Two days after the Broncos were thoroughly embarrassed in Super Bowl XLVIII, they remain on the search for where it all went wrong. Wide receiver Wes Welker admitted that he and his teammates weren't prepared for the noise during their first drive, which sounds more like a rookie mistake than something a veteran with previous Super Bowl experience might say.
On the Broncos' first play from scrimmage, center Manny Ramirez snapped the ball early -- and right past Peyton Manning -- all the way into the end zone where it was recovered by running back Knoshown Moreno for a safety. Two-nothing, Seattle, and the rout was on.
“That's the way the start of any Super Bowl is: It's going to be loud,” Welker said, via TheMMQB.com. “The fans are going to be yelling. They don't really know why they're yelling -- it's just the start of the Super Bowl. We didn't prepare very well for that, and it showed.”
Yes, yes it did.
Earlier in the week, Broncos coach John Fox, who had been to two previous Super Bowls, said in a pool report that the team actually turned down the simulated crowd noise during practices because he didn't expect it to be an issue Sunday.
"Normally, it's about five times louder than that," Fox said, via NFL.com. "It's not an away game. The ones I've been to haven't been too loud. So we just kind of practice with what we think we're going to get."
The reality is that it was deafening. And it had an obvious and immediate effect.
"We were using a snap count on the play, but due to the noise, no one could hear me," Manning said. "So really I was walking up to the line of scrimmage to make a change and try get us on the same page. The ball was snapped. Really just an overall, nobody's fault."
Ramirez disagreed and took full responsibility for what happened.
"It was real loud. We were trying to go on the cadence. I thought I heard him. I didn't," Ramirez said. "He was actually walking up to me because he had already said the cadence, and I snapped it. But again, I take full responsibility for that. It's just something that we should have been able to overcome, and we weren't able to ... It's not an excuse. It shouldn't have happened."
The great irony is that Manning and Broncos -- lauded in the days leading up to the Super Bowl for their experience and attention to detail -- looked wholly unprepared against a team with exactly zero Super Bowl experience.