December 27, 2011

Reviewing a Classic: Broncos Superbowl 33

As a relatively new fan to the Broncos, I have been following them since about 2002, grade 7 for me and for an Australian fan that is pretty young to start. As such I have taken it upon myself to learn the history of the Broncos where I can. It will never be complete compared to a fan who went through it first hand but it is worth doing to get a better understanding of the team, the culture and what this team has been through. For me one of these things is to watch the Broncos Superbowls. The only one I have managed to acquire a copy of so far is Superbowl 33. So join me for the trip down memory lane as I watch the Broncos last Superbowl game and my random thoughts along the way.

The year is 1999. The Broncos have had one of their most productive seasons in franchise history over the course of the 1998 year. TD got over 2000 yards on the ground and Elway was clutch all year long. This of course would end up being John Elway’s last game as he would retire soon after.

On to the game:

The coverage just starts and I realize this game is Dan Reeves Vs Mike Shanahan. That must have been one of the biggest stories for the game.

I am loving the pregame 1999 graphics, they are pretty sick considering the year.

John Madden is a great commentator. I had got kind of sick of Madden as a commentator a few years ago before he retired. But compared to some of the current commentators I miss his analysis and insight. He does talk about himself and uses himself as an example a lot but once you look past that he knows his football. I thought this was a great line from the big man before the game and is relevant to any NFL season. "Getting here is nothing, winning here is the greatest."

They are talking about the keys to the game, for the Falcons to win they need turnovers. (In case I forget the turnover ratio was 1-3 to the Broncos).

The Broncos were 26th in the league for pass defense. Will this be a factor in the game?

The players are coming onto the field now and they are doing the player introduction. They only do them for offense, I guess the defense wasn’t very important back then.

Rod Smith, I love you guy.

Tom Nalen! Elam. It is unbelievable how many good players this team had. Eddie Mac, TD, Shannon Sharpe. Howard Griffith. Elway!

I know some players from the history of the NFL but Jammal Anderson is the only Falcon player of their offense I know. (I also see a LB wearing a Brooking jersey, I believe that would be Keith Brooking, but he wasn’t starting back then).

Cher singing the national anthem, nice.

I love Elway’s golden locks! Haha.

1st Quarter
Ball is blown off the tee...twice, funny way to start a game.

Broncos Defense is playing 8 in the box to prevent the run. But Anderson is a beast.

PI calls are still terrible no matter the decade.

No roughing the passer calls in this decade.

I don’t care much for Romanowski the person but as a player he is a monster. He destroys Chandler (Falcons QB) on a blitz this play.

The Falcons move the ball well, but the D holds. Falcons kick a field goal, 3-0.

Broncos first series come out and run the shotgun with an empty back field (TD is a receiver). The Falcons weren’t expecting that with TD on our team.

Elway only had a 44% completion percentage from the shotgun through the season. He completed 66% of passes from under center though. I found this very interesting. Rod Smith is a beast, Elway has whatever is bigger than a cannon or a bazooka for an arm!

Sharpe limbs off the field after almost scoring, took a huge hit to the knee. But he looks alright. Also of note he doesn’t wear any pads on his legs.

First series the Broncos come out passing and get the touchdown with the hand off to the FB Griffith from about 5 out. The Falcons were expecting TD to get the ball.

Second Falcon’s series they go three and out. Romanowski is crazy coming off the blitz.

Broncos being their next series. Sharpe drops/juggles a pass and the Falcons pick it off and now have field position. That’s one of those turnovers the Falcons needed. I wonder if Sharpe was thinking more about his knee then the pass.

Tim Dwight is a faster version of Wes Welker.

End of the first Quarter, score is 7-3.

Second Quarter

Sharpe is heading up the tunnel to get his knee re-taped in the hope to get back out there.

The Falcons have moved the ball into Broncos territory again but the D holds the Falcons who decided to go for it on 4th and 1. Madden is saying they should take the field goal, I would agree with him.

Romanowski blows up the outside run. He blows past the TE trying to block him and destroys the guard who is pulling. This forces Anderson to go backwards and around the pile Romanowski has created. The Broncos swarm to the ball and stop Anderson for the loss. Turnover on Downs! Great defensive play.

