DENVER

OpenCalais Metadata: Latitude: 
39.7392
OpenCalais Metadata: Longitude: 
-104.9842

Next season the Dallas Cowboys all-time sack leader DeMarcus Ware will no longer have a star on the side of his helmet. Instead, Ware will wear a Bronco logo as the outside linebacker - defensive end hybrid will join Denver after Dallas failed to restructure his contract.

During his nine year tenure with the Cowboys Ware played in 141 games. In those 141 games, he recorded 444 tackles, 117 sacks and 32 forced fumbles.

While Ware’s presence will be missed, it was time for both parties to split.

Although owner Jerry Jones placed the Cowboys in a salary cap nightmare, Ware could have remained on the team if he was willing to take a pay cut. But that simply wasn’t the case.

But who can blame Ware- the Cowboys organization has finished the last three seasons at 8-8 and Jerry Jones hasn’t made the best moves to help his team. Leaving for Denver gives Ware the best opportunity to win a super bowl.

Even though Ware decided to leave, he said that it was an honor to play for the Cowboys

"I was honored to wear the Star alongside my former teammates and will always hold a special place in my heart for the Cowboys Nation and the Dallas community,” Ware tweeted.

As for Dallas, giving into Ware’s demand was risky- restructuring Ware’s contract could have run the Cowboys over the salary cap and Ware is coming off multiple surgeries.

During the 2013 offseason, Ware had surgeries on his shoulder and right elbow. In 2014, Ware once again had surgery on his right elbow.

Due to his multiple injuries, Ware has seen his production dwindle. Ware’s sack total dropped from 19.5 sacks in 2011 to 11.5 in 2012.

In 2013, Dallas’ new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin changed from a 3-4 scheme to the 4-3, moving Ware to defensive end. This move combined with injuries to his back and elbow resulted in 2013 being one of Ware’s worst seasons, with only six sacks and 28 total tackles.

After Ware’s rough 2013 campaign, the Cowboys had every right to let go of him. Ware isn’t the same player he was in his prime.

Ware might make a comeback with the Broncos but it doesn't seem likely. He is in the twilight of his career and even if he doesn't want to admit it, joining the Broncos is his best opportunity to go out on top.

One day Ware will see his name in the Cowboys’ ring of honor, but for now he’ll chase a championship with the Denver Broncos.  

The Seattle Seahawks are Super Bowl Champions for the first time in their 38 years of existence.

The Seahawks defense suffocated the Denver Broncos number one scoring offense from the very start of the game leading to a 43-8 blowout.

“This is an amazing team,” Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said. “Took us four years to get to this point but they never have taken a step sideways. These guys would not take anything but winning this ballgame."

The Broncos played a horrendous game which started with a safety on the first offensive play of the game. The Broncos offense wasn’t able to recover. Broncos’ quarterback Peyton Manning threw two interceptions and fumbled once. Wide Receiver Demaryius Thomas also had a fumble.

Seattle took advantage of those four Denver turnovers. The Seahawks scored 21 points off turnovers. Seven of those 21 points were off of a Michael Smith interception return which helped Smith win Super Bowl MVP honors.

After a disastrous first half, down 22-0, the Broncos had an opportunity to stage a comeback but Seattle’s Percy Harvin returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown to extend the Seahawks lead to 29-0.

The Broncos’ offense finally scored at the end of the third quarter to close the gap to 36-8 but that would be the last time Denver would find the endzone.  

When the game ended, Carroll was showered with Gatorade, blue and green confetti streamed down and the Seahawks hoisted the Lombardi trophy as NFL Champions for the first time ever.

“We’ve been relentless all season. Having that mentality of having a championship day every day,” Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson said. “At the end of the day, you want to play your best football and that is what we did today.”

Super Bowl XLVIII: Denver Broncos vs. Seattle Seahawks

Metlife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.

TV: FOX

Time: 5:25 p.m. CST

Spread: Denver (-3)


This year’s Super Bowl features the number one scoring and yards defense as well as the top-ranked offense in scoring and yards.

