JERSEY CITY --As the Broncos arrived in New Jersey for Super Bowl week on Sunday afternoon, they were greeted by hundreds of spirited fans lining the streets.
They were also greeted by the presence of another entity – Mother Nature.
Leaving behind the sunny and warm skies of Denver, the Broncos arrived on the East Coast to much frostier temperatures that are expected to persist throughout the week.
And while the latest extended forecasts call for high temperatures in the upper-30s for next Sunday's Super Bowl showdown at MetLife Stadium, don't expect the weather to faze cornerback Champ Bailey – no matter what the conditions may be.
"I think once you're out there, you just deal with it," Bailey said. "It is what it is, and everybody has to deal with it. Suck it up for three hours and make it happen."
No stranger to playing in cold conditions during the regular season, quarterback Peyton Manning also acknowledged that he feels comfortable with playing in cold weather should that be the case in the big game.
"I do," Manning said. "I think any time coming off an injury like I had, the more situations you can face, whether two-minute drills, third-and-1s, fourth-and-1s, I needed to face different circumstances with my new surroundings, with my new physical state. In two years, I feel like we've seen a lot as far as on-the-field situations -- weather, crowd noise, you name it with this team. So I do feel comfortable."
Taking the cold weather into consideration, Head Coach John Fox noted, is an inherent part of preparation. Ultimately, however, the capacity to endure and play through any conditions is one of the true hallmarks of a championship team.
"Obviously the elements are something that's part of strategy," Fox said. "First of all, I spent five years with the Giants. So I understand the weather, even though the stadium's changed a little bit. I think to be a championship football team, you've got to be weather-proof."
Safety David Bruton also pointed out that the Broncos' considerable experience with playing in the cold weather – whether during practice or in game situations – should also help the team mitigate the elements.
"No, not really concerned," Bruton said. "We played numerous cold games. We played New England this year, Kansas City at our place was cold. Baltimore Divisional (Round playoff) game last year was cold."
In another one of those cold-weather contests – a Week 14 matchup in Denver against Tennessee that was played in a wind chill of 11 degrees – the Broncos scored 51 points en route to a victory over the Titans. For wide receiver Wes Welker, who noted he has experienced a handful of bad-weather games that resulted in offensive outpourings, such contests demonstrate the importance of execution rather than the impact of the weather.
"I've seen a lot of games where they've been able to throw for a lot of yards in bad weather," Welker said. "I don't see that being a problem for us. I see it's just going out there, executing our plays and not worrying about the weather or anything else. And just have the mindset that we're going to move the ball and score touchdowns."
No matter the weather, when the game finally kicks off, all focus will shift to one very critical objective – executing on the field with a World Championship on the line.
"Our football team played in all different elements this year," Fox said. "I feel comfortable where we're at as far as it goes with elements. It's part of the game, has been tradition-wise, I think it's been a part of the league and a part of a lot of championships."
"I don't mind. I'm used to Super Bowls being in better-weather cities, but I don't really care," Bailey added. "When it's time to play, it's time to play."