In many ways, Manning's past three NFL seasons fit perfectly with what the Broncos have become as a team this year. They've had to learn new things about themselves, adjust on the fly and face the doubts that lingered in the wake of last year's crushing playoff loss to Baltimore. The lone upside of that defeat is that it created a hunger in Denver that has driven the Broncos to this point. While Seattle is just blossoming into a perennial championship contender, the Broncos understand they have only so much time left to win a title with Manning under center.
So while this year's Super Bowl is a clash of the two best teams in football -- the top scoring offense versus the top scoring defense -- it also will be a reminder of how championships are now won in this league. There's no doubting that Seattle has the advantage in depth and health at the moment. On the other hand, Denver has shown more resolve and toughness in a season that offered setback after setback. Given what we've seen from recent champions, those are simply difficult traits to bet against.