KLEE: Manning Bowl brings dreams of Broncos in Super Bowl

By: Paul Klee
September 15, 2013 Updated: September 16, 2013 at 7:00 pm
Caption +
New York Giants' Eli Manning (10) shakes hands with his brother Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Broncos won the game 41-23. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Soon as he wrapped up his Manning Bowl news conference, Peyton Manning made his final stroll into MetLife Stadium.

Or was it?

"When we were coming out of the tunnel, a couple of the fans said, 'Don't worry. You're going to be here again. I thought, 'We're going to be here again?'" Broncos cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie told me.

"Then I thought, Oh, the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl's going to be here. That's right."

The Broncos smashed the Giants on Sunday, 41-23. It was a lot like how the Broncos crushed the Ravens, 49-27.

The Broncos played pretty well, wouldn't you say?

But they can play so much better, wouldn't you say?

"That's the scary part," Rodgers-Cromartie said.

After Manning Bowl III was complete, Peyton put his hands in his pockets and walked across the field to reach the team bus.

This was his first game at MetLife Stadium, which opened in 2010. This was his third game against his brother, Eli. Big bro is 3-0.

"I don't think I'll make it to the next regular-season one," said Peyton, who has thrown nine touchdowns and no interceptions through two games.

This was less of a showcase of brothers and more a showcase for the Broncos.

"We got to talk a little bit before the game and just chatted for 10 minutes," said Eli, who has thrown six interceptions. "Nothing specific, just brotherly talk."

But was it Peyton's only game here?

The first Super Bowl in a cold-weather, open-air stadium is coming to New Jersey. Peyton already has a glove for the weather. Through two games, and most of last season, it appears he has the supporting cast to play here, when the weather is cold, again.

Let me tell you about MetLife Stadium, just in case you're in town for a visit on, say, Feb. 2, 2014.

MetLife Stadium is at the corner of a parking lot and another parking lot, in a stadium that looks, from the outside, like a parking lot. No matter what the promos suggest, the Super Bowl isn't going to New York.

It's going to New Jersey, and there's not much to this part of New Jersey.

"Any Super Bowl is going to be a good time," said Knowshon Moreno, a New Jersey native who rushed for two touchdowns. "Especially if you're playing in it."

It will be a frigid Super Bowl and probably an "electrifying" Super Bowl, as Rodgers-Cromartie said.

So far, there's plenty to suggest the Broncos will be playing in it.

It's not that the Broncos were perfect in whipping the past two Super Bowl champions. They were simply overwhelming.

The Broncos became the fifth team in NFL history to score 90 points in its first two games — despite 21 penalties, four turnovers and enough dropped passes to suggest they should be tested for butterfingers.

In the first half Sunday, Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker dropped passes. The Broncos had 10 penalties before the Giants had three.

"Those are things we have to correct," Peyton said.

All those stubbed toes by the visitors, and Giants fans were the ones stumbling to the Secaucus train station with 10:13 left in the game.

No one's guaranteeing the Broncos a parking spot in the parking lot at the New Jersey Super Bowl.

But it's fair to suggest they have the largest margin for error. They make plenty of them and still win, big.

"You're not a well-rounded team until you've won it all," safety Rahim Moore said.

This was the Manning Bowl, probably the last Manning Bowl.

At this rate, it wasn't the last Bowl for the Broncos, or for Peyton.


Twitter: @Klee_Gazette

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