Back then, Peyton Manning was ranked as the best player in the game, coming off of a record-setting season. The Broncos had six offensive players ranked in the top-20 and just two defenders.
This time around the Broncos have nine defenders in the top-20 and only two offensive players. Oh, and Peyton Manning? He's the 22nd best player in the game, according to Sando. After the initial anger many may experience upon hearing this, the ranking is a fair assessment.
The difference in rankings from SB 48 to SB 50 is stark and highlights the transformation the Denver Broncos have undergone — from a record setting offense to the best defense in the league.
John Elway's handiwork has resulted in 20 holdovers (including players on injured reserve) from that 2013 team — seven on offense and 13 on defense.
But Elway has cultivated the depth of the Broncos roster, which has allowed the team to deal with injuries to key starters and role players on both sides of the ball. That depth will be put to the test one last time in Santa Clara.
For all of the similiarities and carry-overs between the Broncos SB 48 and SB 50 teams, the differences couldn't be more distinct. This year's Super Squad is remaining focused on the moment and the task at hand. They seem to more appreciate the gravity of the opportunity.
“I think this team has, we’ve talked about it the past few weeks, has focused on the staying in the moment, staying in the now, one week at a time," Manning said Thursday. "There are lots of different clichés you that could throw out there, but that’s been great for this team and that’s certainly a great approach these next couple of weeks. But it’s certainly helped me this year as well on focusing on this week and not assuming this is going to happen or that’s going to happen.”
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