ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --After the Broncos fell 43-8 in Super Bowl XLVIII, there was only one word Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway used to describe the feeling inside the team's Dove Valley headquarters.
"There is not anybody that is more disappointed about what happened on Sunday than everybody in this organization, especially the coaches and the players in that locker room," Elway said Tuesday. "They are as disappointed because they are the ones that went through the hard work for the whole year. That's where I get disappointed because I know how hard they worked and I know how disappointing it is when you aren't able to play your best football game in the Super Bowl like we were."
But, as Head Coach John Fox put it, "you are driven, sometimes, by that disappointment."
And that doesn't mean that Elway, Fox and the rest of the Broncos aren't proud of what they accomplished.
At the start of every season, 32 team share a common goal. And in the end, only one team is happy.
"The farther you get away from this, the less you concentrate on just that one game, the more you look at the full season and really what we did as a football team and really as an organization. And I'll tell you what, I'm very proud of that," Elway said. "We will use this as an experience that we went through, be disappointed that we didn't play better, but the bottom line is this organization and what (Owner and CEO) Pat Bowlen wants from this organization — that has not changed and it will not change."
Both Elway and Fox were quick to credit the Seahawks for the way they played in the Super Bowl. Elway said he didn't buy that Seattle "wanted it more," it was just a matter of one team playing better than the other.
When the Broncos fell behind early, both Fox and Elway said that they believed the team would come back, just as it had against deficits throughout the regular season. But it never materialized. And sometimes mistakes in the Super Bowl can feel much bigger than they would earlier in the year.
"You really have to concentrate on it being a normal football game, as hard as that is to do, because if you don't, any mistakes in that game get magnified one way or the other," Elway explained. "Good things get magnified and negative things get magnified and they compound on themselves."
"If we'd have had that start any other time during this year, we would've had really not a big issue of being able to pull out of that," he continued. "But because the way Seattle plays defense and you know that they are a momentum team and when they get the momentum they're that type of team to where it's tough to switch it and they did a good job of smelling blood in the water and they stayed after it."
"That will be a lesson that everybody that was on that field will take from that game," he said. "Every game is a learning experience. I would hope that a lot of our players will take heed to that and use it going forward."
"We talked to them today. They're competitors. They'll be back -- that's what competitors do. That's what you do when you get knocked down -- because you're going to get knocked down. That's just the way it is. There is only one happy team at the end of every one of these things. We got close and we came up short. They get that."
From here, Elway and the personnel staff will develop a plan when it comes to the NFL Draft and free agency.
Elway acknowledged that with such high expectations surrounding the Broncos, it won't be an easy task to shape the roster in the offseason.
"There are a lot of tough decisions, but they are good decisions to have because that means you have a good football team," he said.
And as he alluded earlier, the Broncos won't waver from their ultimate goal.
"The bottom line is we're going to work as hard as we worked this year, if not harder, and continue to do that with the mindset as we want to be World Champions," Elway said. "And we're going to do everything we can to get there."