Broncos take over. TD has no room to run. TE Chamberlain has made a few nice catches in place of Sharpe.

Elway rolls out of the pocket and hits Smith for the first.

Draw play, TD picks up 20 yards.

Next play TD makes a spin move at the line of scrimmage to beat a defensive lineman and then makes another player miss with a step. He picks up 8 on the play when it should have been a loss. The Broncos are now inside the 10.

Elway rolls out of the pocket but doesn’t have anyone open, he throws it in the stands instead.

Timeout Broncos.

Elway is pressured and almost throws a pick.

Elam kicks the 26 yard field goal. 10-3 is the score, Broncos leading.

Falcons take over, Chandler throws a laser for the first down to a wide open receiver. Mathis grabs another pass and is wide open again. The Falcons are moving the ball through the area easily. The Broncos secondary is playing off though, preventing the big play.

Romanowski is a monster on the blitz. He blows up Anderson who tries to block him as he goes after Chandler.

Another pass completed. No runs so far on this series.

Speaking of which the Falcons hand off to Anderson for 2, he picks up the first.

Anderson gets 5 on the next play. I start to think how good would it be to watch the Broncos in the Superbowl playing in orange as they are playing in white for this one.

Falcons are inside the 10 again. CB Gordon – 21 is injured on the next play. He takes an knee from Anderson to the head, Anderson is kept out of the in-goal though.

Broncos defense holds again and the Falcons have to kick a field goal. They miss the FG! How do you miss from that close? Broncos get the ball back and seem to have all the luck.

Broncos take over. First play is play action. Elway hits Smith deep on the post for a huge TD! 17-3. That’s a Quick Change for you!

Are the wedge, helps Dwight get loose on this return.

Atlanta has had all the field position but has no points to show for it.

Sharpe is done for the game! I feel the momentum swinging a little bit.

Falcons are back at the Broncos 10 yard line. Chandler passes to the back right corner and almost is picked off! James – 20. Next play Chandler tries the back left corner. Gordon -21 is back in the game and pats this one away. In today’s game Gordon may have been held out with a concussion.

Falcons kick another field goal after being held out again. 17-6, that 3 redzone trips and 3 field goals for only 6 points. I may have been wrong about the momentum shift. The Falcons center is done for the day, No 61.

Broncos take over. Hand off to TD who has a huge hole, he picks up 15. TD may be good put I think I could run through those holes. The O-Line is balling!

Chamberlain makes another catch and is playing well.

Broncos Timeout.

The Broncos complete a few more passes and another timeout. A minute left to halftime.

Holding penalty by 62-Neil, Falcons timeout.

TD runs off left tackle. Falcons take another timeout.

40 seconds to go till halftime.

Matt Lepis is a backup for this game! What a team.

Pryce is a monster coming from defensive tackle he blows up the play here.

Halftime. Score is 17-6.

Madden and Summerall are good commentators with quality analysis.

Broncos start off the second half with the ball. On the first play of the half Elway hits up Eddie-Mac for his first catch of the game.

This is when I notice that the jerseys the players are wearing were made by Nike. I didn’t know that.

TD is stuffed on a run. Griffith makes a catch. Then takes a hand off for the first down. Eddie-Mac makes another catch low, great grab. Holding penalty on Denver, TE-89.

Elway boot legs and tries to make a play with his legs. But the OLB chases him down for a lose. Tebow would have stiff armed the LB for a TD :P

Now 3rd and 20, Smith gets 10 on a pass.

Elam misses the field goal from about 36 yards out! Score is still 17-6. What is wrong with the kickers today?

Falcons takeover. WR Martin is wide open again. I would be a little worried about the secondary, lots of open guys down field.

LB Mobley makes the sack on an overload blitz. But the Falcons are moving the ball easily between the sticks.

Chandler drops back to pass and is picked off! Johnson – 25 gets about 30-40 yards on the return.

Broncos with the ball. TD breaks a tackle and picks up the first. TD goes off the field for a break.

TD is sitting down on the sideline, I think it is migraine time. TD has already picked up 80 yards so far.

