|06-02-2007, 01:30 AM||#1|
Join Date: Apr 2006
The Good Times
Elway, AFC Finally Have Super Moment
By Richard Justice
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 26, 1998; Page D1
SAN DIEGO, Jan. 25 — John Elway led the biggest drive of his marvelous career, and the Denver Broncos erased two decades of frustration with a 31-24 upset of the Green Bay Packers tonight in Super Bowl XXXII.
If if wasn't the most dramatic or unexpected Super Bowl upset in history, it was one that brought together a swirl of emotions. The Broncos had been 0-4 in the Super Bowl. Elway had been 0-3 in the Super Bowl. And the AFC entered the game with 13 consecutive Super Bowl losses.
"We shocked the world," Broncos tight end Shannon Sharpe said. "But we didn't shock the Denver Broncos. We knew."
In the end, none of those things mattered. Denver running back Terrell Davis rushed for 157 yards against one of the NFL's best defenses, and the Denver defense forced three turnovers and used an array of blitzes to throw Packers quarterback Brett Favre off his stride.
Davis won the game's MVP trophy and became the first player in Super Bowl history to run for three touchdowns. His performance was even more impressive because he missed the entire second quarter with a migraine.
"Maybe they watched too much television," Davis said of the Packers. "Maybe they believed we were a weaker AFC team. I think we enjoyed our role."
His one-yard touchdown run with 1 minute 45 seconds remaining broke a 24-24 tie. Moments later, Favre's final pass hit the ground, and Elway and the Broncos began a celebration of laughter and tears.
"We played our hearts out," Broncos linebacker Bill Romanowski said. "We had an awesome game plan. They have a real good football team, but we did it."
The Broncos entered the game as 11˝-point underdogs, and in the days leading up to Super Bowl XXXII, Elway and other Broncos had been forced to answer question after question about the possibility of another loss.
He doesn't have to answer anymore. Green Bay's three turnovers were as many as NFC teams had in the three previous Super Bowls combined.
Packers quarterback Brett Favre (pictured), the league's most valuable player, threw three touchdown passes, but he was not his usual self, completing just 25 of 42 passes as the Broncos put intense pressure on him from the start.
He threw just one interception, but the Broncos dropped at least three other potential interceptions.
"As Brett goes, we go," Packers Coach Mike Holmgren said. "It's unfortunate to have the world on his shoulder. But when you play quarterback for us, that's the way it goes. It's football. The ball bounces funny sometimes, and you don't always win."
In previous years, the Broncos were only going to go as far as Elway could take them. Tonight, he was only a bit player, completing just 12 of 22 passes for 123 yards and no touchdowns. He completed just two passes to wide receivers — both to Ed McCaffrey.
The statistics notwithstanding, this victory was for Elway, who has said this might be his final season. For 15 seasons, he has put together a Hall of Fame resume that had just one negative — zero championships.
After accepting the Lombardi Trophy, Broncos owner Pat Bowlen held it aloft and yelled: "This one's for John."
"I can't believe it," Elway said. "I'm so proud that this team came together. We did it the hard way. For all those Bronco fans that never had this feeling, we finally got it done."
The Broncos did it the hardest way possible, making the playoffs as a wild-card entrant. They became only the second wild-card team to win a Super Bowl.
After defeating Jacksonville at home in the first round of the playoffs, the Broncos went on the road to beat Kansas City and Pittsburgh to get here.
The Broncos absorbed Green Bay's best punches all evening. But again and again, they counter-punched. They forced two early turnovers to take a 17-7 lead. The Packers eventually tied it 17-17 early in the second half.
The Broncos got the lead back, 24-17, on another Davis touchdown run, but the Packers answered with Favre throwing a 13-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Freeman early in the fourth quarter.
Finally, with the game tied at 24-24, Elway led a 49-yard drive for the game-winning touchdown. He completed a 23-yard pass to fullback Howard Griffith, and the Packers were called for a pair of costly penalties for 25 yards.
Davis did the rest, picking up gains of 19 yards on three carries.
Green Bay got a final opportunity, with Favre leading the Packers from their 30 to the Denver 31.
But his fourth-down pass was knocked down by linebacker John Mobley, and the Rocky Mountain celebration began.
"When that last ball hit the ground," Elway said, "it was unbelievable."
Green Bay sprinted out of the starting blocks, going 76 yards on eight plays for a 7-0 lead, with Favre throwing 13 yards to Freeman for the touchdown.
It was the kind of start the Broncos feared, but they responded beautifully, going 58 yards on 10 plays to tie it 7-7. Davis scored on the first of three one-yard runs for the tie.
Then the Broncos got their first turnover when Favre overthrew Robert Brooks moments later. He didn't find Brooks, and safety Tyrone Braxton made a nice diving interception, giving the Broncos the ball at the Green Bay 45-yard line.
The Broncos took advantage of the mistake, going the 45 yards on eight plays for a 14-7 lead. Elway scored the touchdown on a one-yard run on the first play of the second quarter.
The Broncos then forced a turnover that pushed the Packers to the edge. On third and five from the Green Bay 34, safety Steve Atwater came free on a blitz and smashed into Favre.
The ball popped free, and defensive end Neil Smith recovered for the Broncos at the Green Bay 33-yard line. Jason Elam kicked a 51-yard field goal to give the Broncos a 17-7 lead with 12:21 left in the second quarter.
The Packers finally came alive just before halftime, grinding out a 17-play, 95-yard drive that ended with tight end Mark Chmura's six-yard touchdown catch with 12 seconds left.
Green Bay got a turnover of its own on the first play of the second half when Davis fumbled at the Denver 26-yard line.
Seven plays later, Ryan Longwell's 27-yard field goal tied it 17-17 with 11:59 remaining in the third quarter.
But the Broncos hung in and finally mustered another touchdown drive at the end of the third quarter for a 24-17 lead. Denver went 92 yards on 13 plays, with Davis scoring again.
Favre's 13-yard touchdown pass to Freeman tied it at 24 with 13:32 left in the game. But the Broncos had one final drive with them.
"It's not even real yet," Davis said. "It hasn't registered."
|06-02-2007, 03:12 PM||#4|
3,631 - WAKE UP!!!!
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: San Diego
|06-02-2007, 08:58 PM||#8|
Tebowing the long haul
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: TX, USA
That wasnt that long ago, folks. It's good to remember how consistently we Broncos fans were humbled by brutal losses in the playoffs.
|06-02-2007, 10:50 PM||#9|
I WANT DEFENSE!
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Always Hoping
|06-03-2007, 07:17 AM||#10|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Jul 2006
davis was indeed the mvp of that game in my mind. we don't win it without him and the fact he put up those numbers in only 3 qtrs of play is amazing.
however, i agree atwater was amazing and i wouldn't have balked at him being named mvp. he had so many big hits that game. freaking awesome, i loved the guy.
i remember going into that one, i was just praying we wouldn't get embarrased again. GB scored first on the opening drive i was like "****, here we go again". greatest game ever for me, nothing will ever replace it for everything that lead up to it in previous seasons and for what it meant to the fans and the orginization.