This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object; the offensive juggernaut Denver Broncos meet the stingy Seattle Seahawks defense in a Super Bowl matchup for the ages.

The Broncos make their first appearance in the Super Bowl since 1998 while the Seahawks make their second appearance, first since 2006.

This is only the second time in the past two decades that the top seeded teams in the AFC and NFC will meet in the super bowl.

The Seahawks will rely on their star-studded secondary to keep Peyton Manning in check. While Manning and the Broncos will try to exploit any possible mistakes made by the Seattle defense.

This game will be won by the team that can use their style to their advantage. Will the Seattle defense contain the Broncos high-scoring offense or will the Broncos offense be too much for the Seattle to handle?

 

Matchups


Quarterback

Advantage: Denver

Peyton Manning has had one of the best seasons any NFL quarterback in the history of the game. During the regular season, Manning threw for 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns, both NFL single-season records. Manning is a four-time MVP, a Super Bowl MVP and two super bowl appearances. While Seattle’s Russell Wilson has had success during his two years in the NFL, Manning’s experience gives the Broncos the advantage.


Running Backs
Advantage: Seattle
Known for his “Beast Mode” nickname, Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch rushed for over 1,200 yards and scored 12 touchdowns this year. Complimented by Robert Turbine, Lynch and the Seahawks have an advantage over Denver’s Knowshon Moreno, Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman.


Wide Receivers
Advantage: Denver
Denver has a trio of receivers - Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, and Wes Welker that have scored 35 touchdowns and have accumulated over 3,400 receiving yards. Throw in tight end Julius Thomas, who had 12 touchdowns during the season, and the Broncos’ receivers clearly outshine Seattle.


Defensive Line
Advantage: Seattle
Seattle’s line has a slight advantage over Denver. Seattle has not lost any defensive lineman while Denver lost defensive end Derek Wolfe and defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson.


Linebackers
Advantage: Denver
Denver lost Von Miller for the season in December; Miller was one of the Broncos’ best linebackers. The Broncos still have linebackers Danny Trevathan and Wesley Woodyard. While Seattle has three solid linebackers - Bruce Irvin, Malcolm Smith and Bobby Wagner - Denver has a slightly better linebacker corps.


Secondary
Advantage: Seattle
Known as the Legion of Boom, Seattle’s secondary is the best in the NFL. Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas anchor the secondary. Sherman and Thomas account for 13 of Seattle’s 28 interceptions. Kam Chancellor and Byron Maxwell are Seattle’s other secondary starters. Seattle’s starting secondary accounted for 204 tackles and four forced fumbles.


Prediction
Seattle 26
 Denver 24

Denver defeats Patriots 26-16; Advance to Super Bowl XLVIII

Late in the third quarter, down 20-3 to the Denver Broncos, the New England Patriots had a decision to make-- go for it on a fourth and two at the Denver 30 or kick a 47-yard field goal down.

The Patriots rolled the dice and came up empty as Denver sent a well-timed blitz and sacked Tom Brady.

Whether New England wants to admit it or not, the game had been long decided before that moment. Peyton Manning and the Denver offense carved through the Patriots defense which lead to a 26-16 Broncos victory.

Manning outshined rival quarterback Tom Brady throwing for 400 yards and two touchdowns. Manning played a well-crafted game, completing an AFC championship game record tying 32 passes.

“It's very rewarding when you put a lot of hard work into the offseason and the regular season,” Manning said. “It pays dividends with a huge win.”

Meanwhile, New England was held in check for most of the game. It took the Patriots over 50 minutes to find the end zone by the time they scored it was already too late.

New England was able to score 13 points in the final ten minutes but fell short when they were unable to punch in a two-point conversion to make it a one possession game.

With the win, Denver will make their first super bowl appearance since 1998. For Manning, it will be his third appearance in the super bowl, his first with the Broncos.

“We kept our nose to the grindstone, kept persevering,” Manning said. “It’s gratifying to get this win today.”

