October 26, 2013 Updated: October 27, 2013 at 12:31 am
1. The Broncos will honor former coach Mike Shanahan with a 20-second video tribute prior to kickoff Sunday. In 14 seasons with the Broncos, Shanahan helped bring a pair of Super Bowl titles and almost 10 wins per season to Colorado. He also tried to convince John Elway that the quarterback should return for a third-straight Super Bowl run in 1999. "He did. He tried to get me to come back," Elway told me at their Dove Valley headquarters. "I think the bottom line is what we saw (individually). What he could see was we were still having success on the field, so therefore I could still play a little bit. Ultimately, it came down to the physicality of it and whether I could stay healthy." Unfortunately, the recruiting pitch didn't come with a fountain of youth. Three months after the Broncos beat the Falcons 34-19 in Super Bowl XXXIII, Elway retired from football. The following season, the Broncos limped to a 6-10 record and missed the playoffs in their worst season since 1990.
2. Peyton Manning is one big superlative. Passing yards, passing touchdowns, comeback wins, quarterback rating: All of these numbers are soaring. Here's a low number that also puts Manning into perspective: One. He's been sidelined for exactly one day of practice since signing with the Broncos in April 2012. That day was Wednesday. "I can assure you I didn't go down without a fight," he said. With Manning watching instead of throwing, the football world freaked out as though he had grown a third arm. Instead, the Broncos listed him with an ankle injury. Take a deep breath: Manning hustled to the podium without a noticeable limp and returned to full participation Thursday and Friday. Was it really an ankle or simply a day of rest? I lean toward the latter. "I know the government is shut down right now, but I still firmly believe in HIPAA," Manning said, letting out no secrets.
3. With the No.?1 and No.?2 picks in the 2012 draft, the Colts and Redskins selected their quarterbacks of the future. In consecutive games, the Broncos will face those quarterbacks: Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. Who's better? Hopefully there is no debate. Luck broke out; RGIII broke down. From Michael Vick to RGIII, mobile quarterbacks are a great idea - in theory. Then the vicious nature of pro football wears them down with a series of nasty hits outside the protection of their offensive line. "They're designing more runs for him," Broncos cornerback Chris Harris said of RGIII. Over the past two decades, the closest we've seen to a Super Bowl-winning quarterback who excelled with his feet was Ben Roethlisberger or John Elway. Roethlisberger was more of an escape artist than a run-first guy; Elway, at 37 and 38, only ran when necessary. Take note, Jaguars. Teddy Bridgewater is more RGIII than Tom Brady 2.0.