Broncos News Blogs - Thursday, Jan. 19

Playoff frenzy has taken hold as the Denver Broncos prepare to face the Pittsburgh Steelers. Read all the latest on the team in today's news reports.

Will work for tickets: Fans barter - Denver Post - Manny Gonzales
01/19/2006 - Dr. Steven Broman of Fort Collins has no cure for Broncos fever, but he'll give a free vasectomy for tickets to Sunday's AFC championship game against Pittsburgh. Glenn Laurent, a research associate at the University of Colorado's Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy, is offering CU undergrads a semester of tutoring in exchange for two tickets. And Scott, a Steelers fan who lives in Arvada, is willing to trade a half-carat diamond solitaire ring complete with a $2,195 price tag attached, which he purchased for his wife as a Valentine's Day gift. He would make the trade without her knowledge, of course, which is why he declined to provide his last name.

Passing on star power - Denver Post - Mike Klis
01/19/2006 - To the majority of Sunday party hosts, to television network executives, corporate sponsors and coffee machine groupies who could not survive the mundane workweek without the occasional spirited sports discussion, it all seemed so promising. A week ago, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning were right there, one win from meeting in the AFC championship game. The glitz, the glamour. Think of the ratings! Instead, come Sunday afternoon, football fans across the country will get Jake Plummer and Ben Roethlisberger. "The dirtbags," Plummer said, smiling.

Expatriates' colors clash with Orange - Denver Post - Robert Sanchez
01/19/2006 - Denver, they are among you. You know them. Don't pretend you can't see their bumper stickers and jerseys and flags draped from homes in your neighborhoods. You've seen the skip in their step lately, the glint in their eyes since Sunday afternoon - those Terrible-Towel-waving, Jerome-Bettis-loving western Pennsylvania types roaming streets and offices and maybe (gasp) your own home. Sure, they have names and faces, but maybe you're only seeing red from those water-cooler discussions leading up to Sunday's do-or-die AFC championship game between the Broncos and the Pittsburgh Steelers at Invesco Field at Mile High.

Bettis riding high as destiny's child - Denver Post - Anthony Cotton
01/19/2006 - Pittsburgh - There are times when, no matter how much you hurt, or ache for precious relief, the Fates don't cooperate and alleviate your pain by opening a hole in the earth big enough for you to crawl into. So it was last Sunday, shortly after watching her son do the unthinkable - fumble in the last minute, an error that would seemingly provide the Indianapolis Colts with their means of escape in the AFC divisional playoffs - Gladys Bettis took the only route available to her. She ran away from the nearly 70,000 suddenly delirious fans at the RCA Dome and hid in a bathroom.

Injury report positive - Denver Post - Anthony Cotton
01/19/2006 - It's a clean injury slate this week. Last week, the Broncos were cautiously optimistic linebacker Al Wilson and rookie cornerback Darrent Williams would be able to help against the New England Patriots. Heading into the AFC championship game Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Broncos are more confident of their health. Wilson (thumb) and Williams (groin) emerged from the game without setback and Denver didn't incur any significant injuries in the win. "We're good right now," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. "Hopefully, it stays that way."

Broncos foe-warned - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
January 19, 2006 - Jake Plummer has one lasting memory from his only game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. "Getting drilled by Levon Kirkland on the goal line," the Denver Broncos quarterback said with a smile. It's no small feat Plummer can remember anything from that experience. Making only his sixth start, on Nov. 30, 1997, Kirkland wasn't the only one unloading on the Arizona Cardinals' rookie quarterback. The game was like one long bumper car ride.

Williams will play secondary role - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
January 19, 2006 - It has been a curious deal so far. Quarterbacks just keep dropping back, they keep looking over the Denver Broncos defense and they keep throwing the ball Champ Bailey's way. So Bailey keeps catching it, running with it and winning games. "I don't know," Broncos defensive coordinator Larry Coyer said when asked about why so many have challenged Bailey this year. "I'm glad they are. . . . But I really can't answer that." "I don't know, that's a good question," Steelers coach Bill Cowher said. "I hopefully don't add to that list. Champ Bailey is one of, if not the top corner in the game today. I know I felt that way. We're going to be aware of him, I can tell you that." Bailey was named to his sixth career Pro Bowl this season. He is near, or at, the top of any list of cornerbacks around the league. And yet this season, his seventh, Bailey has intercepted more passes - nine, including his 100-yard return against the New England Patriots on Saturday in the AFC divisional playoff game - than in the previous three seasons combined.

Take-charge attitude keys success - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
January 19, 2006 - Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan has been preaching the gospel of points and turnovers since the first day of training camp. He said then the three biggest items on anybody's championship things-to-do list should be pumping up the points on offense, limiting the points on defense and forcing turnovers. More than five months later, the NFL's final four have lived up to that. The combined rankings for points a game on offense, points a game on defense and turnover margin show the four remaining teams in the playoffs finished in the top five in the league during the regular season. When the rankings are combined, the Broncos finished second behind the Indianapolis Colts. The Seattle Seahawks were third, the Carolina Panthers were fourth and the Pittsburgh Steelers were fifth.

