JERSEY CITY, N.J. — After barreling down the highway from Newark Liberty International Airport with a police escort, the most difficult stretch for the Broncos' buses to navigate was the final 100 yards to their Super Bowl hotel.

Fans had greeted them starting at their downtown exit ramp; a group was there waving large orange towels. The downtown streets of Jersey City were lined with well-wishers, including one guy with a sound system shouting into his microphone, “Here come the Denver Broncos!”

Finally, after inching through the mob that awaited the Broncos in front of their hotel, the buses stopped and Denver football operations boss John Elway walked out of one.

He was immediately approached by a handsome young man wearing a blue overcoat who somehow managed to fight his way through fans, media, security and state troopers.

“Mr. Elway,” the man said. “Would you sign this for me?”

Patrick Smyth, the Broncos' media relations director, quickly took control of the situation.

“Sir,” Smyth said. “He has to keep moving. He has to meet the mayor of Jersey City.”

The young man smiled.


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“I am the mayor of Jersey City,” said Steven Fulop, 36, who has been the mayor since he was 28. “I have here a welcoming proclamation on behalf of Jersey City.”

You should have heard Elway cackle. He signed the proclamation and posed with Mayor Fulop for a photo, a sure sign the Denver team that Elway assembled had officially arrived at Super Bowl XLVIII.

A small group of flight attendants from Norway had just checked in at the hotel, but before they went to their rooms, they leaned over the third-floor railing to see what all the fuss was about.

“The Broncos are a team, right?” one said, as serious as the hotel's $15 grilled cheese sandwich.

Amid the frenzy, some perspective.

Denver head coach John Fox was first up the escalators at the Hyatt, his wife, Robin, a moving step below. The Broncos' coaching staff followed. Then, in single file, went the players.

Some carried handheld camcorders. Veteran safety Mike Adams had a GoPro camera wrapped around his forehead.

Most of the players appeared to be wearing new suits.

“There's a lot of guys wearing different colors I never thought I would see them wear,” said special-teams captain David Bruton.

Wes Welker sat before a media throng wearing a salmon-colored coat. That was salmon, right?

Wesley Woodyard wore a new velour, dark blue coat with a purple tie. “A little spiffy,” the linebacker said, laughing.

Not 15 minutes after arriving, Fox walked up the short plank to a cruise ship parked along the back of the Hyatt on the Hudson River, where most of the Broncos' news conferences will be conducted this week.

“Oh, no,” Fox said, upon realizing the first person he saw in Super Bowl territory was an old face from Denver. “Don't they have security around this place?”

The Broncos arrived loose and in good spirits. And ready to play a cold-weather Super Bowl this coming Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks at MetLife Stadium in nearby East Rutherford.

“I think to be a championship football team, you have to be weatherproof,” Fox said.

Peyton Manning is confident he can play well in the elements.

“In two years, I feel like we've seen a lot as far as on-the-field situations,” Manning said. “Weather. Crowd noise. You name it with this team. So I do feel comfortable.”

After all of these years, there was something right about Champ Bailey having his own Super Bowl press table. He has played in 12 Pro Bowls, more than any other cornerback in NFL history. This is his first Super Bowl.

Did he watch other Super Bowl media events in past years and say “That should be me” to himself?

“I don't know how to explain what was going through my head when I watch things, but I did pay attention,” Bailey said. “I'm a fan of the game. I have a lot of friends around the league, so I pay attention because I'm interested. I never say 'It should be me' or take anything away from guys that earned it.”

His thoughts on Day One?

“This is probably the worst part right here,” Bailey said, “sitting here answering these question that I'm going to have to answer all week. But I'm going to enjoy it as much as possible and get ready to play this big game.”

Whereas, the Broncos, an NFL team from Denver, have arrived in Jersey City, Super Bowl week has begun.