Broncos’ Terrell Davis: Impact of Super Bowl XXXII is priceless

Leave it to T.D to put the sweet memory into context.

“Even to this day, the coolest part is the way we impacted a lot of Broncos fans,” Hall of Fame running back Terrell Davis said Sunday at Empower Field at Mile High. “Everybody remembers where they were, what happened, and how it impacted their lives.

“To be a part of that, to be able to change and impact people like that is priceless. Until I die, I’m going to have people come up to me and say, ‘Thank you for winning that Super Bowl.’ ”

Super Bowl XXXII to be precise. Broncos 31, Packers 24 on Jan. 25, 1998, at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.

Believe it or not, it’s been almost 25 years — 9,037 days, to be exact — since John Elway helicoptered for a crucial fourth-quarter first down, Davis played through a migraine headache and tore up the Green Bay defense for 157 yards and three touchdowns, and John Mobley broke up Brett Farve’s fourth-down pass intended for Mark Chmura to seal the Broncos’ victory.

All weekend, the Broncos celebrated the silver anniversary of the first of the franchise’s three Super Bowl titles. The celebration began with a cocktail party Friday night, included a five-star dinner at the stadium Saturday night, and culminated with the introduction of players, coaches and front-office personnel during halftime of the Jets-Broncos game on Sunday.

The 1997 dream team included six members of the Hall of Fame: The late Pat Bowlen, the visionary owner; offensive tackle Gary Zimmerman; tight end Shannon Sharpe; safety Steve Atwater; Davis and Elway.

“When you win a championship, the players take over,” coach Mike Shanahan said. “That’s what happened, our players took over. They set a standard and they wanted the guys who were second- and third-team players to meet that standard or they weren’t going to be on our football team. When you have those types of players, you have a chance for good things to happen.”

The Broncos not only won Super Bowl XXXII, but they also repeated the next season, beating Atlanta in the final game of Elway’s career.

On Friday, several former players attended Broncos practice, and current quarterback Russell Wilson asked what made the 1997-98 Broncos so good.

“One of the things I said was, ‘We loved each other,’ ” linebacker Bill Romanowski, 56, said. “I don’t think we were as talented as the Green Bay Packers. Man for man, I think they might have had us, but that day we were the best team. It was because of the guys we had and how we came together. We were not going to be denied.”

The road to Denver’s first Super Bowl victory was not easy.

The Broncos entered the postseason as a wild-card team and had to beat Jacksonville at home and then defeat Kansas City and Pittsburgh on the road in order to make it to San Diego. The Broncos also carried the weight of an 0-4 Super Bowl record (three losses under Elway) and were 12-point underdogs to the Packers. Plus, NFC teams had won 13 consecutive Super Bowls, with three of those victories coming via blowouts against the Broncos.

Nonetheless, the Broncos were quietly confident.

“The thing that I really enjoyed was the character of our football team and how we persevered,” Shanahan said. “We didn’t give in.”

For Romanowski, one play has stuck with him after all of these years. The Packers faced a fourth-and-6 play at the Broncos’ 31-yard line, with no timeouts and 32 seconds left. On fourth down, Mobley swatted down the pass intended for Chmura.

“The last defensive play was an all-out blitz on fourth down and Brett Favre just gets rid of the ball and John Mobley knocks it down and we were world champions,” Romanowski recalled. “I took off my helmet and I ran around the entire stadium. And it was just incredible.”

Davis said the 25th reunion “hit me like a ton of bricks.”

“Man, that’s a long time ago,” Davis said. “We still have very strong bonds and we talk a lot. To come back to Denver and celebrate this accomplishment is pretty sweet.”

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