Denver will matchup against the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII at Metlife Stadium on February 2, 2014.

 

Late turnovers sink 49ers; Seahawks advance to Super Bowl XLVII with 23-17 win

49ers quarterback Collin Kaepernick launched a pass in to the end zone intended for Michael Crabtree, Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman tipped the pass and it landed in the hands of linebacker Malcolm Smith.

The interception sealed a 23-17 victory for Seattle and a trip to the super bowl.

“I’m the best corner in the game,” exclaimed Sherman in a post-game interview with FOX’s Erin Andrews. In another interview, Sherman said that he “knew it would come down to (the defense) in the back end to win this thing.”

The game was a classic heavyweight fight, each team delivering and taking shots. The 49ers were first to strike with a strip-fumble on the first play of the game.

Kaepernick was key to the 49ers offense, he lead the 49ers with 130 rushing yards. But the Seahawks were able to take advantage of Kaepernick’s mistakes, he turned the ball over three times in the second half.

For the Seattle offense, momentum swung their way when Marshawn Lynch scored on a 40 yard run. Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson managed the game with 215 yards passing and one touchdown.

The NFC championship game was defined by the defensive play by both teams. The 49ers made two fourth down stops and forced a turnover. But it was the Seattle that landed the last punch with three forced turnovers in the second half.

“This is as sweet as it gets,” Sherman said.

“This is really special,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll added, “It would really be a mistake to not remember the connection and the relationship between this football team and the 12th Man and these fans. It's unbelievable."

Seattle will meet the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII at Metlife Stadium on February 2, 2014.

Denver, Colo.

January 19, 2014 2 p.m.CST

TV: CBS

Spread: Denver -5 ½

When I originally started to write this, I tried hard to avoid the Brady vs. Manning narrative. However, the more research that was done, the more I realized that the Brady-Manning narrative defines this game.

Peyton Manning and Tom Brady meet again for their fifteenth match-up against each other. Brady has dominated the head-to head series, leading with a 10-4 record. More importantly Brady is 2-1 against Manning in the playoffs.

However, this game will be much different than the previous fourteen. This is the chance for Manning to overcome his doubters. Although Manning has statistically had one of the best careers of all-time, Manning has been defined by his struggles in the playoffs.  Over the years, Manning has faltered in the postseason—only posting a 10-11 record.

Manning’s career has been defined by his head-to-head matchup against Brady. Brady has stood in Manning’s way throughout his career. The first, and only, time Manning beat Brady in the playoffs led to his only Super Bowl victory.

As Manning’s career comes to a close, this could be the final Brady vs. Manning playoff matchup. It is a chance for Manning to beat Brady one more time and lead his Broncos to a Super Bowl.

The narrative for Brady isn’t much different. Brady has made five super bowl appearances and won three.

But Brady hasn’t been able to hoist the Lombardi trophy since 2005. An AFC Championship win over Manning and a Super Bowl win will add to his legacy as one of the best quarterbacks of all-time.

As for the team matchups, the Broncos and Patriots represent two opposite offenses. 

The Broncos are a pass happy team. Manning threw for a NFL record 55 touchdowns and 5,477 yards. Manning and the Broncos throw the ball because they have great receivers—Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Julius Thomas.

The Patriots are a team dedicated to running the ball. With a stable of solid running backs—Legarrette Blount, Steven Ridley, Shane Vereen and Brandon Bolden—the Patriots have had success pounding the rock. Blount showed the Patriots dedication to the run with a four touchdown performance against the Colts in the AFC Divisional round.

Both defenses are average but the Broncos have been ravaged with injuries. Denver will be without outside linebacker Von Miller, cornerback Chris Harris and defensive end Derek Wolfe.

With the narrative set, the winner of the AFC Championship game will be determined by which quarterback plays the best. Will Manning prevail over Brady or will it be Brady once again walking off a winner against Peyton Manning?

NFC Championship Game: San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks

Seattle, Was.

