Broncos road to the Super Bowl will mirror 1997

Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE

Back in 1997, the Broncos were a wild card team having finished 12-4 and one game behind division rival Kansas City at 13-3.

Back in '97, the Broncos road to Super Bowl XXXII was called the "Revenge Tour". Each team we would end up facing in the playoffs was a team that has beaten us in the previous calendar year.

We entered postseason play as the #4 seed. Back then there were only three divisions per conference, so the #4 seed was not a division winner. The Jacksonville Jaguars who had finished 11-5 and had upset the Broncos the year before finished as the #5 seed.

If you talk to any Bronco fan that was around for that game, you will know that it is one of the most devastating losses the franchise had ever experienced. We were the #1 seed that year facing #6. After jumping out to a 12-0 lead, Mark Brunell's legs and arm were too much for our defense to contain. We ended up losing by 3.

At home during Wild Card Weekend, the Broncos exacted sweet revenge trouncing the Jaguars to the tune of 42-17. Terrell Davis rushed for 184 yards on 31 carries to go along with 2 touchdowns.

The following week as the lowest remaining seed, we went on to play Kansas City who had secured homefield advantage throughout the playoffs largely on the legs of a late season victory against our Broncos. That game was played in Arrowhead and was a back and forth affair ultimately decided by a 54-yard Pete Stoyanovich FG as time expired. This was back in the day when 50 yarders were hardly automatic, and you sure as hell didn't see folks hit them in Arrowhead in December.

Once again the sweet nectar of revenge was on the menu as the Broncos fought off a late Chief drive to earn the victory 14-10.

The following week the Broncos would visit Pittsburgh to play Kordell Stewart and the #2 seed. The Broncos dominated most of the game off the strength of 4 Stewart turnovers. But late in the 4th Pittsburgh pulled the score within 3 points. Then vintage Elway happened. He drew up a play in the huddle designed for Shannon Sharpe on 3rd and long. If they converted they could take a knee and drain the clock. If they failed, they would have to punt to Pittsburgh with a couple minutes left in the game.

Elway delivered a heater as usual and Sharpe used his body to go up and shield the defender as he punched the Broncos ticket to the big dance.

Everyone left has beaten the Broncos

Chargers, Colts, and Patriots are the teams left in the dance and each of them has dealt Denver a loss this season.

The Revenge Tour Remix will feature a path to Super Bowl XLVIII through teams that have proven they can hang. If the Broncos take care of business this week against a team that dominated them back in week 15, they will get to face either the Colts or the Patriots.

The Colts dominated Denver for much of that contest, that is until the offense started to click and came close to pulling off yet another get comeback victory.

The Patriots stole one from us week 12 after our defense had dominated and forced turnover after turnover on the way to a 24-0 halftime lead.

This week it will be Broncos v. Chargers, Manning v Rivers, 6-2 against 0-2.

Next week it could be Broncos v. Colts, Manning v. Luck, with Irsay around to shoot his mouth....

Or it could be Broncos v. Colts, Manning v. Brady for the Super Bowl.

Regardless, this will be a ride carved in history with so many great story lines and the opportunity for immortality waiting at the other end.

First things first. Flush the Bolts down the toilet.

Go BRONCOS!!!

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