By Rich Kurtzman
The Denver Broncos are heading to the Super Bowl.
For one of the most fortuitous football franchises, this trip to New York for Super Bowl XLVIII has ended Denver’s longest drought without an appearance in the sport’s biggest game since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. First making a Super Bowl in 1977 – Super Bowl XII, a loss to the Dallas Cowboys – the Broncos went to the championship game in every decade until the 2000s, and it has been a total of 15 years since beating the Atlanta Falcons 35-19 in XXXIII.
Over that decade and a half, Denver went through 11 different starting quarterbacks between John Elway and those back-to-back Vince Lombardi Trophies and Peyton Manning and this trip. In fact, it’s amazing how far the team has come since their terrible 2010 season, going 4-12, to now represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.
When the big game kicks off on Feb. 2, the Broncos will wear their predominantly orange jerseys for the first time since 1989, and they’ve gone 0-3 all-time in that color, losing by an average of 31.3 points per game. In their alternate white, Denver’s gone 1-1 and a perfect 1-0 in their Super Bowl XXXII victory. Their adversaries, the Seattle Seahawks, will wear their alternate white jerseys.
It was also announced on Tuesday that Terry McAulay will referee the game, leading a crew of seven officials with a collective 110 years of NFL officiating experience. Together, they’ve officiated 76 playoff games. The NFL has given the nod to some of their best on the big stage as each must be rated in the top tier of their positions to be a candidate to work the Super Bowl. McAulay was also the referee for Super Bowls XXXIX and XLIII.
Another announcement came on Tuesday in the form of the Super Bowl’s National Anthem singer. It will be “world-renowned soprano Renee Flemming,” per the NFL’s press release. Bruno Mars and special guest the Red Hot Chili Peppers will perform during halftime, with the actual football game being sandwiched in between the musical performances as well as new, multi-million dollar advertisements.
And a bit of Super Bowl fever south of Denver: CBS4’s Mark Neitro tweeted this picture of the Castle Rock Star lit up in Broncos orange and blue.
For more news and updates about the NFL Playoffs, visit NFL Playoffs Central.
Rich Kurtzman is a Denver native, Colorado State University alumnus, sports nerd, athletics enthusiast, and competition junkie. Currently writing for a multitude of websites while working on books, one on the history of the Denver Broncos and Mile High Stadium. Rich is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.