January 19, 2014 5:30 p.m. CST

TV: FOX

Spread: Seattle -3 ½

The San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks will play their third game this season when the 49ers travel to Seattle to play in the NFC Championship game.

The 49ers will be playing in their third consecutive NFC Championship game and will look to advance their second Super Bowl in-a-row.

The Seahawks return for to the NFC Championship game for the first time since 2006.

The two teams split their regular season matchup. The Seahawks defeated the 49ers in Seattle 29-3 and the 49ers won in San Francisco 19-17.

The Seahawks and 49ers have equally great offensive and defensive units.

The Seahawks and 49ers possess top ten defenses. The 49ers rank fourth in total defense and the Seahawks in ninth.

The Seahawks arguably have the best secondary in the NFL led by Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman.

The 49ers boast one of the best linebacking corps in the NFL, Patrick Willis, Navarro Bowmen, Aldon Smith and Carlos Rogers lead the defense.

The Seahawks and 49ers offenses are led by two of the NFL’s rising stars—Russell Wilson and Collin Kaepernick, respectively.

The 49ers have a reliable running back in Frank Gore and Seahawks have a dominant back in Marshawn Lynch.

Although both teams mirror each other, the Seahawks have a clear home field advantage. Known for their rambunctious crowd, CenturyLink Field is one of the loudest stadiums in all of sports.

The key to the game will be the 49ers overcoming the Seahawks home-field advantage. The 49ers have lost their last two game in Seattle by a combined 71-16.

Will the Seahawks continue their home domination over the 49ers or will the 49ers defeat the Seahawks in Seattle and advance to their second consecutive super bowl?

Tennis is a husband-and-wife indie pop band from Denver. In a phone interview, Patrick Riley discusses how they've expanded their music taste in their latest EP "Small Sounds," the change in label, and a possible tour in Asia. Tennis plays at the Parish this Wednesday, January 15.

The Denver Nuggets and Toronto Raptors are also home to former Texas Longhorns: forward Jordan Hamilton and guard D.J. Augustin, respectively. Let’s take a look at their upcoming seasons.

Denver Nuggets

Last season: 57-25, third seed in Western Conference, lost in first round to Golden State Warriors 4-2

According to Zach Lowe’s season preview on Grantland, Denver is one of the western teams on the fringe of the playoffs.  

“The Nuggets are firmly in the mix for one of the last two playoff spots, but they’re in that mix — not above it,” Lowe said. “It’s going to be very tough again this season, though it’s unclear how many wins it will take to slide into the No. 7 or No. 8 spots.” 

The Nuggets are in flux heading into this season. The team lost versatile forward Andre Iguodala to the Warriors in the off-season. To help counter this loss, it signed journeymen guards Randy Foye and Nate Robinson, as well as interior scoring threat J.J. Hickson. These two guards contribute to an already strong backcourt featuring Ty Lawson and Andre Miller. Hickson will boost Denver’s offensive attack on the block.  

The Nuggets are dealing with the loss of longtime coach George Karl. Lowe said that new coach Brian Shaw, although quite an experienced NBA coach, is already beginning to tinker with long-entrenched philosophies on both sides of the ball. Denver’s defense ranked 23rd in the league last season, so maybe a base defensive change is a healthy option. Regardless, this team needs to improve its on-the-ball defense and rely less on forcing turnovers.  

The Nuggets’ second-best player, Danilo Gallinari, will also miss the first portion of the season as he works his way back from knee surgery. Former Longhorn Hamilton will be one of the players replacing Gallinari. He is slowly coming into his own in the league. Last season he averaged 5.2 points per game in just under 9.9 minutes. He provides an instant scoring punch off the bench from all areas of the court. He’ll get important minutes and has quite an opportunity to prove himself early this season.

Bottom line: There are a few moving parts here. The Nuggets added some nice pieces in the free agency, but still haven’t addressed their glaring defensive needs. They’ll score in bunches, but will also allow points in bunches.  Denver will win 45 games and miss the playoffs — getting edged out by the Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trailblazers.