Next play Elway rolls out to his right and tries to find someone open. Defenders are closing in so Elway dumps off to Eddie-Mac who gets nailed! By 4 Falcons players. That was one of those ‘I’m too old for this shit” moments. Eddie-Mac was all ‘thanks for that Elway’. They didn’t get the first down.

Elam comes out for the 48 yard field goal and misses wide left! Score still 17-6.

31 cameras are used for the coverage, nice...

Falcons take over, Anderson picks up the first.

Mathis is open again. Falcons got to score at some point I would think.

Anderson spins away from Atwater for the first, he is a beast.

Chandler drops back for the pass and it is deflected at the line! It is picked off by 21-Gordon who makes 40 yards and is tackled by the QB. Come on bro, you got to make the play and beat the QB to get the TD! Haha

Elway incomplete to Eddie-Mac in the endzone, was way too low, hit him in stride! Elway you got to do better :P

Eddie-Mac completion to the 5. There are no progressions here. Elway just sits in the pocket staring down his receivers. But he can do it because his O-Line gives him heaps of time and his receivers are good enough to get open for yards.

End of 3rd Quarter

From the 5 the Broncos do another FB drive to Griffith because the Falcons are keying on TD and he scores again. I notice that the referees don’t signal the TDs (arms in the air, so hard to know when one is scored with a short field). Score 24-6

Broncos blitz has been good all day.

Anderson gets another first.

Martin wide open for a pass...again.

The Falcons are playing well and just can’t get any points.

Chandler’s pass is picked off again! Gordon – 21 from the goal line gets it back over half way, nice return, it is his second pick. The Falcons are losing because of all these picks.

Broncos take over again. Elway stove pass to TD who gets it to the 10 for about 35 yards.

Elway sneaks from 5 yards out for the touchdown!

31-6, that’s the game for me, watching the game it seemed never in doubt the Broncos were always going to win. I got the feeling that since they had been there and done it before and got the win that there was no pressure on the team to get the win in this one.

Tim Dwight makes some moves on the return and gets free! He returns the kickoff for the TD. Score now 31-13, may be some fight left in the falcons.

Onside fails, Broncos take over. Eddie-Mac makes a catch for a first on another 3rd down.

Elam kicks 37 yard field goal, score now 34-13.

Falcons take over at about the 23. Chandler gets smashed again by Denver’s D.

Chandler is rushed again and takes off for 6.

Martin makes a catch for the first but gets hammered into touch.

Chandler hits his lineman in the head with the ball....again. He has had a lot of balls deflected.

Mathis gets the first on a reception. I just realized the Falcons haven’t scored an offensive TD yet.

I love the D-Line stunts the Broncos have been running.

4 & 4 the Falcons go for it and Mathis gets the conversion, to the 24 of Denver.

I took a few minutes to get that D-Line stunt that the Broncos have run several times with great success against the Falcons O-Line. Here is the pre-snap look.

I tried to define the stunt as best I could. Both Defensive Ends start off going forward to draw in the Offensive Tackles then pinch inside to hit the side of the Guards. The Defensive Tackle (light blue) crosses in front of the other defensive tackle (blue). They both then go around the outside of the Tackles. Most of the time both Defensive Tackles were getting through untouched and laying hits onto the Quarterback.

Now look at the offensive line’s pre-snap reads. The offensive tackles are taking on the DEs, the right guard is tacking on the DT (blue). The left guard and the center are going to double team the other DT.

This is the play after the snap, a few seconds in. The DEs have drawn the attention of the offensive tackles turning them inside, so they are facing inside. They then pinch and usually blind side the guards who don’t see them coming. The Center usually tracks his man but gets squashed in by the guards. The whole play is designed to squash the offensive line and get the DTs free to get around and destroy the QB. I love this stunt.

Back to the game...

Chandler overthrows Dwight in the endzone. Harris-82 makes a catch to the 3.

The Broncos rush 2, Chandler is almost picked off in the endzone. The ball was tipped by Atwater.

Another in-completion. The reason the Falcons lost this game I think is they tried to throw the ball too much into the endzone. They should have handed it off to Anderson once they got in the redzone.

Chandler hits Mathis for the TD, finally the Falcons get their first offensive points. They are going for two. Chandler incomplete. Score now 34-19. Though they scored on a pass I still think they should give it to Anderson to smash it in.

