Thomas should know. He was part of a Broncos offense that was taken to school by Seattle's smothering defense. The vicious style of that defeat amplified Denver's desire to field a defensive unit that could inflict similar pain. Two years later, the Broncos see themselves as a different type of roster altogether.
"I think so," Thomas said, when asked if this year's club is better than the 2013 incarnation. "Of course, we got everybody healthy. Offense is good, defense is playing lights out, so I think this team is better."
To a man, every Denver player and coach we spoke with comprehensively dismissed the idea of a psychological hangover from Super Bowl XLVIII.
Added Trevathan: "I just know that I took it upon myself to be better than I was that game. I felt like I gave everything, but it wasn't enough. So, I felt like I should have gotten better and the team feels like it should have gotten better, and we worked our tail off ... and it's just fed into the atmosphere and everybody bought in."
Serving under his third head coach in Denver, running backs aide Eric Studesville knows a little something about wiping the slate clean. He emphasized that teams change immensely over two seasons, saying: "The guys that were here, many of them weren't in the same roles as they are now, so it's different."
Still, Studesville acknowledged that while he doesn't linger on that Super Bowl loss, he "absolutely" learned from it.
"The experience of going through it and just being able to draw from it and move forward," Studesville said. "Things you wish you'd done differently, or better, or sooner -- did we do too much or not enough? That doesn't necessarily mean that's what happened, but everybody draws from it."
"There are a lot of guys that are still here, and ... I know they don't want that taste in their mouth again. So I think it means a little bit more," Ward said. "The guys that were there, nothing needs to be said about that. They know what happened. That performance is not going to be repeated."
While Denver's loyal fan base hasn't forgotten that ugly affair, fans don't operate the way NFL teams do. In almost militaristic fashion, players are trained to block out distractions and wipe away the white noise. By all accounts, Sunday is about rewriting history -- not dwelling on it.