Toronto Raptors

Last season: 34-48, missed playoffs

Toronto is an intriguing squad. The Raptors generally possess a nice stockpile of talent, yet have a reputation of underperforming. Things haven’t changed much this year. Offseason acquisitions Steve Novak, Austin Daye and Aaron Gray will provide some much-needed depth. Novak is always among the league’s leaders in three-point percentages. Add those pieces to the core of forwards Rudy Gay, DeMar DeRozan, Landry Fields and explosive guard Terrence Ross, and that’s a nice offensive group. The only offensive setback is the lack of three-point shooting outside of Novak and Gay.

The bench should be fantastic this season. Kyle Lowry, Novak, Tyler Hansbrough, Daye, Gray and former Longhorn D.J. Augustin will make up a complete and competitive second unit. Depth is no longer an issue with this club.

But rebounding and defense remain two glaring issues in Toronto. The Raptors ranked third to last in the league in rebounding last season. Defensively, they allowed 98.7 points per game, good for 17th in the NBA. Length and athleticism aren’t the problem — the problem is that those athletes aren’t particularly good defenders. The offense will hide these problems to an extent, but it has to rebound and defend better to climb back into the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

Bottom line: Toronto will miss the playoffs again — barely. It will win a few more games but its division is still difficult with the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets miles ahead of the team. I’ll give the Raptors 39 wins this season — a steady improvement, but they’ll miss the playoffs by a game or two.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

DENVER — Ratcheting up pressure for Congress to limit access to guns, President Barack Obama said Wednesday that steps taken recently by Colorado to tighten its gun laws show “there doesn’t have to be a conflict” between keeping citizens safe and protecting Second Amendment rights to gun ownership.

“I believe there’s no conflict between reconciling these realities,” Obama said in remarks prepared for delivery in Denver, where he planned to step up his call for background checks for all gun purchases and renew his demand that Congress at least vote on banning assault weapons and limiting access to large-capacity ammunition magazines.

“There doesn’t have to be a conflict between protecting our citizens and protecting our Second Amendment rights,” he said, noting that it’s been just over 100 days since the shooting rampage that killed 20 first-graders and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., and reignited the national debate over access to guns.

In danger of losing congressional momentum on the issue, Obama was appearing in Colorado — which has a deep-rooted hunting tradition and where gun ownership is a cherished right — to highlight state efforts to tighten gun laws. His intent is to use Colorado’s example and public pressure to prod reluctant members of Congress to act.

Colorado recently expanded background checks for gun purchases and placed restrictions on ammunition magazines. Prospects for passage of similar measures by Congress appear bleak, largely because of concerns by conservative Republicans and moderate Democrats who come down more on the side of gun rights.

Obama said there is a middle ground.

“I think that Colorado has shown that practical progress is possible by enacting tougher background checks that won’t infringe on the rights of responsible gun owners, but will help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people,” he said.

In Denver, Obama was meeting with law enforcement officials and community leaders at the Denver Police Academy, not far from the Aurora suburb where a gunman last summer killed 12 people in a movie theater. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for James
Holmes, accused of carrying out the Aurora rampage.

Among those participating in the Denver discussion with Obama was Sandy Phillips, the mother of Jessica Redfield Ghawi, 24, who died in the Aurora shooting. She conceded that gun control is a difficult issue, and said she has spoken to numerous lawmakers in Washington who “want to do the right thing without it costing their jobs.”

AFC Championship Features Rematch Between Hated Foes

In game that few people expected them to be a part of, the Baltimore Ravens enter Sunday as nine-point underdogs to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.  However, the Ravens and fifth-year Quarterback Joe Flacco weren’t phased by similar circumstance last week, when they went into Denver and pulled out a double overtime victory over the Broncos.  Can they do it again?  Here are a few storylines to follow heading into Sunday’s AFC showdown:

1) Oh, You Again

The Pats and Ravens are very familiar with each other, as Sunday’s game will make it their second straight meeting in the AFC Championship game and third playoff contest in the past four years.  Although New England is virtually unbeatable at home in the playoffs, Baltimore blew them out 33-14 in 2009 and narrowly lost 20-23 after Billy Cundiff shanked a 32-yard field goal in the closing seconds.  Clearly, the Ravens aren’t afraid of heading into Foxborough.