Two Minute Warning.

Another onside kick. Chamberlin picks it up again. He has had a great game so far.

Broncos running out the clock now. 1:30 left on the clock for the Falcons who take over after using all their timeouts.

Anderson off right tackle and is stripped! Turnover Broncos D. They have played great all day long.

Elway looked like he was having fun all game long.

Elway is MVP! Broncos kneel for the win. 34-19 final score.

O-line was amazing all day long.

The Broncos become the 6th team in history to go back to back.

Mike Shanahan was chocking up. He was so happy to beat Reeves, well I think.

Elway is the coolest character. He always seems to be in command.

Post Game Notes:

There was a story going into the game about the TE for the Falcons being involved in some incident before the game but they didn't explain it at all during the game. Can anyone explain to me what happened?

I really enjoyed the game. Anyway that is it from me. ~ Aussie.


  1. I admire that you are going back before your induction as a fan, G. i have never done that. However, that would consist of only some really bad years 'cause I've been a die-hard since the early 70's.
    I didn't read all of your post. I did look at your diagrams and glanced through it.
    Your questions.
    Yes, facing Reeves was big. More talk of Elway vs. Reeves than Shanahan. Elway talked him out of town you know. Reeves went to Giants before Falcons. He had a heart attack earlier in the year and almost died. Falcons managed a miracle win vs. the Vikings to get there. Had we faced Minn, I'm not so sure we get our second SB win. Culpepper and Moss were awesome that year.
    The player you refer to was a S, not a TE, Eugene Robinson. He was voted to some sort of an award for being a good person and then got busted the night before with a prostitute or something like that. He was good a player and a leader, much to the effect of Dawkins for us. It was a huge blow.
    Tim Dwight was an Iowa Hawkeye and I had an autographed rookie card. He then ended up traded to SD and never amounted to much.
    The pic you have of Stink and Elway after his sneak for a TD is a classic. Word is, according to Schlereth (who I have come to dislike lately because of his stance on Tebow), Stink looks over at Elway as they're both laying under the pile yet and says, "How's it going?". That cracked Elway up because they were on the verge of winning the SB. He says back to him, "You f**king idiot."

  2. Hey guys, sorry about no post game... never got to see it, for 1 they never showed it on TV here in KC and 2 I had to work during the whole game cuz of Christmas. And after following it on my phone, I'm glad I missed it. Cause I would A LOT more angry about it had I watched it all than I am over not seeing it in all its ugliness.

    So I don't have much to say about the game in the first place. Even a blind man would know it was ugly. I would actually prefer not to relive it in any way. Not even gonna watch highlights from the game. The ONLY part I saw was our first scoring drive... my fun stops there.

    Probably best we all don't relive it lol

  3. This is a cool post Aussie, nice to relive something that is a good memory for Denver fans.

  4. Thanks Digger for the info, it helps complete my knowledge for the game. Digger what other games do you suggest I watch other than the other Superbowl of course.

    And yeah Princess I expected that you would be busy over Christmas. And trust me I was pissed off at the game. I had to get up at 5 in the morning on Christmas to watch it, so was very disappointed.

    And I agree I thought this was a good memory to relive.

    In other news you hear about the Pro Bowl votes. Miller, Champ and Doom are in. With Tebow, Colquitt and Prater as maybes.

    Also Cosby was waviered and we signed a FB Sylvester.

  5. Tebow, Colquitt and Prater are 2nd team alternates and McGahee, Dawkins and Clady are 1st team alternates. Somehow on most blogs the 1st team alternates got omitted.
    Tomorrow I'll give my rendition of the game recap without doing a new post on it. It wasn't near as ugly as the score made it seem. Getting up at 5 on Christmas had to be a bitch though. New respect for you twice in one day my friend.
    Other games besides SBs. That's good because most SBs I don't remember. We usually were getting our arse kicked and I was drowning my sorrows pretty heavily.
    '77 was a magical run to our 1st SB.
    The drive of course.
    The day we killed the Pats and Sharpe called the president.
    Wilhite's back flips after TD's were cool.
    Losing to Jax the year before our 1st SB win.
    Beating Jax in playoffs next year on our way to SB win.
    Losing to NYG to end perfection.

