Ratto: Elway did it his way

Focal Point: Elway the best of his era?

The dawn of the Elway legend

Theismann: Feeling a Super impact

Examining Elway then and now

Checking the checkered past

Easy Ed takes it all in stride

  Tuesday, Feb. 2 9:39pm ET
No cries of 'Win one for John!'
By Susie Kamb, ESPN.com

MIAMI -- All season, Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway has hinted, grinned and winked at the possibility of retiring after Super Bowl XXXIII.

 John Elway
John Elway hopes to ride off into retirement with another Super Bowl ring.

However, no one is being hoodwinked by him. Players in both the Denver and Atlanta camps say the possible end to Elway's 16-year career will not be a motivating factor for the defending champions Broncos when they face the Falcons on Sunday at Pro Player Stadium.

Bronco linebacker Bill Romanowski said the focus is on the team, not the individual.

"When you're playing the Super Bowl, there's a lot of pressure. It doesn't matter if it's one guy's last game. He's still playing in this game," Romanowski said. "You have to worry about the here and now. Here and now is this football game. It's all or nothing in the Super Bowl. It takes a lot of effort by a lot of people to get here."

Elway's personal agenda doesn't much interest Broncos safety Tyrone Braxton, either.

"This is what we play for our whole life -- to play in this huge game. There's no way any of us could be thinking about anything past Sunday. Right now all our efforts, everything we eat, breathe and drink is for this game," Braxton said.

  Will John Elway's hinted-at retirement be a motivating factor for Denver? Maybe for John. If he had lost the Super Bowl last year, there might have been more sentiment from his teammates to send John out with a Super Bowl championship, but he has a ring now. I think it will be more personal for John -- between him and the game of football than the players trying to win one for him.

It will be emotional for him as far as being his last game, but as far as helping Denver be motivated for the game ... no."

This game -- the Super Bowl -- is motivation enough, said Broncos safety Steve Atwater: "We've always felt we had to go out and play as hard as we could, just because it may be a while again before we're in this situation. Whether John plays or not (next season), we've got to make the most of it."

The Falcons aren't getting misty-eyed over a possible Elway retirement being used to motivate the defending champions.

"If that motivates the team, then I don't know what makes that team click," Falcon cornerback Ray Buchanan said.

Falcons defensive line coach Bill Kollar agreed.

"I don't think that affects them at all. It was a big thing last year to be in the Super Bowl, the whole country was watching. Now it really gets to a certain point where the players even get tired of hearing about it: 'We're here, we're at the Super Bowl, do whatever you want after the season is over.' "

So much for sentimental favorites.

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