ENGLEWOOD, Colo. –It will be a long time before the disappointment around the way the 2013 season ended subsides for Broncos players and fans.
But this offseason, the players are using that defeat as a motivator for their offseason workouts.
When someone starts to fatigue, a teammate will yell out '35!'
The Broncos lost to the Seahawks 43-8, a 35-point margin, in Super Bowl XLVIII.
"Whenever someone gets tired, you just say 35, and they just start picking it up again," defensive end Malik Jackson said. "We know we have to come back strong this year. We had a disappointing loss. But that's last season. We're ready to move on."
The team is entering its second week of phase one of the voluntary offseason conditioning program this week. Weight room workouts are allowed, but the team has yet to go outside for any on-field work. That will come in phase two of the program.
"We use it every day," Jackson said. "These workouts, we come in and we say – we lost by 35, so that's our motivation."
Even players who weren't part of the team during the Super Bowl understand the significance of the number.
"Right now, it is still a hunger," said safety T.J. Ward, who signed as an unrestricted free agent with Denver this offseason. "You can tell it was a bad taste in the team's mouth from last year. Everybody is looking to improve and get better. The goal is to win that Super Bowl, so we're working really hard right now."
Despite having only been a Bronco for a short amount of time, Ward understands the motivation from the difficult loss.
"There's a little added motivation when you're preparing and working," he said. "There are so many leaders on this team. That is what is so great about it. There are not just one, two or three guys. Everybody has their leadership qualities. It comes out when we are working."