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Super Bowl 50: Denver Broncos send legends out as champs

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This is how it was supposed to go down. There was no other way for this to happen. Not with all that was at stake. Not with the magical endings so close you could touch them the last two weeks.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

He wouldn't want the focus on him. He wouldn't want the attention. Not with his team now Super Bowl Bowl champions for the third time after a win in Super Bowl 50. Not with his second franchise quarterback able to close out his career with a Lombardi Trophy.

That shows you the man he really is.

But this is about him.

"This one's for Pat."

Let the tears and smiles remain for the next week.

This is how it was supposed to go down. There was no other way for this to happen. Not with all that was at stake. Not with the magical endings so close you could touch them the last two weeks. You hoped, and boy did you hope, that it would happen.

You wanted it so much you felt it in your gut.

Now two men, two incredible men, get to ride off in the sunset as a Super Bowl champion.

Two men get the fairy-tale ending you only see in movies.

Two men? Yes, Peyton Manning and the owner who made it possible.

Though if you include DeMarcus Ware there's your trifecta.

When John Elway said those four words, if your heart didn't feel joy and a tear develop in your eyes, you aren't human.

Few owners would have done what Pat Bowlen did 18 years ago when he didn't make the moment about him and his accomplishments. Instead he made it about his quarterback.

"This one's for John."

That isn't the lone connection between the first two Super Bowl wins and the one in Super Bowl 50, but it's the most powerful.

That moment in San Diego gave you a glimpse inside the man known in Broncos Country as Mr. B.

He never wanted it to be about him.

It was about the coaches, players, trainers, front office, the everyday employees and even the fans who made the Denver Broncos what they are. In Bowlen's eyes, they're all the reason the franchise was and is successful. It had nothing to do with him.

We all know the complete opposite is true.

Without Mr. B, none of this is possible.

The Broncos aren't Super Bowl champs for the third time.

They aren't in the Super Bowl for an astounding eight times, seven with him as owner.

The Broncos recorded seven sacks, forced four turnovers, scored a touchdown and made Superman choke on kryptonite.

Manning isn't able to end a Hall of Fame career with his second title and as the first quarterback in history to win a Super Bowl with two different franchises. Not even the great Tom Brady can say that. Take your legacy narrative and shove it.

Without Bowlen, the Denver defense doesn't go down as one of the greatest in NFL history.

Simply put: That was the greatest defensive performance in Super Bowl history.

The Broncos recorded seven sacks, forced four turnovers, scored a touchdown and made Superman choke on kryptonite.

The defense pulled the impossible, at least according to the "experts." But Broncos Country knew what this defense was capable of.

And what can you say about Von Miller?

In the biggest moments he stepped up and changed the game. He not only won the Super Bowl MVP, he cemented himself as the greatest defender in Denver history. And not to mention he made himself a lot of money.

Here's what's fun to think about: This is a dynasty in the making. We have no clue what will happen, but if Manning and Ware retire, the Broncos get $29 million in cap space.

But as Elway showed, this is about Mr. B.

All of this is because of him.

Gary Kubiak doesn't become the first man to go to a Super Bowl as a player and then lead that same team to a win in the Super Bowl as a head coach. Kubiak is the fourth head coach in NFL history to win a Super Bowl in his first season.

Ware doesn't get to hold the Lombardi Trophy as a Super Bowl-winner and potentially end his career as a champion.

Wade Phillips doesn't get to honor his dad, who he says is the reason he coaches. And Phillips cemented himself as the greatest defensive mind we've seen in the last quarter century. The defensive schemes he put forth against three of the best quarterbacks in the NFL were masterful.

Here's what's fun to think about: This is a dynasty in the making. We have no clue what will happen, but if Manning and Ware retire, the Broncos get $29 million in cap space.

The Broncos franchise doesn't bask in the Santa Clara, Calif. night with orange and blue confetti all around it. Or in the locker room with a champagne shower. Or as Manning said, a lot of beer.

Broncos Country doesn't feel on top of the world. Let's hope the fans who decide to celebrate don't get too out of control.

Elway doesn't the get the chance to say the four words he did.

The only way this game, this moment, could get any better is if Bowlen were in attendance.

I have no doubt that he would have wanted to see his team reach this moment in person and witness one of the great loves of his life achieve this success. Because that means all of the people who made it possible would have their hard work pay off.

Yet even if his health would have allowed it, he wouldn't have felt comfortable with the focus being on him. Mr. B would have hated to become the motivation for his team. That's not his style. He wouldn't have wanted Elway to say what he did.

Sometimes fans take the success of a franchise for granted.

They get spoiled by it and lose sight of what matters.

For the second time, the Broncos saw one of its quarterbacks cap off his legendary career with  a win in the Super Bowl. Once still feels surreal, but twice? Talk about special.

For the second time, a former assistant coach returned as the head coach and led the franchise to the top.

For the second time, a defender found the missing piece to a certain Hall of Fame career.

For the second time, the Broncos entered as underdogs and shocked the world.

For the second time, we heard four words for the man who made it possible.

He may not want the attention.

He doesn't want the credit.

My hope is that when he heard those four words from Elway, he smiled.

The rest of Broncos Country has waited for what feels like an eternity to hear them.

But rest assured, the tears and smiles won't go away anytime soon.

The Broncos are Super Bowl champions.

Thank you, Mr. B.