Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Devastation, Despair Provide Fuel for Rematch Broncos' Hate Has Simmered for Year over Playoff Loss

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Devastation, Despair Provide Fuel for Rematch Broncos' Hate Has Simmered for Year over Playoff Loss

Article excerpt

This was despair defined. John Elway had lost other big games --

three Super Bowls, in fact -- but walking from the field at Mile

High Stadium, he wore about the saddest look humanly possible.

Around him were stunned teammates; above, angry fans.

The scoreboard on Jan. 4 read Jaguars 30, Broncos 27, but one

fan read the pain on the future-Hall of Fame quarterback's face,

and called down with four prophetic words . . .

"You'll get another chance."

Elway forced a smile, one that will be genuine only if the

Broncos (12-4) beat the Jaguars (11-5) today.

"They took something away from us last year," Broncos coach

Mike Shanahan said. "That's something our team won't forget."

Such was the nature of the Jaguars' victory over the Broncos,

who had entered the playoffs with the AFC's best record (13-3).

They had home-field advantage through the playoffs -- as long

as they didn't lose.

Then, in the second round of the playoffs, they did. The

Jaguars were 14-point underdogs. No team had won a playoff game

when favored to lose by so many since the Jets beat the Colts in

Super Bowl III in 1969.

"It was a devastating moment for this organization," Broncos

linebacker Bill Romanowksi said.

Shanahan called it the most devastating loss in which he had

been involved. Elway admitted last summer it took months to

recover, and that it caused him to consider retirement. Running

back Terrell Davis said he went into a "coma" for a week,

refusing to answer his phone.

Broncos tight end Shannon Sharpe was asked if the Broncos

players hated the Jaguars. He said no. Jaguars players aren't as

sure.

"It's going to be very difficult going into a hostile

environment like we are; pretty much a team that hates us and a

city that hates us," Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell said. …

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