I'm almost done writing about this season. Almost. But there are several thank you's to this team that are in order first.
Thank you, Denver Broncos.
Thank you for one of the greatest Super Bowl winning seasons ever.
During Gary Kubiak's post-game news conference, the coach was asked if he could have foreseen winning the Super Bowl in his wildest imagination.
"In my wildest imagination, yes."
In our wildest imaginations, we all could have dreamed of a trip to the Super Bowl, maybe a win, but I doubt anyone would have foreseen it this way, after this season.
It was such a dominating performance from the defense that combined with an effective-enough offense, the game really was never in doubt even if it weren't yet sealed.
#Vonster. "Super Freak." "Miller Time."— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) February 11, 2016
But now, he's "MVP" and "Champion."
Thank you Von Miller - first, for playing out of your head in the Super Bowl and second for getting your life on track two years ago. It's almost impossible to even describe in words how fantastic you were on Sunday, but we know it's been building all season. I had a good feeling all week about the outcome of this game, and I knew the second you knocked the ball out of Cam Newton's hands the first time that we were definitely winning that game. Thank you for providing that confidence.
Thank you DeMarcus Ware for being the man you are to help shape Von into the player he is. And for just terrorizing quarterbacks. I love to watch that. Over and over and over.
Thank you T.J. Ward and Darian Stewart for elevating the safety play this entire season but especially on Super Bowl Sunday - with two interceptions, a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery between the two of you. Even with lingering injuries, you "bossed up."
Thank you Derek Wolfe for playing your heart out - and keeping it here in Denver. Your toughness anchors that defensive line, and that howl is intoxicating. So glad you're going to be a Bronco for years to come.
Thank you Malik Jackson for being a beast on Sunday and all season. Your fumble recover/touchdown in the Super Bowl was a thing of beauty.
Thank you Brandon Marshall and Danny Trevathan for not being afraid of wrapping up and tackling anyone, ever.
Thank you Brandon McManus for being courageous enough to remove your "jab step" and confident enough to kick game-winners time and again in the most pressure-filled situations.
Thank you special teams for not only not being a liability this year but for being responsible for creating opportunities to win.
Thank you Emmanuel Sanders for being our biggest gamer all season. Even in the Super Bowl when passes were few and the Panthers defense was strong, you found a way. Manning mentioned during Super Bowl Week that he can always tell immediately when he has a connection with receivers and you were one of them back at your first Duke camp with PFM. That connection clearly shows - especially on third-and-long.
and pic.twitter.com/Hnpf1tePNi— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) February 8, 2016
Thank you C.J. Anderson for grinding for every single inch all game long. Yards were hard to come by, impossible at times. But you didn't stop. You pushed, you gave a second effort, often a third because that's what was needed for just a yard or two. You carried four Panthers into the end zone with you to get that well-earned touchdown that helped put the game out of reach.
Thank you Evan Mathis and Matt Paradis for being solid on a very inexperienced work-in-progress (aka, our offensive line). O-linemen get very little credit - and sometimes it isn't earned - but you kept fighting and blocking and doing enough for the offense to survive in this game and all season.
Thank you Owen Daniels for figuring out how to get separation and have "money hands" the second half of the season. There were many games won thanks to just enough completions between you and 18.
Thank you Brock Osweiler for lifting this team at a crucial time in the season with your gutsy play and huge wins. No doubt we wouldn't be Super Bowl 50 champions without you.
Thank you Peyton Manning for being the leader the team needed and the team player the defense deserved. You showed more selflessness this season, and it paid off. While we're at it, thank you for 18 outstanding years in the NFL, four of them with us. We've been spoiled with more than one GOAT at the quarterback position. Now, please enjoy the ride into the sunset. It won't get any better than this.
Thank you Wade Phillips for being the coolest cat in the NFL and the one to finally figure out how to mold these talented, aggressive athletes into the NFL's No. 1 defense. You and the bear wrestler deserve a well-earned vacation this offseason.
Perfect. #Broncos #SuperBowlChamps pic.twitter.com/TQJ4ZwyuhI— L.Lattimore-Volkmann (@docllv) February 12, 2016
Thank you Kubiak for handling an "interesting year" with a lot of coaching maturity. The way you diffused potential controversies, dealt with the losses and prepared the team each week is a huge testament to where the team is right now - champions.
Thank you John Elway for you know, being awesome. But mostly for recognizing the kind of change needed four years ago to start rebuilding, two years ago to shift to a defensive powerhouse, and last year to find a coaching staff that could go all the way. It worked.
Thank you Pat Bowlen for being responsible for all of the above.
Thank you Broncos.
Thank you for the best season I could have imagined. And I say that as someone who shed a tear after Elway's victory in Super Bowl XXXII - a game I have heretofore considered the greatest Broncos win in the history of the franchise.
Until this one.
It was pure gold.