ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The goal hasn't changed and it won't change according to John Elway. He made the comments at the Denver Broncos end-of-season news conference at team headquarters Tuesday.
The Broncos returned to Denver late Monday night after snow in New Jersey delayed their flight home for several hours. The team is less than 48 hours into contemplating the stunning defeat it suffered in Super Bowl XLVIII at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks Sunday.
Head coach John Fox talked about how long the 43-8 Super Bowl loss will hurt. “Any time you work this hard to do something, put the time in—these guys, players and coaches have been working seven days a week for the last seven months. And then you work so hard to reach that game and then not to perform like you’d expect—it will be a while, there is no doubt.”
"Right now the focus is on what happened [in the game Sunday], instead of how we got there, and what we did this year and what we went through as a team," Elway says.
"And I say that the farther you get away from this, the less you concentrate on just that one game, and the more you look at the full season and really what we did as a football team and as an organization. And I tell you what, I'm very proud of that."
It was a record-setting year for the Denver Broncos offense. The team set all kinds of new goals for the rest of the NFL to chase after. Peyton Manning passed for more touchdowns than any quarterback in the history of the league. He finished with 60 when you throw in the one he threw in the Super Bowl Sunday night.
But the Broncos record-setting offense never got rolling. It gave up four turnovers. In fact, Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman says he knew what Peyton Manning's hand signals meant. “You know, it looked like it," Fox says. "But I think it’s more that they’re very good players. I don’t know that there are any mystery things. You’d have to ask him [Sherman]. But they’re a good football team. And I think it was more about them executing and playing very well than any other stuff.”
What will the team look like as it starts looking forward to another making it all the way to the Super Bowl again next season? There is always a change in players each season. Sometimes there may be 15 or 20 new faces in any given season. The Broncos have a number of players heading for free agency, especially on defense.
"You know there are some changes we gotta' make, and we'll make those. But the thing is we can use that. OK, now we have the experience and we know what it's like to be there," Elway says. "But we start from step one again. And we gotta' start with the off-season program. And everybody we bring in here -- the 85, 90 guys on our roster."
One reporter couldn't resist asking Elway how long it took him to get over his Super Bowl losses as a player with the Broncos. “I’m not over them yet. I just add this one to it (laughing).”
Make no mistake about it. The goal is clear as stated by Elway.
"We will use this as an experience that we went through. And be disappointed that we didn't play better."
"But the bottom line is, this organization -- what Pat Bowlen wants from this organization -- that has not changed. It will not change. The bottom line is we're going to work as hard as we did this year, if not harder. And continue to do that with the mindset that we want to be world champions."
Odds makers in Las Vegas say right now the odds are on the Broncos playing either the Seahawks or 49ers in Super Bowl XLIX Feb. 1, 2015 in Phoenix.