Got a bad feeling about this.
Likely the reason is a predisposition to witnessing disaster, or a fear of experiencing déjà vu all over again. Whatever. Every time the mind gets a break and starts to wander in the direction of Sunday’s Super Bowl 50, one, unmistakable image comes to mind:
The Denver Broncos getting their butts positively kicked from Santa Clara, Calif., to Kingdom Come.
Unfair? Maybe. Off base? Possibly.
Thing is, that tale has played out so often that the brain cells are having a hard time letting it go. They can discard just about anything else in a split second. But the Broncos blowing chunks in the Big One? Nah, no way.
Look, we all love the happy ending script to John Elway’s tenure as quarterback in Orange & Blue that seemed to come out of Hollywood’s corniest division. After years of heartache, sometimes in an embarrassing fashion, the surefire Hall of Famer was able to walk off into the proverbial sunset with back-to-back championships in tow, the latter of which was secured with Horse Face’s own MVP-earning effort.
It was nice, uplifting, brings a smile to the face stuff.
But it never erased the organization’s pathetic Super Bowl history prior to that, an experience log that seemed to get worse with each passing entry.
In 1978, the Broncos lost to Dallas 27-10. In 1987, they lost to the Giants 39-20. In 1988, they lost to Washington 42-10. In 1990, they lost to San Francisco 55-10.
Ugly never looked so damn ugly.
Elway’s 1998-99 Title de Force was a wonderful reprieve, a break from what had become all too common and, quite frankly, dreaded so much by the masses that they really, truly, heavens to Betsy, never wanted to see Denver in the NFL’s signature event again. Ever.
Fast forward 15 years from then, and it was like that two-year run was nothing more than an oasis mistakenly plopped into an abyss of overmatched, outcoached drudgery in the ultimate prime time.
If anything, it duped so many into thinking the Broncos not only would compete with Seattle, but systematically pick the Seahawks apart. By now, snickering over that should be in a no-limit zone.
Then again, it should have been back then, too.
Not for nothing, but was it really that surprising when the Broncos botched a snap on the opening play from scrimmage, resulting in a safety for Seattle that kickstarted a 43-8 whuppin’ of Denver that may have surpassed any of its previous beatdowns?
Seriously, we all should have seen that coming … even with Peyton Manning at the height of his immobile powers for the Broncos.
If anything, much the same likely looms against the Carolina Panthers this Sunday.
Only Manning, now lacking any zip at all to his previously zip-light arm, actually showed more athleticism in the AFC title game two weeks ago that he had since, well, ever in hustling and diving to a 12-yard run for one first down, and he does have the NFL’s top-ranked defense to back him up.
Still, this is Denver. We already know the deal.
Or at least our gut does. It’ ll be ugly ... even if the Broncos win.
- Jack Kerwin | firstname.lastname@example.org
BREAKING 'EM DOWN
With Super Bowl 50 looming Sunday in Santa Clara, Calif., here is a look at the highlights and lowlights of the NFL's main event through the years. Take note how "involved" the latest combatants were in the past, both pro and con:
A THANK GOD IT'S OVER 13
1967 | Packers 35, Chiefs 10
1972 | Cowboys 24, Dolphins 3
1978 | Cowboys 27, Broncos 10
1984 | Raiders 38, Redskins 9
1985 | 49ers 38, Dolphins 16
1986 | Bears 46, Patriots 10
1987 | Giants 39, Broncos 20
1988 | Redskins 42, Broncos 10
1990 | 49ers 55, Broncos 10
1993 | Cowboys 52, Bills 17
2001 | Ravens 34, Giants 7
2003 | Buccaneers 48, Raiders 21
2014 | Seahawks 43, Broncos 8
A TERRIFIC 12
1976 | Steelers 21, Cowboys 17
1979 | Steelers 35, Cowboys 31
1989 | 49ers 20, Bengals 16
1991 | Giants 20, Bills 19
1998 | Broncos 31, Packers 24
2000 | Rams 23, Titans 16
2004 | Patriots 32, Panthers 29
2008 | Giants 17, Patriots 14
2009 | Steelers 27, Cardinals 23
2011 | Packers 31, Steelers 25
2012 | Giants 21, Patriots 17
2015 | Patriots 28, Seahawks 24
Roseman back in charge
Wentz crazy kinda ... crazy
Carolina QB likes to celebrate
Did Belichick have a brain fart?
NFL's greatest QB of all time
OK, time to sound the alarm
Fans' No. 1 target should be owner
Birds' coach-hire process a joke
Jaws' involvement not comforting