ENGLEWOOD, Colo. –
But all of that experience won’t help keep away those butterflies that accompany kicking off the season against the defending Super Bowl champions in front of a primetime national audience this week.
“I think if you don’t, you ought to be doing something else,” Manning said about getting those pregame butterflies. “So (this is my) 16th opening day and I’ve played in this opening game three times. It’s got a little something extra to it. I think everybody will be excited and have some healthy butterflies. I think it’s a good thing.”
Even though these NFL players have been performing in front of crowds their entire careers, that doesn’t mean they don’t get nervous like anyone else would before a big audience.
“I think I get butterflies every game,” wide receiver
With the game drawing closer, so are those initial anxious feelings.
“No question. Who said we stopped getting butterflies?” tight end
It’s been a while since the players have laced up their cleats for a game that counts in the standings.
So once those initial nerves go away on Thursday, it will become just another game.
Albeit with a raucous crowd that has been waiting eight months to fill Sports Authority Field at Mile High and cheer on the Broncos.
It just so happens that the last time the fans filled the stadium for a Broncos game, the Ravens were the opponent.
“It is going to be a playoff-like atmosphere out there,” Ravens running back Ray Rice said. “It’s my second time playing in Denver. It won’t be as cold, but I’m sure it will be probably one of the hardest hitting games of the year.”
“Every time you run in that tunnel it’s a mix of being anxious and a mix of being a little nervous,” Decker said. “It’s good. If you’ve got those feelings you know you’re ready to go and ready to play. I’m definitely, at this point, worried about practice itself.
"But when that day comes, I know I’ll be ready.”