The Denver Broncos showed how large a gap there is between the conferences in the NFL when they were unable to compete with the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl back in February. I know mentioning the Seahawks in any sort of a positive way is usually cause for uproar amongst San Francisco 49ers fans, but we have a more pressing matter. The folks over at Milehighreport.com, and more specifically @Bronco_Mike251, seem to think that the Broncos would have won the Super Bowl had they played the 49ers instead of the Seahawks. Don't worry, I'll wait while you finish chuckling, scratching your head, and wondering if they are delusional, partaking in the newly legalized party favors in Denver, or some odd combination of the two.
Now, the Broncos had a great regular season and Peyton Manning had one of the best seasons as a quarterback in the history of the NFL. The Broncos were the number one seed in the AFC and held their own until that fateful Sunday evening at The Meadowlands. But to say the 49ers would have lost to the Broncos...let's be realistic.
Mile High Report asks some very good questions, I will give my answers in a Maxim type interview response:
TJN (TheJasonNeal): Well, first of all, it's NaVorro Bowman...second of all, this sentence is all sorts of wrong: wrong tense, wrong verbiage...ugh. That being said, the Bowman loss would have absolutely hurt the 49ers defense, but if there is one position the 49ers are deep enough to cover the loss of a player, it is linebacker. That is not to say there wouldn't be a drop in productivity, but stopping Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball, I mean, seriously!? Covering Welker and Thomas would have been a challenge, especially watching good tight ends beat Patrick Willis a few times, but I have all the faith in the world that Vic Fangio would have been able to design coverages to make this work in the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl.
MHR: How would an inferior pass rush (in comparison to Seattle) fare against our OL?
TJN: Well, being that the 49ers arguably have a better pass rush than Seattle, they would fare just fine. With Justin and Aldon Smith being as healthy as they could be and the 49ers defense being incredibly productive as a whole, the front seven of the 49ers would have had a field day in New York.
MHR: How would rookie FS Eric Reid be manipulated by Peyton Manning?
TJN: Probably the same way that he was manipulated by Russell Wilson, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers (twice), and so on. In other words, not very well. The 49ers secondary took a big step forward from their poor showing in 2012 and Reid was a big part of that. The safety duo of Reid and SS Donte Whitner was incredibly productive and Reid played well beyond his years. He never truly looked like a rookie safety, wasn't caught making a lot of mistakes, and played against some quality quarterbacks in his first season as a pro.
MHR: How does it feel to be the only Harbaugh brother in the family without a Super Bowl ring?
MHR: Do you have to take out the trash at family gatherings throughout the year having lost the Super Bowl to your brother?
TJN: Clearly Bronco Mike is trying to make himself feel better by deflecting the angst and despair he feels since the Broncos could not take care of business. I mean, why else write an article that basically says, "Well, we may not have beaten the champs, but we could have beaten the other team that had a chance at playing us!!!!" Does that make you feel better, Mike? Did it feel good to get that off your chest?
Let me leave you with these final thoughts, Niners fans. The 49ers had a 10 point lead (that is two more points than the Broncos scored in the entire Super Bowl) on Seattle...in Seattle. They made the entire football watching world forget that the game was being played in Seattle. Colin Kaepernick played arguably the worst quarter of football in his NFL career during the fourth quarter of that game, and yet was still able to move the ball down field against the vaunted Seahawks defense and came within six inches of completing a game-winning touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree. The 49ers also beat Seattle in San Francisco earlier in the year with Frank Gore (click this link for the video!) rumbling, stumbling, and bumbling for a 51-yard gain before collapsing in bounds to keep the clock running and setting Phil Dawson up to kick the game winning field goal.
So, would the Broncos have gotten the best of the 49ers and hoisted their third Lombardi Trophy? It's doubtful. The 49ers would have reminded the people over at Mile High Report that the Broncos had lost five defensive starters on the season, used signal calls that were easy to figure out, and would not have had an answer for a game-changing quarterback like Kaepernick with all of his weapons healthy. Don't worry, Broncos fans, at least your team president has a couple of rings for you to admire.