The Broncos traveled to London to play at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, but the trip would not have been possible without years of behind-the-scenes planning.
They were originally supposed to play against the Falcons in London in 2020, but the trip was canceled due to COVID-19. As The Athletic’s Nick Kosmider noted, the process gave Denver a head start in their planning for this year's London game.
"What might go unsaid is the Herculean effort required to make the scene possible," Kosmider wrote. "[Senior Vice President of Operations Chip] Conway, who has been with the Broncos for 29 years, had been a part of three other international trips — London, Mexico, Australia — and four Super Bowls with the franchise before this week's expedition. But transporting a team's entire operation to a new location for a week never becomes routine, no matter how many times you do it."
In preparation for this trip, Kosmider noted that the Broncos brought members of the kitchen staff from the hotel they are staying at in London to training camp over the summer, and they spent ten days learning from Broncos Executive Chef Justin Domsch and his kitchen staff. Additionally, members of the Broncos' kitchen staff flew out to London early to make sure that the menu would be set by the time the players arrived on Tuesday morning.
To maintain consistency in their meals while overseas, Kosmider noted that the Broncos' nutrition staff has been working for several months to ensure that the team has every food and beverage they need in London.
"Meals can't maintain consistency without consistent ingredients," Kosmider wrote. "During training camp, [Director of Team Nutrition Brian] Snyder and his staff, including assistant Katie Brignoli, began the process of filling out the Carnets — international customs documents — that listed 32 condiments and seasonings, sunflower seeds, Gatorade, water, protein powder and even homemade granola from linebacker Josey Jewell's company, Root 43. Once those items were weighed and cataloged, with serial numbers applied to every item, they were loaded onto eight pallets that were sent by ship to London back in August. The Broncos sent 22 pallets in all, the others filled up with office supplies, video and practice equipment and IT infrastructure."
Snyder said the Broncos' leadership played a crucial role in making sure the team was equipped to proceed.
"I know other teams don't have the ability to do that kind of stuff," Snyder said. "For us, having the resources from the ownership, Mr. [Greg] Penner and George [Paton], too, just being able to have those resources where they say, 'Hey, whatever you need. Whatever you need to ship.' It's expensive to ship stuff like that overseas. It's good to have the support from everybody to say, 'Whatever you need to do, do it.'"
With meticulous planning from every department in the organization, Kosmider noted that the trip was able to successfully come together.
"All of our staff has been busting their [butt] to get this done," Conway told Kosmider. "If we walk away from this and say, 'We didn't have anything that really went south on us or didn't expect or didn't react to,' then I think we'll step away from it and say, 'That was a successful trip.' But mostly, it'd be great to get a win. That would be the icing on the cake for it."
Below the Fold
Heading into Week 8, the Broncos are looking to turn things around after a four-game losing skid. On Monday, Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett noted that the trip to London could provide an opportunity for the team to reset and refocus.
"I think it's great to be able to get away for a little bit," Hackett said. "We have a bye [week] afterwards also, but we're going there to win a football game first and foremost. I think it's so important to let the guys get out there, be together and work through it. Everybody needs to look from within because we put ourselves in this position and we have to get ourselves out of this position, it's that simple. I think it's always good to get away a little bit. London is a little far away to get away, but it will be a good thing for us, I believe."