing over there.”
Irving, who practiced against Wilson during their time together with the Wolfpack,
noted that despite some critics’ concern regarding Wilson’s height, he knew the
quarterback could excel at the next level.
“It’s about making plays,” Irving said. “There are going to be different guys in there
with different heights, different sizes, but he made a lot of plays in college and that
is what the game is about – making plays.”
That’s a sentiment that Ball echoed.
“I’m not surprised,” Ball said. “He’s had that mindset his whole life.”
Both players remembered Wilson being extremely focused during their times as
“He was just a robot,” Ball said. “He was straight to business. He would joke around
and stuff like that but he was really focused. You could see that – everyone could
see that.”
“He was at home, studying, at the facility looking at film or things like that,” Irving
added. “He was always in the book.”
While both spoke fondly of Wilson, Ball said that they haven’t talked since the
season started as each was focused on his own team.
“Once the season started no texting, none of that,” Ball said. “But beforehand, yeah
– just because of the great relationship he had in college. At times I would ask him
– once he took off – I’d ask him how the NFL was and all that stuff. Right now, he’s
the enemy.”
Players Tackle Ticket Requests
By Mike Morris
January 23, 2014
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- As the locker room teemed with reporters and microphones
at Dove Valley on Thursday, one of day’s the most popular questions posed to
players centered on one very specific topic.
The Seahawks? The team’s first day back at practice after taking Tuesday and
Wednesday off?
No, try the question that Shaun Phillips fielded instead.
“Yeah, I got some random ticket requests,” the defensive end said.
Part of the excitement and intensive preparation that players and coaches undergo
each year in advance of the Super Bowl is arranging tickets to the big game for
family members and loved ones.
Tagging along with that process, however, are the inevitable ticket requests from
all directions – including some from some rather unexpected sources.
“I let my mom handle that,” Phillips said. “But the answer is no. If you didn’t get a
ticket to game one, you’re not getting a ticket to the last game.”
Phillips isn’t the only one on the team receiving a little maternal support in handling
the matter.
“Yeah – a lot of requests, but the good thing is that my mom is my ‘no’ person,”
defensive tackle Terrance Knighton said. “Once you tell people, ‘My mom is
handling all the ticket stuff,’ they don’t even ask. They don’t even want to ask her.
They try to put my back against the wall and ask me, ‘Remember that time I did
this, remember that time I did that?’ I’m just like, ‘Yeah, my mom is handling it.’
They just stop asking after that.”
With an inherently limited number of tickets compared to the number of requests
players receive, saying ‘no’ isn’t always easy.
“She’s saying no so I don’t have to be the bad guy,” Knighton said.
It’s a bit easier, though, when requests are as off-the-wall as the one linebacker
Nate Irving fielded in a text message from a random number that wasn’t even in
his contacts list.
“They wanted me to fly them out to the game and get them a ticket for them and
some people,” Irving chuckled.
Linebacker Steven Johnson laughed when asked if he had experienced anything
quite that random.
“No, not that bad,” Johnson said. “Not any high school girlfriends or coaches or
anything like that. Just people who supported you, really. Even if you haven’t talked
to them for a while because you’ve been busy and stuff like that – just people who
support you and they just love you and want to be there for you.”
And fortunately, other players agreed with Johnson that much of the outreach from
friends and family has been positive support as opposed to ticket requests.
“Not anything random, just a lot of different text messages, emails reaching out
and congrats or whatever,” safety David Bruton said. “But nothing like people out
of the woodwork asking, ‘Can you get me this ticket?’”
Tackle Orlando Franklin even pointed out that many of his loved ones have been
understanding that the quantity of tickets players have access to isn’t unlimited.
“It’s been a little crazy,” Franklin said. “But at the same time, a lot of my family
understands that we only get a certain amount of tickets and a lot of them actually
prefer to stay at home.”
Some players averted the situation by limiting the number of people who they
would be able to find tickets for.
“I kept it simple – just immediate family,” cornerback Tony Carter said. “It’s not a
struggle for me.”
“I have both my sisters, my parents, and a couple of friends,” running back Montee
Ball added.
But for players like Phillips who will play Super Bowl XLVIII only miles from their
hometowns, it’s also a special opportunity for plenty of loved ones to see the
defensive end play in the first Super Bowl of his career in person.
“It’s pretty cool just because at this point in my career and to get to go to my first
Super Bowl and to go back to my hometown, I think it’s huge,” he said. “Plus to get
your mom to come see you, your high school coaches, brothers and sisters – it’s
always a wonderful experience.”
