Contact CU Independent Copy Editor Jared Funk-Breay at Jared.firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on twitter @jaredfunkbreay.
If someone asked me at any point in my life before Sunday what I wanted before I die, the Denver Broncos winning the Super Bowl would be on the top of that list. Above finding love. Above finding a career. Above anything else.
Is that crazy? Yes. Is it irrational? Absolutely. It’s something you can’t explain without being part of it.
For those faithful to the Rocky Mountain region, Broncos football is a way of life ingrained since birth. The goal of winning is communal. It’s something you have no control of, yet makes you feel like you’re part of something bigger than yourself.
Sunday night, the championship dream became reality (and I can now die happy). While it might have been an ugly game from a national point of view, it was the most beautiful thing Denver fans ever did see.
The game’s MVP, Von Miller (who may as well be crowned a living god in Colorado at this point) led the Broncos defense, putting on a performance for the ages. His efforts held the NFL’s highest-scoring offense to just 10 points, and tied a Super Bowl record — seven sacks against Carolina MVP Cam Newton.
Peyton Manning certainly has had better games in his career, but after carrying so many teams over the years, it was quite fitting to have one carry him for a change (on what many are deeming his final ride). His stat line (12-22, 141 yards, 1 INT, 0 TDs) was eerily similar to John Elway’s in Super Bowl XXXII (12-22, 122 yards, 1 INT, 0 TDs), proving there is more to a football team than who starts at quarterback.
The Panthers were often referred to as “the most complete team in the NFL,” coming into the game with a highly-ranked offense and defense. A team that could do close to nothing on offense wouldn’t stand a chance, according to basic logic. But Denver did do close to nothing, amassing only 194 yards, an all-time low for Super Bowl winners. It proved to be good enough.
Those who doubted the Broncos’ chances simply ignored how dominant Denver’s No. 1-ranked defense was. The argument that Carolina’s D, although very good in its own right, was just as good as Denver’s didn’t hold up. The Broncos forced four turnovers, all of them monumental, either stopping a Panthers’ score or helping the Broncos put up points for themselves. The game was ugly throughout, like nearly every Broncos game this year has been.
Their performance rivals the likes of the 1985 Bears, the 2002 Buccaneers and the 2013 Seahawks. But none of those defenses had as poor of an offense as Denver did (the three above teams averaged 45.66 points in their Super Bowls), making this year’s defense extra special.
What’s so strange about a Super Bowl victory is there is no “what is there to look forward to now?” or “what’s next?” This is it. This is the pinnacle. The Broncos have accomplished the most difficult and important thing you can do in the sport. So soak it up Broncos fans. Your team did what everyone said it couldn’t. Denver has won Super Bowl 50.