The Broncos arrived at Newark Airport to the sort of reception
normally reserved for heads of state. Their chartered jet was towed
away from the main terminal gates to a secluded hanger so the
players could disembark onto a red carpet away from public eyes.
Their arrival was broadcast live on the NFL Network and dozens of
photographers snapped away as the players left the plane and boarded
a bus for their New Jersey hotel and the first of a week of news
"Our team's excited," said Denver quarterback Peyton Manning. "The
Super Bowl is a big deal."
Manning discussed a wide variety of topics, including his thoughts
about the threat of snow on game day, the advice he had received
from his brother Eli, who plays for the New York Giants, and the
mood within the Broncos camp.
"We were excited getting on the plane," he said. "And we were
excited getting off the plane."
Asked whether he was tempted to retire if the Broncos won the Super
Bowl, Manning stuck to the sportman's mantra that he was taking it
one game at a time.
"I really have no plans beyond this game," he said.
"I had no plans coming into this season, beyond this year, and I
think that's the healthy way to approach your career at this stage."
However, Manning, who made a comeback to the National Football
League last season after missing a year because of a serious neck
injury, did say that his current mindset was to keep playing.
"As soon as I stop enjoying it, if I can't keep producing, if I
can't help a team, that's when I'll stop playing," he said.
"If that's next year, maybe it is, but I certainly want to continue
to keep playing."
Denver cornerback Champ Bailey also sidestepped questions about his
immediate future after finally making his first Super Bowl after 15
years in the NFL.
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"I'm not really thinking about retiring if I win. All I'm thinking
about is winning and doing what I've got to do to win the game," he
"That's my preparation this week. After the game, we'll talk about
Wide receiver Wes Welker, who played for the New England Patriots in
two Super Bowls but is yet to win a championship, said he was
thrilled to get another chance.
"I definitely feel very blessed to have this opportunity and to be
in this situation is very rare," he said.
"You really can't take it for granted. You really just want to make
the most of it, but have fun with it and at the same time understand
we're here on a business trip and ready to play this game."
Denver's head coach John Fox said all the players were healthy and
ready for the game. There had been some concerns about the kicker
Matt Prater after he skipped practice with illness but he travelled
with the team.
"He feels much better. Our docs took good care of him," Fox said.
"He'll be fine come next Sunday."
With the Super Bowl being played for the first time in an outdoor
stadium in a cold environment, the weather has been one of the
dominant talking points in the build up to the game but all the
Broncos said they were unfazed.
"To be a championship football team, you have to be weatherproof,"
"Our football team played in all different elements this year. I
feel comfortable where we're at as far as it goes with the
(Editing by Gene Cherry)
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