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Denver Broncos have motivation aplenty as Super Bowl 50 underdog

Denver's motivation against the favored Carolina Panthers is simple: Picture holding the Lombardi Trophy.

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos are the unquestioned underdog.

From Las Vegas to the "experts," few think the Broncos have a shot in Super Bowl 50.

Denver has its pick of what to use for motivation and where to turn to pull the upset and shock the Carolina Panthers.

The Broncos have been in this spot most of this season and have thrived at proving people wrong.They love when people count them out and say they "can't."

Denver should look to two other places for inspiration when an underdog "shocked the world." Even if they don't, we will.

Hopefully this helps block out the noise and gets fans even more amped for Sunday.

The first comes from lifelong Broncos fan Holly Holm.

As you'll remember, no one thought she stood a chance against the person many believed was the best MMA fighter ever - and not just in terms of women. Some said that Ronda Rousey shouldn't have to step foot in the Octagon with Holm. Rousey would do what she always did against people she faced: Destroy them.

As Holm wrote in Sports Illustrated, "Going into my fight with Ronda Rousey, I knew I was the heavy underdog. However, I've always thought that you have to believe you belong there, or you've already lost."

As soon as the fight started, people couldn't believe what they were seeing. Holm was doing what everyone thought Rousey would do. And it wasn't even close.

When Holm finished Rousey with a kick to Rousey's melon and knocked her out, it was the culmination of a journey she and few other people thought possible.

"So many times, I don't want to hit the gym," Holm wrote. "I just want the work to be over. But then I would picture the victory. And that's all it takes."

The second comes from the Broncos of 1997.

To even get to the Super Bowl, Denver had to go on the road and beat Kansas City and Pittsburgh, two teams that beat them earlier in the season.

After the crushing loss in the playoffs the season before to Jacksonville, there was no way the Broncos would lose.

Denver returned the favor to the Jaguars in the Wild Card round, 42-17.

They then did it the next week at Arrowhead Stadium to the Chiefs, 14-10. Then again in the AFC Championship Game at Three Rivers Stadium to the Steelers, 24-21.

The Broncos were off to Super Bowl XXXII in San Diego against the defending champs, Green Bay Packers.

No one gave Denver a shot. Broncos were a 13-point underdog to Brett Favre and his band of Cheeseheads.

As Holm wrote, the Broncos knew they belonged, and if they did their job, they would win.

When John Elway threw his battered body into the air for that first down, everyone knew Denver would win.

As this Super Bowl inches closer and closer, the Broncos know they belong in Santa Clara, Calif.

They know if they do their job, they'll shock a lot of people.

Denver's motivation is simple: Picture holding the Lombardi Trophy. That's all it takes.