Did you hear? The Denver Broncos left for the Super Bowl today.
If you missed the national television networks broadcasting live as the Broncos took off from Denver International Airport for the Super Bowl, don't worry; there was another separate group of networks, broadcasting live, awaiting the team's arrival at Newark. If you you missed the live feed of Peyton Manning boarding the team bus, don't sweat it;you probably caught the live streams and MHR's live blog of John Fox and Peyton Manning's press conference. Heck, maybe you were one of the thousands of fans lined up outside the team hotel, cheering the Broncos' arrival and hoping for that brief glimpse of the 2013 AFC Champions.
This isn't just the Game of Games, this is the Circus of Circuses.
"We call it noise," head coach John Fox said. "You gotta be able to drown that out. Focus on your job and your preparation."
It's hard to imagine the team will find the time to get much football work done in the immediate days ahead. Players are required to make themselves available for three days this week, as opposed to the usual one. There is at least one press conference that includes Broncos' player or coach availability scheduled every day until the Saturday before the Super Bowl.
Luckily, the Broncos have a player in Peyton Manning who's pretty famous for drowning out noise.
"I certainly hope it's not a problem," said Manning of Super Bowl week. "It's part of the requirements of going to a Super Bowl. It's part of the honor of playing this game."
"You can't take this for granted," an orange-creamsicle-clad Wes Welker later said in agreement.
The distractions don't end with Media Day, though. Players are being inundated with media interview requests. Fans and family members are asking more of their time. Super Bowl vets like Manning and Welker came in knowing what to expect, but to most others, it's a brand new experience. Even Champ Bailey, who you would think has seen everything there is to see in the NFL in his career, finds himself in a new world this Super Bowl week
"I would think (playing a previous Super Bowl) would prepare you for the week," said Bailey. "How to deal with the media. How to deal with the fans all over town. The little things like that. The tickets. Those are things that we have to deal with. I'm sure if you've been here before, you're probably a little more prepared for that."
The Broncos understand the enormity of the event they're in, and they're embracing it for the time being. Still, you can tell players - Manning in particular - are eager to return to real football work.
"Coach Fox has addressed it," said Manning. "Some of the other players who have played in a Super Bowl have addressed it. At the same time, you have to find time to get your preparation and your film study done. I thought we had an excellent week of practice last week. We hope to continue that this week here in New York and New Jersey, and I think we'll be able to do that."
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