Terrell Davis and his Super Bowl-record three rushing touchdowns?
John Elway riding into the sunset with a second Lombardi Trophy and Super Bowl XXXIII MVP honors in tow?
We detailed the top five Denver Broncos individual performances in Super Bowl history a week ago.
Now it’s time for some overlooked, forgotten and under-appreciated Broncos Big Game performances to snare their share of the spotlight.
There are plenty to choose from as the Orange and Blue have a storied Super Bowl history. It’s a history 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.
Still, the Broncos haven’t appeared in the postseason since winning Super Bowl 50 six years ago. Only the New York Jets, whose last playoff appearance came at the end of the 2010 season, have a longer current drought among the 32 NFL franchises.
So, in an effort to help dull Denver’s current pro football despair — and to get fans primed for some Colorado Super Bowl betting — we’re counting down five of the most overlooked individual showings in Super Bowl annals:
5. S Tyrone Braxton, Super Bowl XXXII (1998)
The numbers: 7 total tackles, 1 interception, 1 pass defensed
Fellow safety Steve Atwater had the more memorable outing in the Broncos’ first Super Bowl victory.
But Braxton’s big game shouldn’t be overlooked.
His seven total tackles paced the Denver D. And his interception late in the first quarter — Brett Favre’s only one of the game — at the Packers’ 45-yard line set up Elway’s 1-yard scoring scamper eight plays later.
That TD gave the Broncos their first lead of the evening at 14-7. They never trailed again en route to their indelible 31-24 upset triumph.
4. S T.J. Ward, Super Bowl 50 (2016)
The numbers: 7 total tackles, 1 interception, 1 fumble recovery
Teammate and game MVP Von Miller (deservedly) hogged the spotlight in Santa Clara, Calif. But Ward’s play on Denver’s dominant defensive day certainly deserves some love.
The hard-hitting safety came up with two of the Carolina Panthers’ four turnovers in the game and finished second on the team with his seven total tackles.
Ward’s second takeaway — a fumble recovery returned five yards to the Carolina 4-yard line late in the fourth quarter — set up the Broncos’ only offensive touchdown of the game.
That TD was the game-clincher as well in Denver’s 24-10 victory.
3. DE Lyle Alzado and NT Rubin Carter, Super Bowl XII (1978)
The (combined) numbers: 16 total tackles (8 solo), 4 sacks, 1 fumble recovery
The legendary Orange Crush defense propelled the Broncos to their first Super Bowl appearance.
And it was the Crush that kept Denver in the Big Game itself with the offense gaining only 156 total yards and turning the ball over a whopping eight times in a nightmarish outing.
Alzado and Carter were front and center of that defensive effort in New Orleans. Each registered eight total tackles and bagged two sacks apiece of Dallas Cowboys QB Roger Staubach.
With the Broncos still in the game at 20-10 early in the fourth quarter, Carter forced a Staubach fumble at the Broncos’ 45-yard line on his second sack of the day. But, in the theme of the afternoon, the Denver offense couldn’t capitalize, and the Cowboys pulled away for the dream-crushing 27-10 win.
2. CB Darrien Gordon, Super Bowl XXXIII (1999)
The numbers: 2 interceptions for 108 yards, 3 total tackles, 3 passes defensed
The 1998-99 playoffs were a three-game tour de force for the talented cornerback/punt returner. Gordon snared four interceptions and racked up 249 return yards on 11 total touches.
That included a still-standing Super Bowl-record 108 return yards on a pair of picks in the 34-19 Roman Numeral thumping of the Atlanta Falcons.
On that Super stage, Gordon returned interceptions 58 and 50 yards, setting up the Broncos’ offense in Atlanta territory. Each of those possessions netted TDs en route to Denver’s repeat world title.
1. RB C.J. Anderson, Super Bowl 50 (2016)
The numbers: 23 rushes-90 yards-1 TD; 4 targets-4 receptions-10 yards
As mentioned with Ward above, the Broncos’ No-Fly Zone defense carried the franchise to its third Lombardi Trophy.
It needed to as QB Peyton Manning was a shell of his Hall of Fame self in his final season.
To that point, the Denver offense only totaled 194 yards in Super Bowl 50. But one player accounted for more than half of those yards, finishing with an even 100 yards from scrimmage while touching the ball on 27 of the Broncos’ 56 offensive plays with no turnovers.
That player, of course, is Anderson who also scored Denver’s lone offensive TD of the contest. It came on a hard-earned 1-yard run with 3:08 to play — the clinching score in the 24-10 win.
Anderson accounted for all 90 of Denver’s rushing yards in the game. He also finished as the Broncos’ second-leading receiver, reeling in all four of his targets for 10 yards.
Largely operating under the radar, Anderson heroically shouldered a Super-sized offensive load that day.
And his performance, along with all the others here, shouldn’t be overlooked or forgotten.