COMMENTARY | It's been a magical season on many levels for the Denver Broncos, and it will culminate this Sunday with an appearance in Super Bowl XLVIII against the Seattle Seahawks. Many of the obvious narratives have been explored in the build up to kickoff: How will Denver's explosive #1 offense fare against Seattle's stout #1 ranked D? Can Peyton join brother Eli with a pair of rings? Can Richard Sherman shut down personally appointed top 5 WR Demaryius Thomas? Will Marshawn Lynch keep channeling Joaquin Phoenix from I'm Still Here with the media?
In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and Toto are displaced to Oz when a Tornado rips through their tiny Kansas town (not more than a stone's throw from Omaha, ironically enough), and they embark on a fantastic journey along the Yellow Brick Road en route to the Emerald City to meet the Wizard. Along the way, Dorothy and Toto meet a cast of colorful characters, though each is missing a key trait they believe will fulfill them.
The Broncos franchise is familiar with dynamic receiving corps coming in groups of three. The infamous trio known as the "Three Amigos"; Ricky Nattiel, Mark Jackson, and Vance Johnson; helped QB John Elway and the Broncos establish themselves in the '80s and '90s as one of the league's premiere franchises. Denver's current trio -- Thomas, Eric Decker, and Wes Welker -- are each by themselves a dominant receiver. When combined, they helped Peyton shatter some of the most prestigious all-time passing records.
So allow me to play the Wizard as I dole out a brain, a heart, and courage to the Denver Broncos wide receivers:
For Welker, a brain. Not because he lacks the smarts or on-field instincts necessary for success, but because his brain took some heavy blows this season and I'm not sure his neck can support the weight of his Rick Moranis in Spaceballs sized helmet through an entire season. Welker's cerebral quality has always elevated him among his peers and he'll have to play a smart guy on Sunday with the Legion of Boom circling the waters like a shiver of sharks.
For Thomas, a heart. A wise man once said, "Only winners get wings", and for the Broncos most dynamic playmaker a heart is the key to getting his wings. By now you've surely heard that Thomas' mother and grandmother will be watching him play in the Super Bowl from behind bars. Couple that with the fact that he'll be going up against arguably (or, not arguably) the best cornerback in the league today in Sherman, Thomas is going to have to bring the heart if he wants to make an impact on Sunday.
And finally for Decker, a dose of courage. As a burgeoning reality TV star, it's likely Decker's heard more than his fair share of hecklers in the Big Apple this week (maybe for this?) and with an expiring contract and looming free agency, Decker is going to have to put all of the peripheral stories out of his head to reach the promise land on Sunday evening. And he'll likely have to deal with taking a hit or two from Kam Chancellor, and anyone would need more than a little courage for that.
It's no coincidence these Broncos ended up playing the "Emerald City" hailing Seahawks, after all.
Andrew Majors lives in Denver and is an award-winning journalist who currently works as a content strategist at a digital marketing firm. You can follow him on Twitter @AndrewMajors.
- American Football
- Denver Broncos
- Demaryius Thomas
- Seattle Seahawks
- Eric Decker