Denver Broncos Football Club, King of the Hill
The Denver Broncos erased the memory of a devastating setback in Super Bowl XLVIII on the East Coast to reign supreme in No. 50 on the West Coast by upsetting the favored Carolina Panthers 24-10 to claim the franchise’s third Lombardi Trophy.
Led by linebacker Von Miller, the game’s most valuable player with six tackles, 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles, the Broncos never trailed in the contest. Denver’s “Orange Rush” defense shut down a prolific Panthers offense and regular season MVP Cam Newton.
Typical of the Broncos grind-it-out season, they eked out playoff victories over the Pittsburgh Steelers (23-16) and the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots (20-18) to advance to the Super Bowl. Carolina, which brought a glossy 17-1 season record into the championship and was a 6-point favorite, cruised to playoff wins over Seattle and Arizona.
“This game was much like this season has been, testing our toughness, our resiliency, our unselfishness,” Denver quarterback Peyton Manning said in post-game interviews after posting his 200th career victory.
The Broncos, with a 15-4 record, became the ninth franchise in National Football League history to win three Super Bowls. Denver’s eight Super Bowl appearances also matches the Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers for the most all-time.
In winning the American Football Conference West Division title for the fifth-straight season, the Denver defense made history, finishing the regular season as the No. 1-ranked team in total defense (283.1 yards allowed per game), a team first. The defense, which allowed only 18.5 points per gamegame, also finished No. 1 in sacks (52) and pass defense (199.6).