Since quarterback Peyton Manning signed with Denver in the spring of 2012, it has been Super Bowl or bust for our beloved Broncos. As soon as that ink dried, the goal of the organization changed. While it might have required a miracle for a Tim Tebow-led team to win the Super Bowl, the ultimate prize is just a few playoff wins away with Manning at the helm.

This may very well be Manning’s last dance, so you can bet he’ll have one goal and one goal only in mind this year: Returning to, and winning, the Super Bowl.

If (and it’s a mighty big if) the Broncos get back to the big game, who would you most like to see them face?

John Fox spent four seasons in Denver as the Broncos’ head coach, winning four straight division titles and guiding the team to Super Bowl XLVIII, where they were dismantled by the Seattle Seahawks. Fox and the Broncos mutually agreed to part ways following last year’s divisional round loss to the Colts. Fox signed a four-year contract to be head coach of the Chicago Bears shortly thereafter.

Fox, who had the head gig in Carolina before coming to Denver, is one of only six coaches in NFL history to take two different organizations to the Super Bowl. While Fox has never won the big game, he has proven his ability to lead a team there. He is noted for the work he did in Carolina, where he took over a 1-15 team and brought them to the Super Bowl just two seasons later.

In Denver, Fox often seemed listless and uninvolved. He has a propensity to play it way too safe, which cost the Broncos at least one playoff victory (Baltimore, 2012), and most likely more (Super Bowl XLVIII and Indianapolis, 2014).

In Chicago, Fox will have his work cut out for him. Last season, the Bears went 5-11, good for last place in the NFC North. Historically known for their defense, the Bears allowed the second most points in the NFL in 2014. If the defensive-minded Fox can whip his boys into shape, they’d be a hell of a matchup for the Broncos in the Super Bowl. It may be a long shot, but the idea is certainly enticing.

To play against a team as unprepared and under-coached in the playoffs as the Broncos were under Fox, would be a blessing. How many interceptions would Jay Cutler throw in the Super Bowl? How nonchalant would ol’ Foxy look at he strolled the sideline of yet another Super Bowl loss?

Speaking of enticing… Except for parents Archie and Olivia Manning, how much fun would the Manning Bowl be? Eli Manning and the Giants have won two Super Bowls in the past decade, beating the New England Patriots in 2007 and again in 2011. It seems there is a pattern here. Every four years, the Giants beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl. 2015 will be the fourth season since the Giants won Super Bowl XLVI. This season, let’s replace the Pats with the Broncos. Everyone is sick of the Patriots, and there’s no better rivalry than a sibling rivalry.

Manning vs. Manning, now that’d be a showdown. Could Peyton match his brother with ring number two, or would Eli prove that stats don’t matter if you know how to win?

The ultimate revenge for the Broncos would be to get another shot at the Seattle Seahawks. As Broncos’ fans sadly know, Seattle decimated the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII, 43-8, in front of the entire nation. Fumbling the first snap into the end zone, Denver never had a chance to get settled in against the League’s number one defense.

Last season, the Broncos traveled to Seattle in Week 3 and proved they can hang with the Seahawks. The Broncos lost in overtime, 26-20, following a clutch Manning drive that tied the game at the buzzer, showing they have the talent to beat Seattle in the right circumstances.

If Denver could secure the opening snap this time, and avoid taking a safety, this matchup would be much more competitive.

Can Seattle reach a third straight Super Bowl? And if they do, can the Broncos handle them?

Who would you like to see the Broncos play in the Super Bowl?


Bryce Rudnick, a Mile High Sports intern and CU-Boulder student, contributed to this report