Broncos, tired of hype, eager to focus solely on game

Denver Broncos' Peyton Manning talks with the press Denver Broncos' Peyton Manning talks with the press during Media Day at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. (Jan. 28, 2014) Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

JERSEY CITY - The Broncos tried to ignore the hype as best they could this week, focusing solely on defeating the Seahawks Sunday night rather than on the bright lights of countless TV cameras.

But although they expected the media spotlight to be intense, Denver players didn't expect to get a little seasick aboard the Cornucopia Majesty. The uniqueness of conducting interviews aboard a cruise ship docked in the Hudson River initially was appealing to players, but by Day 5, several Broncos were over the idea.

"It's cool. It's different,'' defensive tackle Terrance "Pot Roast'' Knighton said Thursday, the final day of media availability for players before Super Bowl XLVIII. "I've never done this before. But I think there's better ways they can do it.''

The constant rocking made for an uncomfortable few hours each morning, and by Thursday, both players and media members were anxious to get back on dry land.

"I'm ready to get off this boat, to be honest with you,'' cornerback Champ Bailey said.

Though no player lost his lunch aboard the Cornucopia (although at least one media member did in the third-floor bathroom), several Broncos had to contend with nausea and upset stomachs. But they tried not to show it.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

"I'm trying to be mentally tough right now, but it bothers me a little bit,'' Knighton said of the constant swaying.

"They told us we would be on a boat, but it didn't quite sink in until now. I'm just ready to get off of it now. There's a few guys saying 'My stomach's not feeling right' or they don't feel comfortable or they can't swim if something happens. I can swim, so I'm not worried.''

Being on board threw off the Broncos' equilibrium, and the hours spent talking to reporters also threw off their routines a bit. Asked if he was happy he didn't have to worry about doing more news conferences the rest of the week, receiver Eric Decker said: "One hundred percent. This is part of the deal. I'm excited that I get to sit in front of all you guys and talk about playing one more game for the Super Bowl and my experiences, whether it's throughout the year or this week. I'm not going to complain about anything.

"I'm ready just to get back to playing football and prepare myself to the best of my ability.''

Running back Knowshon Moreno said the Broncos' practice schedule has remained the same, and that the only thing that has been different is the sea of media requests.

"There's so many media around, we have to come here and talk to you guys,'' Moreno said. " . . . It is what it is. I'm still concentrating on football. This is part of the deal.

"A lot of teams want to be here right now. They want to be here at the Super Bowl and wouldn't mind being here talking to you guys, and we don't, either. So it's something we have to do and get back to work when it's football time.''

Knighton said the media attention during Super Bowl week has been bigger than he anticipated. But he also noted it was right on par with the venue for the biggest game of the season.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

"It's appropriate,'' Knighton said. "It's New York City, you're down to two teams. Football is probably America's No. 1 sport and everyone's looking forward to the game. It's almost like a world holiday, so I think it's appropriate.''

But the always reserved Bailey said it's imperative the Broncos don't get "too caught up'' in all this hype.

"It's going to be hard not to understand the importance of this game,'' Bailey said. "The thing is, you've got to understand what it takes to win it and why we're here and how we got here. And everything will take care of itself.''

You also may be interested in: