The Denver Broncos are getting ready to play in Super Bowl XLVIII against the Seattle Seahawks. This is the final goal of the team’s 2013 season. With a win, the Broncos can put a finishing touch on arguably the greatest single-season performance from an offense in NFL history.
The team has been talking about a Super Bowl since May. Ever since team minicamp opened up, the Broncos have been openly stating their intention for this season. This is a bit unusual because many don’t like to talk about (or elude to the fact) there being an actual game called the Super Bowl.
John Fox always says, “When you expect a lot, you get a lot.” The Broncos have had the highest expectations for themselves all year long. In fact, they’ve been very open about their expectations for this year after losing in the divisional round of the playoffs last season.
Heading into Super Bowl week, here’s what some of the Broncos are saying.
Fox was asked earlier this week if the Super Bowl has set in for him: “Yeah I think you prepare for most everything. I spent most of my morning going through logistics in New York and the practice schedule this week, our practice schedule for next week. There is a lot of planning that is involved. It has to sink in pretty fast because you have to make a lot of plans.”
From the sounds of his answer, it seems like Fox is ready for the challenge.
The team is going to face off against Pete Carroll and the Seahawks. When asked about his opponent, Fox had this to say. “I know they’re a great football team. I think [head coach] Pete Carroll and his staff have done a terrific job. We haven’t dug into them too in-depth yet, but any time you reach a championship game—the world championship game—I think usually the opponent is pretty good.”
This is a matchup we’ve seen before, as the Seahawks and Broncos faced off against each other in the preseason. It was a game that Seattle took very seriously while the starters were on the field. At halftime, the score was 33-7 in favor of Seattle.
Fox made it clear that they could learn from that game. “I think you take something away from every experience. It’ll be something we look at and I’m sure they look at. We’ve got plenty of time to look at a lot of tape—there is a full-season of tape out there on both teams.”
Who is the biggest X-factor for the Broncos in the Super Bowl?
The Seahawks defense is going to be tough to beat. One player who could be the X-factor for the Broncos is tight end Julius Thomas.
Leading up to the Super Bowl, Thomas says the team has a strong mindset: “Just excited. A lot of hard work goes into getting to this position. Some people think it starts in September, but for us it starts way back in April. We put in a lot of extra time and we do so much to focus and try to go out there to play so well as a team.”
Thomas continued, “To know that you’re one of the last two teams left in this tournament—it’s a great feeling. So we’re definitely excited.”
Thomas will be a tough matchup for the Seahawks, but he also knows facing them presents its own set of challenges. “It’s the Super Bowl, so it’s going to be tough. Nothing is going to come easy. I’m pretty sure you’re going to see two teams playing as physical as possible. This is for all the marbles, so I’m pretty sure it will be a tough game all around.”
He has been difficult to cover all season long because he’s too big for safeties to cover and too fast for linebackers to keep up with. Even though he makes it look easy, Thomas knows nothing in the NFL is easy. “Nothing is easy, definitely nothing is easy. I put a lot of time in in practice, but that’s something that I’m going to pride myself on—is being tough to cover.”
Thomas continued, “There are so many difficult things you have to do out there—bring your tough looks and you’re going to go up against tough defenders—but if I can make it a little bit easier on our team by making sure I get open or trying to get open as quickly as possible, it’s definitely something I continue to keep on trying to highlight.”
The Broncos defense is going to have to shut down the Seahawks ground game (or at least slow it down) if they want to win it all. That means containing Marshawn Lynch must be the team’s top priority.
Danny Trevathan shared his initial thoughts about the matchup earlier this week. “Marshawn Lynch. That was the first person that came to mind. I grew up watching him. I played running back a little bit so I grew up watching him a little bit. I see the way their offense—they’re athletic all around the board. If they get the running game going, they can really get going.”
Trevathan continued, “They play within their scheme. They play with the people that they have. They use them to their strengths. We’ve got to be prepared for this. This is a powerhouse. Their defense is live, their offense is live. They can get going anytime. We’ve got to prepare for everything. It’s going to be a good Super Bowl.”
The young linebacker has really grown as a player this season. There are many Broncos fans who feel he’s the best player on the defensive side of the ball.
When asked about his play this year, Trevathan said this. “I’m just a defender, man. I’m out here—whenever I’m out there, I’m going to be out there. My defense is with me and I’m with my defense. There is nobody standing out on this defense. We love each other.” He continued, “Whoever gets the shine, gets the shine. But we’re just grinding. A lot of people were talking about us in the regular season. Now we’re here, they want to say this and that. But we’re just going to continue to play our game, let them talk.”
That sense of family has been around all season. After the AFC Championship Game, on the No BS Broncos Post Game Show on ESPN Denver, Trevathan told me he’d die for his teammates.
Lammey (@cecillammey) January 19, 2014
This team has had a clear intention from Day 1—win the Super Bowl. Now that they've have put themselves in position to do just that, the Broncos will prepare to cap off this historic season with a third Lombardi Trophy for the franchise.
The Broncos know they won’t have it easy against a ferocious team like the Seahawks. However, this team will play with a chip on its shoulder to prove it's not a finesse team. In the end, that attitude and determination could put the Broncos over the top.
Note: All quotes and injury/practice observations obtained firsthand. Record/statistical information provided via email from the Denver Broncos.
Cecil Lammey can be followed on Twitter @CecilLammey.