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Broncos News: A lot has changed since Super Bowl XLVIII

Four & a half years ago, the Seahawks demolished the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. Both teams look quite different today.

Super Bowl XLVIII - Seattle Seahawks v Denver Broncos

A little over four & a half years ago, the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos played a game that lives on in fame or in infamy depending on which side of the outcome you ended up on. “43-8” still causes Broncos fans to wince whether we’ll admit it or not.

That night, the Broncos brought their historically epic offense and a battered, staggering defense. The Seahawks brought the Legion of Boom and an effective offense of their own. We all know how it ended.

But time flies and NFL careers are short. The teams that will take the field on Sunday bear little resemblance to the units that played under the bright lights of Super Bowl XLVIII. So just how many Super Bowl veterans are still lingering on each roster?

Seattle Seahawks v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Remaining Seahawks

In Seattle’s case, there are three each on offense & defense. There was almost a seventh, albeit only technically. Defensive lineman Clinton McDonald earned a Super Bowl ring with the Seahawks back then, and nearly made the Broncos roster this season after being signed in free agency. Here are the Seahawks who’ve endured:

  • Russell Wilson: The great thing about playing in a Super Bowl near the beginning of your franchise quarterback’s career is that he tends to still be around 4 or 5 years later. Super Bowl XLVIII was a big part of Wilson establishing himself as a top 5 QB in the NFL, and his work in the years since then has done little to change that status.
  • Doug Baldwin: Wilson and Baldwin are pretty much synonymous at this point. Baldwin has average 1,000 receiving yards per season in the four seasons since the big game, as well as hauling in 32 touchdowns.
  • JR Sweezy: Easily the least recognizable name among the remaining Seahawks, Sweezy is actually entering his second tenure with the team after spending 2017 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was a starter on the Seahawks Super Bowl team, but enters this weekend’s contest as a backup.
  • Bobby Wagner: The Seahawks’ badass linebacker is still patrolling the middle of the field. Wagner figures to be the most dangerous player in a significantly depleted Seattle defense. At least until Early Thomas gets up to speed. The question is, can he do enough?
  • KJ Wright: Wright joins Wagner as a longtime Seahawks linebacker, but he won’t be joining him on the field this Sunday. He had a knee scope this offseason and is out for the game.
  • Earl Thomas: In a better world, Thomas might be on the next list. Alas, in this world his draft pick was traded to Seattle by McJedi and the All Pro safety is joining his team just days after ending a rather bitter holdout.
New York Jets v Denver Broncos Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Remaining Broncos

The Broncos’ list is a little shorter than the Seahawks’, and far less balanced. At this point, Demaryius Thomas is not only the last remaining Super Bowl XLVIII veteran on the Broncos’ offense, he’s the last one left in the NFL.

  • Demaryius Thomas: While his counterpart in Seattle has been enjoying the fruits of elite quarterback play every season since the Super Bowl matchup, Thomas has been enduring two & a half years of quarterback purgatory. Despite that, Thomas maintained top end production. He’s surely hoping that Sunday night marks the return of the good times, though.
  • Brandon Marshall: Though he was a backup behind Nate Irving & Danny Trevathan at the time, Brandon Marshall did play a small role in Super Bowl XLVIII. He’s the only player for either team who was a backup at the time and is still with the same club in 2018.

If you want to get technical, the Broncos’ list actually ends here. DT & Marshall are the only current Broncos who actually suited up & played in Super Bowl XLVIII. But three more should of been there that night, and the absence of those three important defenders due to injuries surely had an impact on how it all played out. No, the outcome probably would not of changed if they’d been healthy & on the field. But the final score might’ve been less embarrassing. Oh well.

Chicago Bears v Denver Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images
  • Von Miller: Miller missed the first Super Bowl of his career due to a torn ACL suffered in Week 16 of the season vs the Houston Texans. It brought a troubled 2013 season full circle for the man who has become the NFL’s best edge rusher, and his future wasn’t all that secure once the confetti settled. Since then, Miller has turned it all around and emerged as the charismatic face of the franchise. He enters the 2018 season already destined to go down as one of the Broncos’ greatest players- in part due to the Super Bowl MVP award he earned vs Carolina when he got his next shot at Super Bowl glory.
  • Chris Harris: Just weeks after Miller’s injury and only weeks before the Super Bowl, Harris suffered a torn ACL of his own. In just 3 weeks, two of the Broncos’ most important defensive pieces went down. But like Miller, Harris surged back from his injury to deliver Pro Bowl and All Pro performances. He’ll enter Sunday’s game as the Broncos #1 CB.
  • Derek Wolfe: Wolfe’s 2013 season began with a scary neck injury. He returned and played well, including sacks in three consecutive games in the second half of the season. But the injury came back to haunt him, resulting in Wolfe heading to IR at the beginning of that December. Neck issues have persisted for the fiery defensive end, but reports indicate that he’s finally fully healthy again after an offseason procedure.

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