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Brandon Marshall Admits the Broncos Had a Super Bowl Hangover and "it's Crazy" the Patriots Never Do

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Pro Football Talk – The Broncos won the Super Bowl in 2015. In 2016, they didn’t even make it to the playoffs.

So what happened? Linebacker Brandon Marshall has some ideas. …

“I think there were some distractions and maybe a Super Bowl lull. … It kind of sat on me,” Marshall said. “I had a bad feeling. I had a bad taste in my mouth all of last year. Even during the season, I was like, ‘I’m not making any plays. I’m not making plays.’ It just felt weird. I wanted to do something about that. I plan to have a complete opposite season. … One of my old trainers put it to me like this: ‘When you reach all of your goals, or when you have something that you work for your whole like and you reach it, naturally, you take a deep breath.'” …

The challenges of continuing to strive for that which a team already has achieved makes Marshall respect one of Denver’s top rivals even more.

“They are always in the AFC Championship or the Super Bowl,” Marshall said regarding the Patriots. “They have a great quarterback, Tom Brady. They have a great staff. Bill Belichick is probably the greatest coach in NFL history. I will definitely give him that. All of those things come into account. But I do think it’s weird because no matter who they put in or who they put on the team, they still play well. It doesn’t matter. The one constant is Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. They pick and plug guys and they’re still successful, which is crazy.”

I appreciate Brandon Marshall’s honesty here. The man’s a competitor. So it can’t be easy to admit you and your teammates took your foot off the gas once you won a Super Bowl. Especially when you’re the heart of a defense so good in 2015 that it carried the decaying corpse of Peyton Manning to a championship, something the NFL hadn’t seen since the 2000 Ravens and may never see again. So it takes a lot of candor to admit you got mentally fat and happy and need to Rocky III it to get The Eye of the Tiger back.

And I respect Marshall even more for admitting he’s at a loss to figure out how the Patriots manage to be in the hunt every single year. Like he said, it’s human nature to lose your edge once you’ve reached the mountaintop. And the fact the Patriots just keep setting out from base camp, fighting their way up the slopes to plant their flag every single year makes them superhuman. And there’s no shame in not understanding how they manage it. It’s a question that has flummoxed all the great minds our age. Philosophers, theologians, scientists, wisemen, mystics and statistics have all tried to explain it and failed.

I can tell Marshall what it isn’t. It’s not Brady and Belichick. That’s the easy answer everyone in the league tells themselves because it lets them off the hook. It’s an excuse. The “Tony Stark built one in a CAVE! Out of a box of SCRAPS!” “Well, I’m not Tony Stark” of football. It starts with Brady and Belichick, but it extends to everyone in the organization. It’s about everyone holding each other accountable. It’s the front office signing guys who are hungry to win. It’s assistants like Ernie Adams, combing through hours of tape to find a competitive advantage, like identifying Seattle’s goal line rub route. It’s coaches outworking everyone else to put that to use. It’s scouts finding players who fit their assigned roles, something lost on guys like Bart Scott when he said trading Jamie Collins was the Pats “outsmarting” themselves. Mostly it’s a culture that puts winning above everything else. To the point that anyone who isn’t along with the program, who’s not paying the price, who’s letting up and not putting in the work gets tossed out on his ass. No matter what his pedigree, what he’s done in the past, where he was drafted or how much he makes.

Or as a greater mind than mine or Brandon Marshall’s once put it, No. Days. Off. I appreciate Marshall admitting the Broncos just took a year off.

 @jerrythornton1