Broncos coping with distractions - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
January 19, 2006 — Mike Shanahan and his coaching staff began installing Game Plan 18.0 on the practice field Wednesday. But this version needs to be the best so far considering the Denver Broncos are hosting the streaking Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship on Sunday at Invesco Field. Not that the home team is going to change much after winning 14 of its 17 games this season, including last Saturday's 27-13 victory over New England in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Steelers, Broncos are NFL anomalies - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
January 19, 2006 — When it comes to judging Sunday talent shows, NFL owners are about as patient as Simon Cowell. Ten of the league's 32 teams will make a change at head coach this offseason. That represents half of the franchises that failed to qualify for the playoffs. The message is clear: Win or clean out your desk.

Notebook: The Ties That Bind - Denver - Andrew Mason
Thursday, January 19, 2006 - It has been 77 years since Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy first espoused the concept of "six degrees of separation," whereby any person on Earth could be linked with any other through a series of five person-to-person connections. Whether that's truly valid or not is open to debate. But in the NFL, the connective tissue is far more interconnected. "Two degrees of separation" is more like it. With Sunday's head coaches in the AFC Championship Game, it's even less than that. Broncos Head Coach Mike Shanahan interviewed with his current Pittsburgh counterpart, Bill Cowher, for the offensive coordinator slot with the Steelers 14 years ago.

Different Paths, Common Goal - Denver - Andrew Mason
Thursday, January 19, 2006 - The chance to grapple for an AFC Championship is one to be savored -- but it can be for different reasons entirely depending on the player and his situation. One needs only to look at two of the Broncos' most havoc-causing defensive linemen to see that. Trevor Pryce and Gerard Warren once shared a position before Pryce moved out to defensive end; Warren has known nothing in his five NFL seasons but defensive tackle. This year, they shared a huddle and a locker room, with their stalls in juxtaposition to each other. Aside from that, their résumés are quite different. Pryce has two Super Bowl rings; Warren had only played in one playoff game until last week. Pryce has been to the Pro Bowl; Warren is still looking for his first trip. Pryce has known only one team in his nine-year career; the Broncos are Warren's second stop in a five-season tenure in the league. What both share is a lengthy, meandering path to the moment that awaits both at 1 p.m. Sunday -- a one-game chance to qualify for the game's world championship.

Broncos aren't such a hoot now - Detoit News - Eddie Pells
Thursday, January 19, 2006 - Maybe it's true that the Denver Broncos have been a team playing under the radar this season. At the beginning, though, they sure were drawing some attention -- and lighting up the laugh-o-meter. That's what happens when a coach who insists his team is close to the Super Bowl tries to take the next step by: Drafting a malcontent running back. Trading for a punter with alleged steroid issues. Signing an aging superstar receiver. Making a variety of moves to bring in the entire set of linemen, along with the position coach, from a team that ranked last in the league in rushing defense. Indeed, Denver's locker room resembled a three-ring circus to many five months ago. But now, the Broncos are a victory away from the Super Bowl and Mike Shanahan is looking like a genius. "It's taking chances," Shanahan said in a recent interview. Some guys made it, some didn't.

Broncos, Seahawks fearless at home - USA TODAY - Tom Pedulla
1/19/2006 - The term "home-field advantage" does not do justice to the powerful upper hands the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks will enjoy in Sunday's conference championship games. Both have thousands upon thousands of roaring reasons to believe they can remain perfect in front of hometown fans when the Broncos host the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game, before the Seahawks hope to give the Carolina Panthers a rude welcome. Ask Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey if their 11-game home winning streak creates a feeling of invincibility at Invesco Field, and he says, "I definitely do. If we play our game and do what we're capable of doing, nobody can beat us."

Lynch playing more leading roles with Broncos - Mercury News - Frank Schwab
Wed, Jan. 18, 2006 - Safety John Lynch is 34 years old and supposed to be nearing the end of his playing days. Instead, the Denver Broncos are asking Lynch to do more than he ever has in his 13-year career. Lynch lined up in many different spots in Saturday's playoff game against New England. Lynch lined up in a three-point stance and blitzed the quarterback on a few plays, and on others he crept up from his safety position to be an extra linebacker against the run. Sometimes Lynch would actually play as a normal free safety and guard against the deep pass. Lynch, who will be playing in his third conference championship game of his career on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, said he's being used in more roles than at any time in his career.

Sizing Up Broncos To Past Super Bowl Teams -
January 18, 2006 - Is it too soon to compare this Denver Broncos team with its Super Bowl champion teams of the past? Denver has to beat Pittsburgh on Sunday to win a trip to Super Bowl Forty in Detroit next month. Right now, Jake Plummer is looking as good as anyone at the quarterback position in Denver since John Elway. And instead of Terrell Davis -- Denver has Mike Anderson and Tatum Bell. At receiver, Ashley Lelie has taken the place of Ed McCaffrey and Rod Smith is still Rod Smith. There isn't much proven depth behind the top two, but there wasn't in the Super Bowl years, either. The Broncos miss Shannon Sharpe at tight end -- but it hasn't cost them so far.

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