The Paw Print
Finally! The Denver Broncos of Colorado have returned to the Super Bowl for the first time in 15 years. For many a devoted Denver fan it has been much too long since the great John Elway led our beloved Broncos in a thrashing of the Atlanta Falcons for our last title in 1999 at Super Bowl XXXIII. Let us all give thanks for this awesome event that will surely make 2014 the best year in a while and stoke our fire for the rest of the spring semester. However, before all of us rowdy Broncos fans start the celebration, a thorough analysis of the task at hand is due.
For those of you who have been loyal professional football fans in the Greatest of the Rocky Mountain States for a while, the opponent on February 2nd is a familiar foe. In fact, the Seattle Seahawks had been a fierce regular division foe up until 2002 when they switched conferences and joined the NFC West. After making the crossover, the Hawks would go on to see their first major playoff success since 1984 in 2005 when they were NFC Champions and lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl. Interestingly, this was also the last time that the Broncos advanced beyond the divisional round when Jake Plummer and John Lynch lost to Pittsburgh in that year’s AFC championship game in Denver.
This Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVIII matchup will see the rare pairing of each divisions number 1 seeds compete for the coveted Vince Lombardi trophy. As former rivals, this matchup will no doubt stir up memories of the 1990’s AFC meetings where two teams with some of the most devoted fans in the NFL would give their all. It is no secret how much the Broncos are appreciated in Colorado and as demonstrated by their notorious “12th man,” Seattle fans have been equal in their support. Furthermore, the support for both teams in Border States is unrivaled throughout the league as the Hawks garner support from the Pacific Northwest states and Alaska and the Broncs from the Rocky Mountain States as well as Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma.
Getting down to the nitty gritty, success Sunday will go to the team that makes the least mistakes and can take control of the game where it matters in all levels of football: the trenches. Peyton Manning and the #1 offense will need to impose their will on the #1 ranked defense of Seattle, with Pro Bowler Mike Sherman leading a vaunted secondary. If Knowshon Moreno and Montee ball can find some space behind pro bowler Louis Vazquez and crew, the rest of the offense will see opportunities open up in the passing game. On the flip side of the coin, a battered Denver Defense will need to put pressure on Russell Wilson and hit the off button on Marshawn Lynchs’ “Beast Mode.” While missing Vonn Miller and Chris Harris will no doubt affect how well Denver matches up with Seattle offensively, experience in the form of veteran Champ Bailey, who will no doubt be playing his heart out, will inspire the squad.
It has been a long time coming for many of us here in Bronco country, and we are due for another title. Whether you have been a Broncos fan since diapers or jumped on the bandwagon this year, go out and find yourself some fellow fanatics to get rowdy with this Sunday. This has been a great year for Denver fans already and now all we need is for Peyton to become the first quarterback to win a Super Bowl with 2 different teams in the Orange and Blue. Goooooooooo BRONCOS!!!