When it comes to quarterback Peyton Manning, it seems like we’ve been down this road before.
When the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks take the field at MetLife Stadium at February 2 in Super Bowl XLVIII, the latter will be making just its second appearance in the Big Game. Meanwhile, Manning is making his third Super appearance looking to become the first starting quarterback to lead two franchises (Colts and Broncos) to the Lombardi Trophy.
On the other hand, this is very old hat for the Broncos, who are making their seventh trip to the Super Bowl in search of their third NFL title.
When last we saw Denver on this stage (Super Bowl XXXIII), quarterback John Elway was walking away with an MVP trophy in what proved to be his final game with the team, a 34-19 victory over the Atlanta Falcons in South Florida. The Pro Football Hall of Famer would close his 16-year career with back-to-back Super Bowl wins.
But in order to have two straight titles, you have to have the first. And winning the Super Bowl had indeed proven elusive for both Elway and the organization.
When the Broncos took the field against the defending Super Bowl champion Packers this Sunday afternoon in January at Qualcomm Stadium, there was plenty of extra baggage attached.
It was Denver’s fifth trip to the Big Game, and the previous 4 experiences were excruciating, losses to the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Washington Redskins and San Francisco 49ers by a combined score of 163-50 and each setback were worse than the next.
But this game belonged to the Broncos and Davis (the game’s Most Valuable Player), who would finish with 157 yards rushing and three scores, the last of those one-yard touchdown runs coming with just 1:45 to remaining and assisted by Holmgren, who allowed Denver to score so his team could get the ball back with enough time to tie the game. But the Packers’ final drive would end at the Broncos’ 31-yard line and the upset was complete.
Of course, Elway and company would come back a year later and successfully defend their Super Bowl title, defeating the Atlanta Falcons at Miami. As previously mentioned, it proved to be the final season for the Broncos signal-caller. Ironically, 1998 also proved to be the rookie season for Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, who has now teamed with Elway (Denver’s executive vice president of football operations) to bring back a championship to the Mile High City.
Still, there’s something about winning that first title that was special. And there was certainly something magical that day in San Diego when Elway and the Broncos got all of those monkeys off their collective backs.
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