EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Bruno Mars could have opened his halftime show with an experimental new sound and he still wouldn't have lost the crowd as quickly as the Denver Broncos did.
If there was a shame about this Super Bowl - aside from cementing the big-game-letdown legacy of Peyton Manning - it was that, because the Super Bowl combined two energetic fan bases and seemed poised to break the stigma of the NFL's biggest night as an emotionless corporate gathering.
Broncos Orange provided the dominant color in the stadium. The team's introduction was met with crazed enthusiasm. And then 12 seconds later the Seattle Seahawks had a lead and the Denver energy was zapped, never to return in a 43-8 drubbing.
This isn't what Broncos fans expected when they bought high-dollar tickets without the slightest idea of what kind of weather might await them.
"It's in New York, you figure everybody out here has those corporate ties," said Justin Segall of Boulder, who made the trek by himself. "But I know my plane out here last night was full of Broncos fans and people seem like they're actually here to enjoy the game."
Castle Rock's Bruno Meli arrived in New York on Thursday night. He had experienced the city before, but never like this.
"The energy and the chemistry with the fans was unreal," Meli said. "Riding in on the train today was ridiculous. It seems like we outnumber the Seahawks fans 3-to-1 everywhere."
The scene was certainly set. And it continued through festivities that thrived under unexpectedly perfect conditions - 49 degrees and only slightly breezy under overcast skies.
All the Broncos faithful needed was a performance out of their team. They didn't get it. Seattle scored the quickest points in Super Bowl history, led by 22 at halftime and needed just 12 more seconds to score a touchdown in the second half.
Everything else about this night went off without a hitch, thanks no doubt to unprecedented security precautions and a pair of states in New Jersey and New York eager to show they could pull this off. Festivities circled MetLife Stadium, musical superstar Bruno Mars didn't disappoint with a fun halftime show, opera star Renee Fleming gave a rousing rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" and stars like Paul McCartney, Michael Douglas and David Beckham were sprinkled throughout the 82,529 in attendance.
The stage was set. The game just didn't provide the needed follow-through.