December 26, 2012
DENVER — Las Vegas says the Broncos are the best bet to win the Super Bowl.
Their odds: 3:1. Here’s a tip: Bet on the Broncos, with their luck. No team’s had more.
There is no rabbit’s foot in the locker room. Trust me, I looked. I scoured Dove Valley, high (near the Bible verse above Demaryius Thomas’ locker) and low (through the scattered scraps of ankle tape), after their practice Wednesday.
There was no horseshoe, either, only a quarterback who once played for the Colts.
The closest thing to a leprechaun would be the Notre Dame doormat owned by David Bruton, special teams ace. The mat went missing, the rug pulled right out from under him.
"Somebody stole it,” Bruton said, laughing.
Denver’s good fortune must be coming from somewhere. These Broncos are not perfect, but this season has been their perfect storm.
Denver is 12-3 and hosts 2-13 Kansas City on Sunday. Only six teams since 1970 have won 11 straight games to close a regular season. Denver will make it a lucky 7.
What’s luck got to do, got to do with it?
Plenty. Almost everything that could go right has gone right. Except for Bruton’s magical carpet ride, the Broncos are the anti-Murphy’s Law.
Six days before Denver played at Baltimore, the Ravens fired their offensive coordinator. Baltimore’s offense was a mess. The Broncos made it messier.
New England had won 21 straight December home games. San Francisco won at New England on Dec. 16. That bumped Denver into position for the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs.
The AFC West picked a great time (for Denver) to be historically bad. If San Diego loses to Oakland in their finale, the division will have three teams with double-digit losses. That’s never happened before — not even with five teams in the division.
The Broncos likely will sweep their division for the second time since 1970 (8-0, 1998).
We are told it’s better to be lucky than good.
The Broncos are both — an outstanding team (the best, Vegas says) with outstanding fortune.
No surprise here: Last week’s winning Powerball numbers included an 18.
The Broncos winning numbers are 18, 24, 78, 92 and 58. Those were their Pro Bowl picks Wednesday: Peyton Manning (for the 12th time), Champ Bailey (for the 12th time), Ryan Clady, Elvis Dumervil, and Von Miller.
The sixth and seventh should have been Wesley Woodyard and Chris Harris. Their candidacy was not without a measure of good fortune, as well.
Woodyard got on the field, as a three-down starter, because another player couldn’t be on it. He took over when D.J. Williams was suspended. For the NFL’s No. 2 defense, Woodyard is No. 1 in tackles (110). Harris, too. A revelation at cornerback, Harris earned a starting spot when Tracy Porter was sidelined. Harris will be in Denver a long, long time.
That isn’t luck; it’s superb scouting (by the Broncos) and performance (by the players).
The Broncos are a football lottery ticket mostly chosen by John Elway. The executive VP of football operations knew the right numbers to pick, and the right numbers emerged.
Las Vegas wasn’t built on winners. But its oddsmakers say Denver will be the biggest winner.
The smallest Bronco only wins.
Five-foot-6 Trindon Holliday hasn’t lost in 2012. He went 5-0 with the Texans and is 10-0 with the Broncos — his first game the second-half comeback at San Diego.
In this holiday season, maybe Holliday’s the lucky charm.
Maybe he took Bruton’s lucky Irish rug.