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Broncos Can Use His Help

January 18, 1998|MIKE DOWNEY

"Somehow, we have not been ready in all phases to handle the Super Bowl. We haven't been ready mentally, physically or spiritually.

"We are not the football team that is ready to be world champions. How many times do you have to be there before you ARE ready?"

--Dan Reeves, coach, Denver Broncos, 1988

Dan, I don't know.


I feel so sorry for Denver. Don't you? Doesn't everybody? Wouldn't you like to see Denver finally win the big game? Wouldn't it be like seeing Elmer Fudd finally outwit Bugs Bunny? Wouldn't it be like the Congressional Medal of Honor finally going to Gomer Pyle?

I like Denver. Denver is a place surrounded by tall, immovable objects made of stone . . . you know, the Nuggets. I like Denver's baseball park, Coors Field, because if I played 162 games there, I could hit 62 home runs. I like Denver's airport, because it is so quiet, because I am pretty sure it's in Salt Lake City.

If only Denver could win a Super Bowl, gosh, everybody there would feel 10 feet tall . . . which would put them up to 5,290 feet, and sucking for air.

All you need to know about Denver is that Los Angeles has won more Super Bowls than Denver has, and we don't have a team.

Maybe I can help.

I would like to aid the Broncos in Super Bowl XXXII, physically, mentally and spiritually.

Going through the archives--Super Bowls XII, XXI, XXII and XXIV, in which Denver was outscored, 163-50--I have retraced the team's steps. I don't want the Broncos to repeat their mistakes. Because if they do, Green Bay is going to win, and Vince Lombardi is going to be grinning in heaven through a mile-high gap in his teeth.

So, Broncos:

1. Be nice to the Packers.

Fraternize. If you see a Wisconsin boy, buy him a drink, non-dairy.

In the days before Super Bowl XXIV, a bunch of Broncos bumped into some San Francisco players in the French Quarter district. The 49ers offered to buy a round. The Broncos offered to tell the 49ers what they could do with their offer.

"To be honest, I think it ticked some of our guys off," 49er quarterback Joe Montana said. "It probably was a good thing for us. It set a tone."

A San Francisco 55, Denver 10 tone.

2. Change hotels on Saturday.

Get out of there. I don't care if you have to sleep in a Tijuana YMCA. Don't do what you did last time in San Diego, on Super Bowl Eve.

"The lobby was a zoo," Reeves said.

Sure, it was. San Diego is known for it.

"Fans were everywhere. We had tried to find a different hotel to move the team to that Saturday night, but we couldn't find any within an hour's drive."

Good game plan.

3. Don't check out too early.

Anxious about traffic, the Broncos didn't hit any.

They got to San Diego's stadium three hours before Sunday's game. They stretched out on the floor, trying to sleep. They sat around, watching senior golf on TV, which could put anybody to sleep.

Washington 42, Denver 10.

4. Don't get too pumped up.

At Super Bowl XII, their first, the Broncos ran onto the field a-hoppin' and a-boppin', like an "Up With People" halftime show.

Cowboy tackle Jethro Pugh said, "I never saw a bunch of football players so excited."

Bronco quarterback Craig Morton threw four interceptions, was sacked twice, and, I believe, twice ran to the Dallas sideline, seeking political asylum.

Dallas 27, Denver 10.

5. Do something new.

Super Bowl XXI, first-and-goal from the New York Giant one.

John Elway bootlegs for the right pylon. Lawrence Taylor drops him. Gerald Willhite goes over right guard. Harry Carson stops him. Sammy Winder runs around left end. Carl Banks pops him. Banks says later, "They ran exactly the same plays when we played them in November."

New York 39, Denver 20.

Well, you know what they say.

It's not whether you win or lose, it's how often you play the game (and lose).

"Being a Christian and being a person who loves people, I honestly felt sorry for the Denver Broncos after a while," said Bubba Paris, a 49er lineman, the last time Denver was in a Super Bowl.

Thanks, Bubba. Persons who love people are the luckiest persons in the world.

Let's all say a little prayer today for the Denver Broncos, that the Green Bay Packers get caught in traffic.


Denver Broncos in Super Bowl


Dallas Cowboys 27

Denver Broncos 10

* Quarterback Craig Morton led the Bronco offense, which scored its only points in the third quarter. Denver never got closer than 13-3. The most memorable play came in the third quarter when Butch Johnson made a diving catch in the end zone to complete a 45-yard touchdown pass from Roger Staubach and put the Cowboys ahead, 20-3.


New York Giants 39

Denver Broncos 20

* Broncos held a 10-9 halftime lead before quarterback Phil Simms led the Giants to a 30-point second half. Simms completed 22 of 25 for 268 yards, including three touchdown passes, and was unanimously voted the most valuable player.


Washington Redskins 42

Denver Broncos 10

* John Elway threw a 56-yard touchdown pass to Ricky Nattiel on the Broncos' first play from scrimmage and Rich Karlis kicked a 24-yard field goal on the next possession to take a 10-0 lead. The Redskins, with the greatest quarter in NFL playoff history, scored 35 points in the second to overwhelm the Broncos. MVP quarterback Doug Williams set a record with 340 yards passing and also had four touchdown passes. Timmy Smith, a rookie who gained 126 yards for the entire season, rushed for a record 204 yards.


San Francisco 49ers 55

Denver Broncos 10

* The most lopsided Super Bowl victory. San Francisco quarterback Joe Montana had a record five touchdown passes, three to Jerry Rice (seven receptions, 148 yards). Montana also set five Super Bowl career records, including his third Super Bowl MVP award, and San Francisco's point total was the highest in a Super Bowl.

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