2) Matchup to Watch: Aqib Talib vs. Torrey Smith

Plenty will be made of the chess match between QB Tom Brady and LB Ray Lewis in this game, and rightfully so.  However, a matchup that may be more intriguing will be between Pats’ corner Aqib Talif and Ravens’ wide receiver Torrey Smith.  Smith burnt New England for 126 yards and two touchdowns when the two teams met earlier this season, and hauled in another two last week with veteran corner Champ Bailey covering him.  However, Talib, who New England acquired from Tampa Bay midseason, has brought some swagger to the Patriot defense with his fiery attitude and physical style of play.  Can he contain Smith?  The answer to that may determine this game’s outcome.

3) Can Joe Flacco Win the Big One?

Flacco’s been heavily critiqued over the past several years, as many people in the sports world have begun to wonder whether or not he has what it takes to win a championship, despite the fact that he is the only quarterback in NFL history to win a playoff game in each of his first five seasons.  After last week’s victory in Denver in which Flacco threw three touchdowns and outplayed four-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning, people had better start acknowledging his abilities.  However, out-dueling Tom Brady in Foxborough is never easy, even if Flacco has done it before.

Prediction:

Although Baltimore is no pushover and will give the Pats all they can handle, New England just has too many weapons on the offensive side, even with Rob Gronkowski out with a broken forearm.  With Tom Brady playing like well, Tom Brady, and their defense playing its best football of the year, New England will make enough plays to defeat Joe Flacco and the Ravens.

Score: 31-24

Betty Aldworth, center, a director of the Yes on 64 campaign responds to questions about the legalization of marijuana at a news conference at Civic Center Park in Denver on Wednesday. Co-directors Brian Vicente and Mason Tvert listen
Photo Credit: The Associated Press

DENVER — First came marijuana as medicine. Now comes legal pot for the people.

Those who have argued for decades that legalizing and taxing weed would be better than a costly, failed U.S. drug war have their chance to prove it, as Colorado and Washington became the first states to allow pot for recreational use.

While the measures earned support from broad swaths of the electorate in both states Tuesday, they are likely to face resistance from federal drug warriors. As of Wednesday, authorities did not say whether they would challenge the new laws.

Pot advocates say a fight is exactly what they want.

“I think we are at a tipping point on marijuana policy,” Brian Vicente, co-author of Colorado’s marijuana measure said. “We are going to see whether marijuana prohibition survives, or whether we should try a new and more sensible approach.”

Soon after the measures passed, cheering people poured out of bars in Denver, the tangy scent of pot filling the air, and others in Seattle lit up in celebration.

Authorities in Colorado, however, urged caution. “Federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug, so don’t break out the Cheetos or Goldfish too quickly,” Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, who opposed the measure said.

As the initial celebration dies down and the process to implement the laws progresses over the next year, other states and countries will be watching to see if the measures can both help reduce money going to drug cartels and raise it for governments.

Governments in Latin America where drugs are produced for the U.S. market were largely quiet about the measures, but the main adviser to Mexico’s president-elect said the new laws will force the U.S. and his country to reassess how they fight cross-border pot smuggling.

Analysts said that there would likely be an impact on cartels in Mexico that send pot to the U.S., but differed on how soon and how much.
Both measures call for the drug to be heavily taxed, with the profits headed to state coffers. Colorado would devote the potential tax revenue first to school construction, while Washington’s sends pot taxes to an array of health programs.

Estimates vary widely on how much they would raise. Colorado officials anticipate somewhere between $5 million and $22 million a year. Washington analysts estimated legal pot could produce nearly $2 billion over five years.