After last year’s playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens, it wasn’t just current Denver Broncos that were hurting. It was former Bronco players, too.
Take for instance Rod Smith. He knew the feeling. He lost to the Steelers in the 2005 AFC Championship.
“Last year was hard, Smith said. “It was hard for me. Honestly, as a player and being in that situation, I left the stadium, my stomach hurt bad—like somebody just took about 15 running starts and just punched me in the gut.”
Smith texted Demaryius Thomas after the game and told him to get back to work after taking a week or two off.
“That’s the only way you can get over it,” Smith said. “You’ve got to get yourself back there.”
Smith has been an ambassador of sorts for the team this year. Last week, he pumped up the stadium, leading the crowd in a rousing pregame cheer. This week, he’s been named an honorary captain, which means he’ll get to walk to the 50-yard line again for the coin toss.
“I always called tails,” Smith said. “I used to lose a lot of coin tosses. We might want to call heads. I used to call tails. I always said, ‘Tails never fails.’ It just sounded good, so I always picked tails.”
As for who Smith thinks will win the game?
“The Broncos win,” Smith said. “Honestly, it’s their time. It’s time for this organization to get back on top, and you have to get through this challenge. This is probably one of the toughest challenges in the last 10 years, honestly.”