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article imageOp-Ed: A Bronco fan's lament

By Robert Weller     Feb 3, 2014 in Sports
East Rutherford - “Seasick.” A one-word headline on the Denver Post seemed to say it all. No doubt many Denver Broncos fans felt that way watching their team be crushed by the Seattle Seahawks, or would feel that way when they woke up.
And the Mile High City is a town used to disappointment. The Broncos, or Donkeys as they are sometimes called, lost four Super Bowls before finally winning one.
The 43-8 loss to the Seahawks wasn’t even the worst defeat. That was administered by Joe Montana and the San Francisco 49ers in 1990, 55-10.
But there was less shame losing to Montana, Jerry Rice and fabled West Coast offense, especially when the Broncos were known as John Elway and the 10 dwarves.
A hockey team moved to Denver from Quebec in 1995 and won a Stanley Cup in their first season. The pressure was on.
Elway was facing the same legacy questions Manning had before this weekend’s humiliation.
But the aging quarterback, still a gifted athlete, teamed up with running back Terrell Davis to give Denver its first Super Bowl in 1998. And they won the next year. Fans wanted Elway to keep playing but he retired. Davis was sidelined with injuries and the Broncos glory days appeared over.
A couple of playoff losses that followed, at home, were particularly painful, as Denver had been favored.
One was last year, when a blown coverage led to the fourth seed Baltimore Ravens moving all the way to the Super Bowl and winning.
This year the season opened with an easy victory over a depleted Ravens team, and Peyton Manning was back for a second year.
Injuries hurt but the Broncos were able to find replacements, and as predicted, made it to the Super Bowl.
Manning set records and won a 5th MVP award. His constant changing of plays at the line became the talk of the town. “Hurry, hurry, Omaha.” Time after time he drew teams offside or changed to plays that scored a record number of points.
On Sunday, the first Broncos snap, also the first play from scrimmage, went flying into the end zone. It was recovered but the Seahawks were on their way.
“The Broncos were so bad Sunday, the sun might be embarrassed to show its face in Colorado,” wrote a Denver Post sportswriter. A cold blast of winter air was bringing highs in the teens.
Denver fans who were used to three or even four-touchdown comebacks from Manning figured this would be another comeback.
The Seahawks, as they always do, were pulling on Bronco jerseys and roughing up receivers, but that didn’t explain the fact that the younger team, with no Super Bowl vets, came to play, and Denver watched in awe. Seattle ended its Super Bowl drought with enthusiasm.
It became obvious, when the second half opened with a kickoff run back by the Seahawks, that Denver was outmanned.
Denver turnovers, including three by Manning, hurt.
"They caused a lot of our mistakes," Manning said. "To finish this way is very disappointing. It's a bitter pill to swallow."
Manning’s father, Archie, had predicted before the game his son would be back next year because he is having fun. Manning needs to see if age is catching up with him, as it obviously had with multi-Pro Bowl corner Champ Bailey, who was too slow to defend the younger Seahawk receivers.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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