The Denver Broncos are now six years removed from their last Super Bowl appearance.
And to be honest, it feels so much longer than six years.
In fact, as Broncos Country is well aware, they haven’t played in as much as a wild-card game since beating the Carolina Panthers 24-10 to cap the 2015 season with the franchise’s third Lombardi Trophy.
Despite the current drought, the Broncos have a storied Super Bowl history. It’s a one full of memorable highs and record lows, having appeared in more Super Bowls (eight) than all but the New England Patriots (11) among NFL franchises entering this season’s playoffs.
To help dull the despair of Denver’s current postseason drought, and get fans ready for Colorado Super Bowl betting, here is a countdown of the five best individual player performances in Broncos’ Super Bowl history:
5. WR Demaryius Thomas, Super Bowl XLVIII (2014)
The numbers: 18 targets-13 receptions-118 yards-1 touchdown
The late, great D.T. was the best orange-clad player in the Broncos’ 43-8 thrashing at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks in East Rutherford, N.J., setting a Super Bowl game record for receptions and scoring Denver’s lone TD in the contest.
Thomas’ reception record was eclipsed three years later by New England Patriots running back James White (14), but he still owns the Big Game record for targets (18) and remains the only wide receiver or tight end with 12 or more catches in a Super Bowl game.
4. S Steve Atwater, Super Bowl XXXII (1998)
The numbers: 6 total tackles (all solo)-1 sack-1 forced fumble-2 passes defensed
The Broncos’ newest Hall of Famer was a hard-hitting force in the franchise’s first Super Bowl victory, 31-24 over the Green Bay Packers. He set the tone early, blitzing QB Brett Favre and jarring the ball loose at the Green Bay 33-yard line on the sack, setting up a Denver field goal.
Later, on the Packers’ last-gasp drive in the game’s waning minutes, Atwater delivered a punishing hit that forced an incompletion and temporarily sent four players, including himself, to the sideline.
3. QB John Elway, Super Bowl XXXIII (1999)
The numbers: 18 completions-29 attempts-336 yards-1 TD-1 interception; 3 rushes-2 yards-1 TD
On the strength of his 80-yard second-quarter scoring strike to Rod Smith, Elway finished with a Super Bowl personal-best passer rating in his fifth and final Roman Numeral Game appearance.
Elway later scored on a 3-yard sneak to put the Broncos ahead of the overmatched Atlanta Falcons 31-6 in the fourth quarter as the 38-year-old wrapped up Super MVP honors in the final game of his Hall of Fame career.
2. LB Von Miller, Super Bowl 50 (2016)
The numbers: 6 total tackles (5 solo)-2.5 sacks-2 forced fumbles-1 pass defensed
Miller provided a fitting end to one of the best team defensive seasons in league history as he became the fourth linebacker to capture Super Bowl MVP honors.
No. 58 sacked and stripped the ball twice from Carolina QB Cam Newton, the 2015 league MVP. The first resulted in Malik Jackson’s recovery in the end zone for the game’s initial TD, and the second, at the Carolina 9-yard line, led to the Broncos’ game-clinching — and only offensive TD — four plays later.
1. RB Terrell Davis, Super Bowl XXXII (1998)
The numbers: 30 carries-157 yards-3 TDs; 2 receptions-8 yards
The Super Bowl XXXII MVP’s three rushing TDs, including the game-winning 1-yarder with 1:45 remaining, still stand as a Super Bowl single-game record. His 157 rushing yards rank fifth in Big Game annals.
With his eight receiving yards thrown in, Davis accounted for 54.6% of the Broncos’ total offense in the game and scored three of their four TDs. It was a starring role in helping keep Favre and the potent Packers’ offense on the sideline.