Denver Broncos' owner thanks die-hard fans

3:23 PM, Jan 15, 2013   |    comments
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In light of this, Broncos owner and CEO Pat Bowlen, released a personal letter to all of the season-ticket holders on Tuesday. The letter said the following:

Dear Season Ticket Holder:

I write this letter to summarize my thoughts on the 2012 season and to thank you for your tremendous support this year.

Saturday's playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens was a gut-wrenching disappointment for everyone who loves the Denver Broncos. It marked a bitter end to an otherwise successful season.

I feel terrible for our players, coaches and staff who put forth maximum effort throughout the year. They accomplished many great things while falling short of our ultimate goal.

But most importantly, my heart aches for you.

The energy and enthusiasm you provided us this past year were infectious and carried us to great accomplishments. Your passionate backing allowed us to ascend as the season progressed. To have it end so suddenly is certainly most painful for you.

As the owner of a football team that belongs to this region, city and the greatest fans in professional sports, I share and understand the deep disappointment that you still must feel today.

In the early stages of reflection, one thing stands clear-Your support is unwavering.

Since the day I bought this team through the moment you finished cheering your hearts out in the freezing cold of Saturday's game, that has always been the case. Please know that I am humbled by this support and I am forever grateful for it.

I said publicly last year that I wanted 2012 to be a great season, not just a good season. We certainly had a very good season and perhaps exceeded a few expectations.

But Broncos fans, you and I know what a great season looks like.

That is why I'll soon stop reflecting and start working on one thing for 2013-bringing another Super Bowl victory back to Denver. As we move forward, I am extremely optimistic with the future of our team.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for the passion, enthusiasm and overwhelming support you gave us this past season.


Pat Bowlen

The Broncos had two timeouts and 31 seconds on the clock after Baltimore tied the game at 35 at the end of the fourth quarter, but Fox instructed quarterback Peyton Manning to take a knee and play for overtime. Denver lost 38-35 when Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker made a 47-yard field goal in the second overtime.

"It was like a prize fighter who gets a right cross on the chin at the end of a round. You're looking to get out the round. That might not be the ideal time to go for a knockout punch," Fox said Monday in his season-ending press conference. "One of the things that when you coach players and you are around them, and we had 20 games prior including preseason, you get a better feel for where they're at. A look in their eye, a feeling. It was pretty devastating."

Broncos executive vice president John Elway defended the coach's decision, even when asked specifically if he, as a former quarterback, would have been OK taking a knee in that situation.

"To me, that was a good move to be able to regroup, get ourselves back together and start the overtime period," Elway said. "I thought we did the right thing."

Fox and Elway said Manning was also in agreement with the coaching staff's decision.

Fox and Elway faced many questions in a 35-minute session largely focused on Denver's conservative play calling over the final three minutes of regulation. The Broncos called five straight running plays, including one on a third-and-7, and punted with 1:15 left.

Repeatedly, both went back to the math and cited percentages in Denver's favor given the Broncos' seven-point lead and the Ravens needing to go 77 yards in 1:09 to tie the game.

Fox said the chances of the Broncos winning at that point were 97%, and that went up to 99% when Denver forced Baltimore into a third down at their own 30-yard line with 41 seconds remaining.

That was the scenario when Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco heaved basically a floater of a Hail Mary to receiver Jacoby Jones. Two Broncos defensive backs erred on the play - cornerback Tony Carter, who didn't jam Jones at the line of scrimmage and allowed him a free release on a go pattern, and safety Rahim Moore, who let Jones get behind him and mistimed his jump while trying to break up the pass.

The analytic-based reasoning for the conservative running plays and kneeldown won't make a devastated fan base feel any better, especially not after watching Atlanta quickly move into field goal range and win their divisional game in the final seconds Sunday.

"That's understandable. That's a choice we made, and honestly, I'll do it again," Fox said. "That's what we do, we try to play the percentages, and I mean this in all sincerity, if I felt like we were going to give up a 70-yard touchdown pass with 41 seconds to go, I might have re-evaluated that."

While the majority of the final press conference focused on Denver's loss, Elway tried to reflect on a 13-3 regular season in which Denver earned the No. 1 seed in the AFC thanks to an 11-game winning streak.

Though the season ended in the divisional round just as it did a year ago, the Broncos' bosses have little doubt this was a more successful year.

"There's no question it was a very good season for us," Elway sad. "We won a lot of football games, the excitement was back. Now it's important for us to make the next step."

Elway was the quarterback on a Denver team that lost at home in the second round of the playoffs in 1996 to the upstart Jacksonville Jaguars. That loss was widely considered the most painful in team history before Saturday. Elway sees similarities, though he said that at the time, he felt his window to win a title was shorter than the current window is for Manning.

The Broncos ended up as a wild-card team in 1997 and went on to win the first of two consecutive Super Bowls.

"How do we learn from this situation? If we get defensive, and we don't look at everything we did in this game and try to learn from it, then we could experience it again," Elway said. "If we really dissect it and look at what happened, not only what happened in the game, but we'll learn from what happened in practice, with the bye. We'll look at everything, learn from it."

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation with USA TODAY)

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