Peyton Manning lived the Super Bowl loss. He doesn't see the need to critique it. Speaking publicly for the first time since the Seahawks routed the Broncos 43-8, Manning said the stinging defeat should provide motivation for the upcoming season.
"I don't really have a word for it. Obviously, it was disappointing and we will use that as fuel that hopefully makes us better," Manning said before serving as the keynote speaker for the 38th Annual Sports Breakfast benefitting the Boy Scouts of America at the Pepsi Center.
"I have not (watched the TV copy of the game). I watched the film. I don't really see a lot of value in watching the TV copies of games we lose quite often."
Manning recognizes the challenge facing the Broncos. Only two teams have lost the Super Bowl and returned the next season to win it, and none since the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VII.
At age 38, coming off an NFL single-season record 55 passing touchdowns, Manning remains driven by this singular goal.
"Absolutely I am (hungrier than ever). That's what I want to do (win the title). That's what the Denver Broncos want to do," Manning said. "I am glad to be part of a team that wants that. I need to do my part. That's what I think about every day I go to work, doing my job to help the Denver Broncos get better."
Without Manning lifting a weight or throwing a pass — which he did plenty of in his annual spring excursion to Duke to work with his receivers — the Broncos improved dramatically on paper. They showed they were serious about addressing the embarrassment to the Seahawks by signing free agents DeMarcus Ware, T.J. Ward and Aqib Talib to bolster a defense that ranked 22nd last season with 24.9 points allowed per game.
Ware, a former Cowboys star, spent much of the last decade chasing Manning's brother Eli in the NFC East.
"Eli told me he's glad that DeMarcus is leaving his division. I am glad he's on my team. Talib's always been a tough player to play against. Glad he's on my team. T.J. Ward as well," Manning said. "You like playing with guys who are excited about being Denver Broncos."
The roster overhaul, while not a complete shock, was a bit jarring. Manning said that developing chemistry with the new group is imperative.
"First off, we lost some great players and some great friends. It was a real pleasure to play with Champ (Bailey), Knowshon (Moreno), Eric (Decker), Wesley Woodyard ... Chris Kuper retiring, Zane Beadles leaving, that's the worst part of football because you form friendships and put hard work in and the business side comes into play," Manning said. "You have to move forward and re-establish your identity. 2013 was a good season in a lot of ways. There's no question that it did not end the way we wanted. We have to kind of take it a step further and finish."
Troy E. Renck: firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/troyrenck