Broncos Used to Cold Weather
By Brandon Moree
January 23, 2014
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. –Nine states have had the honor of hosting a Super Bowl and
just 11 Super Bowls have been played in states not named Florida, California or
Of those 11 games, just four were played in cities in northern states – Michigan
(twice), Minnesota and Indiana. And of course, each of those games was played
This year, at Super Bowl XLVIII, the game will be played outside in the cold
weather for the first time. But the Broncos are no strangers to cold weather.
“We’ve practiced in this and had to play in these types of conditions at different
points in the year,” quarterback Peyton Manning said. “So, any time you can have a
similar situation you can simulate during practice which it might be during a game,
it always is a good thing. Whether it is situational, two-minute situation, weather,
whatever it is—it’s always a good thing.”
Wednesday night, about three inches of snow fell at Dove Valley and the high for
Thursday was 25 degrees.
The Broncos practiced in the cold weather several times during the regular season
and only once did they move indoors for a practice session.
On Dec. 8, the Broncos squared off with the Titans at Sports Authority Field at Mile
High and the wind chill was listed at 11 degrees. Not only did the Broncos win that
game, kicker Matt Prater broke the NFL record for longest made field goal.
“The Denver Broncos, we’re definitely weatherproof,” tackle Orlando Franklin said.
“We live in a cold city. It snowed last night. We were outside for practice today. We
definitely are used to a lot of different things being that we live here in Denver,
The early predictions for Super Bowl Sunday are calling for a cold day with a small
chance of precipitation.
“It’s New York in February — it’ll be cold,” linebacker Nate Irving said. “That is all I
need to know.”
Whether it’s cold and snowing or hot and dry – though that’s less likely – the world
championship will be on the line either way. The winner will lift the Lombardi
Trophy and so the game, not the weather, is the focus right now.
“I’m just happy to be in the Super Bowl,” cornerback Tony Carter said. “I wouldn’t
care if we played wherever. Both teams have to play in this weather, whether it’s
cold or it’s not. We’re just excited to be in this game.”
10 Ways to Spot a Broncos Fan in New
January 23, 2014
Visit Denver has provided a list of ways to find other Bronco fans in New York.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – As Bronco fans from Denver head to the New York/New
Jersey area for the Super Bowl, Visit Denver has provided fans with 10 easy was to
spot fellow Coloradoans on the East Coast.
1. They’re thin. Denver consistently ranks in top 10 lists for healthy, active and
thinnest residents of any major city, and Colorado is the thinnest state.
2. They’re tan. Denver has 300 days of sunshine a year – more hours of annual
sun than San Diego or Miami Beach.
3. They have healthy calves from biking. Denver had the nation’s first citywide
bike sharing program and currently has more than 800 bikes available at 83
stations throughout the city. There are 850 miles of paved, off-street bike
trails in metro Denver.
4. They’re wearing their good jeans. Denver epitomizes urban casual. It is a laid
back city where you will see people in jeans at the office… or the opera.
5. They have a return airline ticket in their pocket. Sure, New York is great, but
this is powder season, and no Coloradan stays away for long at this time of
6. They might order a “growler” in a bar. Denver brews more beer than any
other city and has 29 breweries in the downtown area. More than 200
different beers are brewed in Denver every day. (A “growler” is a container
used to take away fresh craft beer from a brewpub – something people do
regularly in The Mile High City.)
7. They’ll know who James Beard is. Denver’s growing reputation for chefowned restaurants increased in 2013 when chef Jen Jasinski of Rioja won the
James Beard Award for Best Chef Southwest (and followed it up as a finalist
on Top Chef Masters). More than a dozen Denver chefs have had the honor
of cooking in New York’s James Beard House.
8. They’ll be stopping people on the street to ask, “Which way is West?” From
almost anywhere in Denver, you can see the mountains to the west.
Denverites will be lost without their mountain panorama, which is 125 miles
long and contains more than 200 named peaks.
9. They’re as likely to be at Lincoln Center as MetLife Stadium. As a gold rush
town, Denver had a performance of Macbeth before it had a school or a
hospital. The Denver Performing Arts Complex is second only to New York’s
Lincoln Center, offering ten venues that seat 10,000 people for theatre,
opera, symphony and dance.
10.They’re wearing something orange. Denver has seven professional sports
teams, more than just about any other city in America. The Broncos have
sold out every game for 44 seasons, the second longest sellout streak in NFL
Learn more about The Mile High City at