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What we learned from Broncos' first media day

JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- This is supposed to be the New York/New Jersey Super Bowl, but Sunday was all about the land of Springsteen.

The first official media event of the week leading up to Denver Broncos versus Seattle Seahawks was held aboard the Cornucopia Majesty, a big ship docked in the shadow of the Freedom Tower. It was unique.

A large room on the ship's first floor housed the podium where John Fox and Peyton Manning spoke. After that, the media walked three flights of stairs (not easy) to meet with the other team captains. That group included wide receiver Wes Welker, cornerback Champ Bailey, linebacker Wesley Woodyard and safety David Bruton.

Since I did not fall into the river, or freeze to death on my walk back to the shuttle bus, I will share my takeaways from the event:

  1. Two questions. That's how long it took until Fox -- the first up at the podium -- was asked about the weather. "To be a championship team you have to be weatherproof." I'm sure this won't come up again.
  1. Manning was asked if he'd given any thought that he could be playing his final game next Sunday. He said he's on a "one-year-at-a-time" basis, but he made it pretty clear he'll be back in 2014 unless a doctor says otherwise. More details can be found here.
  1. Champ Bailey, a 15-year veteran making his first Super Bowl appearance, was also asked about retirement: "I'm not really thinking about retiring," he said. "All I'm thinking about is winning. Doing what I need to do to win the game. After the game, we'll talk about that." Hmmm ...
  1. Wes Welker is so over this. The wide receiver approached his media availability with the same level of enthusiasm I had for going to church when I was 10. We're pretty sure he'd pay any amount to be teleported to 6:30 p.m. next Sunday.
  1. Fox said kicker Matt Prater -- who's been sidelined by a virus in recent days -- traveled with the team and will be ready to go next Sunday. Fox joked that Prater was kept "in a bubble" so other Broncos wouldn't get sick. (Nice early-period Travolta reference, coach.) Fox also said running back Knowshon Moreno -- who's been limited in practice because of a rib injury -- "will be a huge part of the game."
  1. Fox will be asked a lot about his heart surgery this week. This is the human interest angle the Super Bowl media consumes like Kobayashi in his prime. Fox answered multiple questions about his recovery and return to the team. I also heard Manning and Woodyard get asked about it. Big takeaway: Fox is obviously very well-liked by his players.
  1. On a related note, Fox appears to have dropped a good amount of weight since his open-heart surgery. Decked out in a designer suit, he now bares a passing resemblance to Roger Sterling from "Mad Men." My mom would approve.
  1. Bruton on Jersey native Mike Adams' (amazing) plan to walk home in full uniform if Broncos win: "That's just how Mike is, how Mike talks. He definitely has an open phone line if we need to find something to do or just to see where to go eat, where is a good spot to go or whatnot."
  1. Manning is fun to watch talking to the media, too. Total pro. He's so polished it was actually strange to see him pause when NFL Media's Judy Battista asked him a question that forced him to jog his memory on the spot.
  1. For the record, Judy asked Manning if he'd ever met Russell Wilson. Manning said he met the Seahawks quarterback shortly after he had signed with Denver and Wilson was making a pre-draft visit to Broncos headquarters. Manning was in the middle of a film study session at the time, because of course he was.
  1. The worst question of the day? That goes to the guy who asked Manning how he can use the weather conditions to his advantage. "I'm not really sure. I don't really know how to answer that." He's the best quarterback in the world, not Captain Planet.
  1. No, nobody said "I'm on a boat!" I did get the urge to start dancing like Michael Scott, but I didn't want Peter King to judge me.
  1. Media members staying in New York this week (this includes me) got a police escort to Jersey City. The combination of tinted windows on our bus and a police presence led many locals to incorrectly assume we were either the Broncos or Seahawks. Onlookers gawked, waved and snapped photos with their iPhones. When we pulled up to the team hotel, I actually saw a father and son sprinting toward us. Imagine their disappointment when the doors opened and ... we rolled out.

I now understand how Frank Drebin felt when "Weird" Al was on the plane.

*We handed out awards for the 2014 coaching class and talked all the latest headlines in the latest "Around The League Podcast." *

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