As hard as it is to admit shortcomings in life, it is even harder to emulate a foe in order to rectify those failures. The Denver Broncos must do just that in 2015.

Sunday, The New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks, possibly the two most hated teams in Denver, will play for a Championship and eternal glory. They both have used a multitude of tactics and habits in order to reach the Super Bowl, but there are a few areas that the equally talented Broncos should copy to have the same success next season.

For starters, the Broncos often have been accused of being flat or uninspired in big moments. A more compelling example of this could not be found then their last game of the season. In the divisional round, after taking a week off the Broncos came out and got pushed around by a far inferior-talented team and as a result, they watched Andrew Luck and the Colts trot out of Mile High with a 24-13 win.

The Seahawks would have never laid down so easily and the key to their fire seems to be competition among teammates far before the ball is kicked off on Sundays. Head coach, Pete Carroll is the real-life energizer bunny on steroids. He has his team constantly moving and competing in everything from tackling drills to ping-pong games during “down time”.

This attitude is most visible on what the team calls, “competition Wednesdays”. During their mid-week practice they work at a high rate of speed in all drills and have the No. 1 offense face their No. 1 defense in a passionate atmosphere. The results of such high intensity are seen almost every Sunday since Carroll’s arrival in 2010. No other team plays more physical and with more emotion than the Seahawks. When is the last time the Broncos were accused of such an attitude?

Matched with a ferocious energy and attitude must be a no nonsense approach to practice and preparation. No one does that better than the Patriots. Conversely, despite Peyton Manning’s strict preparation, his coaches bred a atmosphere of laid-back, uninspired confidence that didn’t result in big wins. John Fox especially, led a team that always seemed loose and at ease throughout the week and in the locker room. Football is a game and should be fun but the road to Championships is a serious one. In the past three seasons the list of games in which the Broncos seemed unprepared and under-coached is too agonizing to mention.

It is clear that Belichick is a strict and disciplined task master and as he approaches his sixth trip to the big game as a Patriot, it his clear his preparation and focus trickles down to his players. And subsequently if a player does not fall in line or fit the mold, Ol’ Bill is quick to make the personnel change necessary regardless of the player’s status amongst his peers. For example in week 12, just a week after Jonas Gray rushed for four touchdowns in a victory he was sent home after being a few minutes late for a meeting.

Gary Kubiak has a reputation for a similar attitude and John Elway seemed to despise the lack of discipline long before his and Fox’s “mutual parting of ways”. Whether it is pre-season partying in Dallas that reportedly led to the hospitalization of a two Broncos players or simply a late arrival for a film study meeting, Kubiak needs to change the culture immediately.

Lastly, after several seasons of explosive offensive displays, the Broncos floundered in the second half of the 2014-15 season. Whether it was Manning’s health or a desire to become balanced, the team became boring, predictable and stoppable. It seemed that both fans and opponents could consistently expect a screen-bubble pass to Demaryius Thomas or a crossing route by Wes Welker when the yardage and down suggested it. Adaptation plays a vital role once the game begins and the Broncos failed to do so far too often.

New England has shown year-after-year that they can successfully adjust to different in-game scenarios and surprise any opponent. This year has been no different. On their way to the Super Bowl they have been heavy rush, heavy pass and balanced but through it all, in almost every game, Belichick and former Broncos head coach and prodigal son, Josh McDaniels have thrown in precise and calculated trick plays.

Look no further than their divisional-round matchup with the Baltimore Ravens and the stunning 35-31 victory. In a game that saw several lead changes and the Patriots climb back from two 14-point deficits, it was the lateral pass to Julian Edelman, who then threw it to Danny Amendola for a 51-yard touchdown that changed the game. The Patriot’s have also used disguised substitutions and eligible receivers to baffle both the Ravens and Colts on their way to the Super Bowl.

Kubiak will undoubtedly bring his zone-blocking, balanced attack to Denver but it will be his willingness to emulate the trickery and courage of the Patriots in big games that will wake the Broncos offense up.

As harsh and difficult as Sunday may be for some fans and several Broncos players to watch, they need to take notice. The two teams on the field are unconventional at times and even down right reckless but that is what has created their success. A competitive fire, endless, focused preparation and a fearless attitude on Sundays is what got the Seahawks and Patriots to the big dance. The Broncos should take notes and start their overhaul immediately after one of their rivals is again crowned Champion.

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