The magical ending often never happens in life.
Denver Broncos fans saw it in 1998, as John Elway carried the Lombardi Trophy into the orange-and-blue sunset. One magical ending was enough, but two? There's no way it would happen again.
Thanks to a team that embodies an overused statement that we all know and love, the Denver Broncos are one win away from the hat trick. Thanks to a 20-18 win over the New England Patriots that epitomizes this team, they are one win away from a third Lombardi Trophy.
My favorite picture of the day -- Manning watching the trophy presentation. pic.twitter.com/Xyag4Ifp8o— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) January 25, 2016
When you think back to Nov. 15, "impossible" was an understatement for this moment.
It was then that Peyton Manning was benched after the worst performance of his life.
It seemed his time in Denver was over, and also his career. Any hope of the final ride was intercepted by the Kansas City Chiefs.
Then when back-up quarterback Brock Osweiler played well, it seemed a foregone conclusion - we saw the ending of a great.
We should have known better.
We should have known better than to say it was over for Manning and this team.
Of course, he's in the saddle for this final ride because of his trusty steed known as the Broncos defense. Denver has produced some of the best defenses to ever play in the NFL, but this one is the best. Yes, they still have one game left, but this defense ... there are no words.
The Broncos have done it all season.
The defense has been the underdog since the first game of the season against the Baltimore Ravens, so why should it change against the mighty Patriots?
Broncos recover and will win. Congrats to the Broncos & @sonofbum. Unbelievable job. I was totally wrong.— Greg A. Bedard (@GregABedard) January 24, 2016
Outside of Broncos Country, no one gave this defense a chance against Brady and that offense. They were going to get torched and it wasn't going to be close. It was clear Wade Phillips was game for the challenge.
I made the comparison to the 1992 Broncos defense that shut down one of the best offenses in NFL history in the Buffalo Bills. In my opinion, this is the best game plan Phillips has put together.
He outcoached Josh McDaniels.
He outcoached Bill Belichick.
He confused Brady the entire game, and anything he did get offensively, Phillips and his defense made them earn it. Brady was hit 20 times. To put that in perspective, the most he had been hit prior to Sunday was 12. They held him to a 56.4 passer rating.
But it wasn't just the relentless pass rush of Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware and the interior guys, it was the coverage by the secondary. Masterful and genius are the only words that come to mind.
The Denver defense is special, and with one more win, can go down as one of the best in NFL history.
Every step of the way on this heart-pounding yet unforgettable season, the Broncos defense has delivered. It has allowed this team to play in Super Bowl 50.
R they celebrating in New England like we are in Denver? .#afcchamps pic.twitter.com/JkIRin78Qd— shannon sharpe (@ShannonSharpe) January 24, 2016
This team doesn't believe in "never." "Impossible" is not a word you can use for Manning, this defense or team.
Rest assured the Broncos will be underdogs in the Super Bowl, and that's just the way they like it. That's what they want. It's what they've been told from the start of the season.
Yet despite all of the adversity, the magical ending is within reach.
The Broncos came into this season kicking and screaming, there is no other way for them to go out.
I just hope somewhere Pat Bowlen has a smile on his face.