    You just got done watching the end to 3 years of supremacy. During that time we were dominate. Counting playoffs 46-10. Much to do with the OL Shanny and Alex Gibbs built through FA AND the draft. They also got Howard Griffith and McCaffery (who was a great blocking WR) in FA. Davis was a great runner and his 2008 yard season was spectacular, but he was mainly just a benefactor of great blocking. Having Elway still around was the icing on the cake.

  6. Yeah I forgot about Dawkins and Clady, doh.

    I think we had our moments against the Bills, but the two intercept pick sixes killed us.

    Oh yeah I was pissed for the 3-4 hours after the game till we did presents :) can't be totally down on Christmas.

    Ok cool I will see what I can get a hold of and watch for my viewing pleasure.

    Yeah that 90's stretch would have been amazing to behold.

  7. G
    In our hay days it was crazy how everyone only saw Elway. Some saw Davis, but after that not much else. Of course fans knew the low down, but press wise that was pretty much all they talked about. As you know, it is still the same today, overdoing stories about the glory guys and not getting down and dirty with the beefy guys. Our OL, FB and run game in general was the shit man. Those were the best days ever. I mean it's one thing to cheer for a dominate team that you've come to like along the way that was good already, it's a whole different story to have YOUR team that you have been behind even when times got tough becomes a powerhouse. Oh man, good times. I truely hope you can one day have that feeling and OUR Broncos become great again. This team now has a chance. They still have a long way to go though. A run now of 5 straight wins would be one heck of a start to that.

  8. The Bills game

    was not as much of a blowout and an embarrassment as people are talking about. Obviously they didn't have to deal with trying to get through SBs 22 and 24. Those were ass whoopings that started early and never let up. This was a game that got out of hand late because of mistakes made in a desperate attempt at another impossible comeback. Sure we did not play good in the rest of the game in order to need the comeback. Some was bad calls (Eddie's KO return), some was due to not making the play (dropped passes and ints), but in the end we had hope thanks to Tebow's heroics so far this year. I never gave up until after the first pick 6. Now all of a sudden we are back down to the 4-12 and the 1-4 team we were before. Ridiculous. We WILL show up and beat Orton. We WILL have a home playoff game against either Balt or Pitt. We ARE on our way back up the ladder.

    I'm tired of any and everybody jumping on and off the Bronco bandwagon. In today's world, when everyone is a journalist (including me) because of blogs, it is so easy to express your fandom. I'm sorry, but I've learned that just because you like the same team as me doesn't mean I have to like you or the way you view our team. To me a fan loves his team even if he dislikes some things about a player. He wants his team to win. Have you read some fans WANT us to lose. I know you have read some WANT Tebow to fail. I don't get it, but I believe in God so it's different for me. I tried something today. I imagined that our starting QB was gay, so I could relate to what non-believers are going through. I would still want to win even if the consequences would be that the said QB stays to continue his career in Denver.

  9. Thanks Digger, yeah I hope we can get this team back to a powerhouse and I hope Tebow is that answer. I am also really happy that all three of our pro-bowlers were from the defensive side of the ball, that shows improvement.

    I understand that Elway and probably TD got all the attention. It is still the same today. The QB or Coach always gets all the praise or all the blame. It is just part of the game. But I do say that the O-line I watched in that Superbowl game were flat out balling and Elway could have knitted a sock if he had wanted to.

    The score for the Bills game didn't reflect correctly what was happening in the game. You are right we tried somethings and tried to get a win. I also like that Tebow tried to force some passes and be aggressive. Hey so what if a few got picked off, you learn from the mistake and get better then move on. Hopefully Tebow has grown a little because of it.

    I like how you described the fandom in this digital age, a lot has changed since say a decade ago. I always like to see players succeed and get personal success but at the end of the day it is the Broncos I want to see wining. Because players come and go but the Broncos will be here forever. All we want is wins and success. I don't care about all this other crap. (This was a hard paragraph to write or explain but yeah pretty much what you said haha)

  10. I know, it was for me too. I probably offended some people with what I said too. I didn't mean to. I was just explaining how I tried to get a perspective on things happening in some fans minds.

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