Manning: A chance of lifetime
By ARNIE STAPLETON
AP Pro Football Writer
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Peyton Manning is the only player in this Super Bowl who has won the big game.
He’s also lost one.
So, he knows both the elation of putting his fingerprints on the Lombardi Trophy and the anguish of watching it slip through his grasp, and he admonished his Denver Broncos teammates not to cut corners as they prepare to face the Seattle Seahawks on Feb. 2.
“I think the biggest thing he’s said is eliminate distractions, making sure you’re taking care of the little details, doing extra, watching film, working out, getting your body right,” receiver Eric Decker said.
“And then I think the biggest thing is he says he’s won one, he’s lost one. And it’s a complete high; it’s a complete low. So, really understand to give everything you’ve got because this is the last game of the year.”
Tight end Jacob Tamme was also Manning’s teammate in Indianapolis when the Colts lost to the Saints in the Super Bowl in 2010.
“It’s an empty feeling,” Tamme said. “I mean, you’re certainly proud of what you did to get that far. But it’s an empty feeling to get to this game and not win it. So, we’re going to prepare hard and do everything we can to let it loose on Sunday and just play our best ball. That’s all we can do, just play our best ball. We know we’ve got a stiff challenge.”
Wes Welker caught 11 passes for 103 yards for New England in the Super Bowl following the 2007 season, but the Patriots’ shot at perfection ended when Manning’s brother, Eli, threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress with 35 seconds left to give the Giants a 17-14 win.
Welker said Friday that’s the lowest point of his career and the driving force in his life.
“I think it’s the reason I get up in the morning in the offseason and even now,” he said. “We’re close again and I’m just trying to make the most of it.”
Broncos cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie nearly won a ring with the 2008 Arizona Cardinals, when he had five solo tackles and broke up two passes against Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl only to watch Ben Roethlisberger’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes with 35 seconds left give Pittsburgh a 27-23 victory.
DRC said he’s “excited, anxious, nervous, ready to get there” for his second chance at the ultimate prize.
None of the Seattle Seahawks have ever played in a Super Bowl, the first team with zero previous Super Bowl experience since the Bills lost to the Giants in 1991.
Besides the four Broncos who have played in the Super Bowl, three of their coaches have won rings: defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio (linebackers coach for Baltimore in 2000), offensive consultant Alex Gibbs (O-line coach in Denver 1997-98) and secondary coach Cory Undlin (defensive assistant with Patriots in 2004).
Of course, Executive Vice President John Elway has two rings from the back-to-back titles he won in the late 1990s following three trips to the Super Bowl that ended in losses.
“We’ve got some guys who know the drill and are trying to pass down whatever little bits of wisdom they’ve been able to and hopefully we’ll take advantage of that,” Tamme said. “It’s all about this one. It’s about the preparation for this game and how we go out and play come next Sunday. That’s the bottom line.”
Notes: RB Knowshon Moreno said he was relieved X-rays after the AFC title game showed only bruised ribs and no fractures. “I knew it wasn’t anything crazy,” he said. “Feels good, it’s getting better so I’ll be ready to go. You can play through anything, especially in a game like this.” Moreno was limited Friday for the second straight day of practice. … Welker said he was “never really worried” about getting fined for his hit that knocked Patriots CB Aqib Talib out of the AFC Championship even though Bill Belichick complained about it. Welker declined to respond to Belichick’s comments that Welker’s hit, which didn’t draw a flag, was one of the worst plays he’d seen in 39 years of coaching. “I don’t really have any reaction,” Welker said. “I’m just happy we won the game and happy about going to the Super Bowl.”
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