Friday February 5th, 2016

The story of how a Super Bowl team was built will always move the needle, but sometimes, the way these things happen are too good to be true.

Joan Niesen’s September 2014 Sports Illustrated story (That Old Orange Magic) reveals a coincidence that very well could have played a part in the Denver Broncos’ current Super Bowl run.

Linebacker DeMarcus Ware, a free agent, was flying from his home in Dallas to Denver for a free agency visit with the Broncos. Ware had spent the previous nine seasons with the Cowboys.

Also flying first class? Aqib Talib, who makes his off-season home in Dallas and was headed to Denver...to be introduced as a new Bronco after signing a long-term free-agent deal.

From the SI Vault:

The two had never met, but with a little neck-craning Talib confirmed that yes, it was indeed the 6'4", 258-pound defensive end, who'd been cut one day earlier by the Cowboys. Talib, who spends his summers in Dallas and was traveling to Denver to be introduced as the newest Bronco (six years, $57 million), had heard rumors that his new team was pursuing the four-time All-Pro. He put the pieces together: This had to be Ware's first visit of free agency.

Not wanting to draw attention by chitchatting down the aisle, Talib waited until he reached the terminal before announcing, loudly enough for Ware to hear, “Man, I've got to [change for] my press conference.”

At first Ware, 32, didn't recognize Talib; he hadn't expected another player to be on his flight. Only when the cornerback finally introduced himself did everything click for Ware: I see exactly what the Broncos are building. He agreed to a three-year, $30 million contract just hours later. “Their mentality is, I'm not looking forward to the next season or the season after that—the time is now," Ware says. "When I saw Talib, I knew: They're trying to get the job done.”

The Broncos also brought in former Browns safety T.J Ward that day, and the infrastructure of one of the league’s most fearsome defenses was suddenly in place. Not bad.

The Broncos take on the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 on Sunday.

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