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Sacco Sez: The Broncos' best Miami moment

Check out pictures from the Broncos' unforgettable 34-19 win over the Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII on Jan. 31, 1999.

This week, the Broncos play the Dolphins for the 18th time in regular-season play, and this will be the Broncos' ninth game in Miami.

The Broncos do not have a very good regular-season record at Miami, as they are just 1-7 there, but that does not prevent me or anyone in Broncos Country from remembering one of the greatest moments in franchise history that took place there.


That would be our 34-19 Super Bowl XXXIII victory over the Atlanta Falcons, a game that was not as close as the score indicated.

The game was played in Miami at Pro Player Stadium, and the official game report listed the weather as "mostly cloudy, 73 degrees, wind from the east at 10 mph."

It was a perfect night, and I especially remember the moon. It was great.

I have so many great memories of that week and that game, and they just come flooding out of my memory bank whenever we play in Miami.

It was a time before social media, but I remember future Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe announcing after we defeated the New York Jets in the AFC Championship Game, "Hey, Dolphins, we need your facilities for about a week, so we can get ready to win the Super Bowl."

Later, when the game was over and the players were getting dressed after their showers, I watched as Shannon reached into a spare duffel bag he had brought to the stadium. He pulled out a custom-made varsity jacket that already had the back-to-back Super Bowl wins and logos embroidered onto the back.


It turned out that the Falcons wanted to make sure they shut down Hall of Famer Terrell Davis and our running game, to force Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway to beat them.

That worked out about as well as throwing a cow to hungry sharks and wondering if the cow will be eaten.

Elway passed for 336 yards and one touchdown, a game-breaking 80-yard pass to Rod Smith just before halftime, and John also scored a touchdown on the ground to cement Most Valuable Player honors.

After the game, as he came down from the MVP podium after addressing the press, I got in front of him and said, "John, I've been waiting 16 years to tell you this, but you have an MVP press conference tomorrow morning at 8:30 at the NFL media center. And you have to decide which car you want."

John laughed and said, "I get a car?" no doubt thinking of the irony in the fact that at that time he was the owner of 18 auto dealerships.

He, Mike Shanahan and I had to take a helicopter to the press conference, as it was the best way to negotiate the rush-hour traffic between our Fort Lauderdale hotel and the media center in downtown Miami.

I remember NFL Director of Media Relations Greg Aiello introducing Elway, saying, "We've been trying to think of what to say to get you to perhaps play another year, and all we can come up with is you would have the chance to be the first player to be Super Bowl MVP in two different centuries!"

Everybody laughed, and of course John retired, going out like no other NFL player in history to that point, with consecutive world championships under his belt, as well as being MVP in his last playoff game.

That 1998 Broncos team was a great one, confident and supremely talented.


The game did not have the raw euphoria at the end that the previous year's title game did, as we had great confidence that we would come out on top.

At the end, I was walking off the field with reserve wide receiver Willie Green, a fine player who contributed as much in leadership and locker-room presence as he did on the field, and he casually said, again with no arrogance, "Jim, I'm not going back to Denver for the parade. Would you just have my ring sent to me at my offseason address?"

Sure, Willie, glad to do it. He had made the statement as he peeled off his gloves, as casually as if it had been any other game.

Again, there was no arrogance to the exchange at all. Willie Green does not have a touch of arrogance in his makeup; it was just one more indication of how great that team was, and that we all knew it.

I will never forget a special moment with Head Coach Mike Shanahan when it was all over, the press obligations finished and the showers taken and buses full.


Mike was still sitting at his locker, taking a moment to go over the final stats and taking the time to ask me how it looked from upstairs.

"It looked great," I told him, "just like we had won back-to-back Super Bowls!"

The moon over Miami was a special one that night, and it created a glimmer I will never forget.

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