I was surprised to discover so many Broncos fans waxing bitter on Twitter yesterday about DeMarcus Ware deciding to retire a Cowboy. Yes, he won his ring with us, which is why we should all say together: THANK YOU DeMarcus. You take away his ring, you take away the Broncos’s Lombardi. You think he doesn’t love and respect Broncos Country? Then you haven’t been paying attention. I know this will sound a bit like heresy to the PFM fans, but in my humble opinion even more of the credit for SB 50 tilts towards the other HOF veteran on the team in 2016: D-Ware.
It is legendary how his example, drive and focus elevated the vaunted Broncos’s defense in the run up to the Super Bowl. How much his passion and commitment fueled Orange Crush 2.0. I’m guessing that if an accurate poll could be taken, Von Miller would easily be Broncos’s fans’ favorite player. It cannot be over stated how critical D-Ware coming to Denver was in developing Miller into our MVP. Miller evolved from immature and unfocused drug cheat, to driven warrior who understands and is capable of carrying our franchise on his chicken-loving shoulders. Thanks in no small part to D-Ware.
The veteran leadership Manning and Ware provided was the emotional heart and drive that carried this team to a victory few outside of our fan base imagined possible. Ware’s speech to the team before the AFC Championship game will go down as one of the most important moments in Bronco’s history, because he inspired and drove home how rare this opportunity is and must not be squandered. Here’s an excellent article with more specifics about his great impact:
Ware spoke with ferocity and passion, seizing the opportunity to lay bare the frustrations he has felt at toiling in the league for more than a decade without any hardware to show for it.
Do you remember the lead up to Super Bowl 50? Where the almost none of the experts gave the Broncos any chance of winning against high-flying Cam? I do. But my gut was telling me this team had a chance because of the high level of play and discipline they demonstrated throughout the playoffs. At the SB press day, the Panthers were flashy and chatty having a great time. But the Broncos players were quite subdued, and were more concerned with the game then the spectacle. And how were these Broncos so focused on the game itself not the carnival surrounding it? Manning and Ware.
Broncos players credited their 24-10 victory over the Panthers in Super Bowl 50 to a pair of speeches from veterans Peyton Manning and DeMarcus Ware.
Make no mistake-Miller has always had all the talent in the world–he just needed the maturity and character of one of his heroes to help him find focus. Much of the credit today for the SB MVP comes from Ware’s mentoring.
I have some fun homework for you: re-watch Super Bowl 50 with close attention to D-Ware. I was blessed to be sitting right over the endzone where Miller made the first strip sack, which is one of the most cherished moments of my life. Here are some of these highlights:
It was still early in the game and I’m sure nerves were sky high for most of us–but what I witnessed in that play was the determination and follow through that assured me that this team was going to leave everything on the field in pursuit of the Lombardi. And while Miller stripped the ball, and Jackson actually recovered it for the TD–who else was right there: D-Ware. Witnessing that play unfold before my pleasantly stunned eyes was the lingering impression of Ware chasing that ball valiantly and then wrapping Jackson and that ball in a big old football hug to make sure the Touchdown was assured.
D-Ware is a brilliant athlete and leader, and in the big game he SHOWED UP. In the pivotal strip sack in the Fourth Quarter-who’s right there again making a play for the ball like a feisty 25 year old–yup–Ware. The rest of the Defense had to be fired up by such complete aggressive play. Ware was hungry for the win and he went to eat–play after play he was giving maximum effort in Super Bowl 50. He was the embodiment of ‘iron sharpens iron’ during this game-everyone was elevated and inspired by his intensity of play.
I have loved the Broncos since I was a small girl, and I love our team and football with the fierceness a childhood devotion inspires. I understand that we don’t want to share a beloved player like DeMarcus Ware. OUR team got him to the promised land and the Lombardi and the ring. Jerry Jones and his boys in blue are lesser than us in every measure that actually counts in the NFL. And because we have such a class organization, and have been spoiled repeatedly, I think sometimes we lose perspective. How many of our Broncos’s greats have we really had to share? We even got our storybook ending with Shannon Sharpe playing one more magical season with the Broncos after being traded to the Ravens–how often does that happen? Can you imagine if Elway had spent the last few years of his career in Indy and got them a SB ring? I probably would have died.
Ware not only actually accomplished the championship that was impossible to obtain in Dallas, he has left a lasting legacy with our franchise. Ware has impacted our future HOF and SB MVP Von Miller, and so many other young players on our team. I think a little bit of generosity of spirit is called for here: let the Cowboys’ fans share D-Ware with us. I wouldn’t have traded his tenure with us and truthfully, we got the very best piece of his career. Sometimes warriors at the end of their career have more heart to give. He left his in Denver.