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Broncos Embracing Role As Super Bowl Underdogs

By Mark Schiff

Super Bowl week is in full swing and while the circus continues throughout the Bay Area, the Broncos are all business. Here are a few highlights from the team’s Wednesday press conference with reporters.

Peyton recognizes the importance of the Super Bowl for those around him

As one of the greatest players of all time, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has been able to take part in four Super Bowls. And while he remains steadfast in his refusal to address the conjecture about whether or not Super Bowl 50 will be his final game, he did talk about how special the event is for the many people that have played a part in his football journey.

“I think it is important to always try to remember to keep things in perspective,” Manning told reporters Wednesday. “This is certainly a big game. [Denver Head] Coach [Gary] Kubiak talks about that a lot, about trying to keep things in perspective. This is a great opportunity for us as players, but there is also a lot of family members and friends that get to participate in this game as well. [Kubiak] has encouraged us to embrace that. To make the people that have supported us all along throughout our football careers a part of this as well. There is no question when you play in the Super Bowl that you are playing for your teammates, you are playing for the Broncos organization, but I also feel that you are playing for your family, your friends, for your hometown, for your high school football coach and for your university. I am proud to be playing for a lot of those people.”

Vernon Davis talks return to San Francisco

Although he’s only been a minor part of Denver’s offense since the team acquired him in a trade with the 49ers at the trade deadline, tight end Vernon Davis appreciates his opportunity to return to San Francisco for the Super Bowl.

“The trade did [work out well],” Davis told reporters. “Like I said, whenever you are in a situation where things don’t seem to be going your way and it seems like you are off course, you have to reach deep down inside and remember that everything works out for the good. In this case, it worked out for me. I am sitting here. I knew before I got here that it would be a special season.”

Davis also said that his familiarity with the stadium will be to his benefit on Sunday.

“It is great. I feel like I am in my backyard. This place is very familiar to me. It is a great opportunity,” Davis said. However, Davis -- who played in Super Bowl XLVII with the 49ers -- stopped short of saying his understanding of the facilities, and especially the field, will provide him with a competitive advantage.

“The Super Bowl is the Super Bowl. It doesn’t matter where you are playing at,” Davis said. “You have to take your game to the next level.”

Broncos use underdog status as motivation

It’s not exactly a secret that Denver’s No. 1-ranked defense is the biggest reason they’re playing in Super Bowl 50. And yet to hear the players tell it, the unit still isn’t getting the respect they deserve. And that’s just fine by them.

"I mean, we’ve been underdogs all year. At the same time, we’ve kind of bought into that mode,” cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said. “People still don’t talk about the D like I think they should be talking but we bought into the underdog role and it’s something we feed off of."

Harris also said he feels as if the Panthers defense is stealing the spotlight this week.

“Definitely think we’re getting under-dogged on the defense,” Harris told reporters. “People really, truly, I don’t think they’ve analyzed everything that we’ve done on defense this whole year. So I definitely think they should go back and check it."

Yet the skeptics and naysayers are a big part of the fuel that the Broncos have used to propel themselves to Super Bowl 50.

"It just gives us more motivation, I mean, especially versus the Patriots,” Harris said. “We see how much we’ve been covered and Brady’s going to shred us apart so that just gave us even more motivation. So now we came into this week, ‘we can’t do anything defensively to stop these guys on offense’ and ‘they’re too good for us.’ That’s what we’ve been hearing all week so we just add that as motivation."

Von Miller talks taking on Cam Newton

One of the most intriguing storylines of the Super Bowl is that of Cam Newton and Von Miller, the first and second overall picks of the 2011 draft, respectively. On Wednesday, Miller spoke about the respect he has for Newton.

“The relationship that me and Cam have – it’s a unique opportunity to go against a great quarterback, another great in the National Football League,” Miller said. “It has the makings to be a great game. We have a great defense, they have a great offense.”

Miller also talked about Newton’s capacity to “raise all boats,” as John Elway once said of Peyton Manning.

“I think his biggest attribute would have to be his ability to make other guys play at a level that they normally wouldn't play (at),” Miller said. “If you look at the offense, they have talented players, but all these guys haven’t been playing at this level before. Cam has had a great season. He has risen the level of the Panthers, and I think that’s an outstanding job. I think that shows the type of leader and the type of player that he is.”

Mark Schiff is a freelance writer and music journalist for In 2013, his coverage of the Seattle Seahawks ended in heartbreak when they defeated the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl. Now covering his beloved hometown team, his knowledge and passion for pro football has resulted in multiple fantasy football championships. Find him on Twitter at @mihilites.

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