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After four Super Bowl losses the Denver Broncos, inspired by long-suffering quarterback John Elway, upset the Green Bay Packers 31-24 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.
Denver won outright as a 12-point underdog on the Super Bowl XXXII betting line, and the game, which matched the league's top two offenses of the 1997 season, played OVER its total of 49.
In retrospect, this game was lined terribly; in the end, the better team won.
Green Bay, the defending Super Bowl champion, went 13-3 during the regular season, then beat Tampa Bay and San Francisco in the playoffs to reach the Super Bowl for the fourth time in franchise history.
Denver went 12-4 during the regular season, then, as a Wild Card, knocked off Jacksonville, Kansas City and Pittsburgh in the playoffs to reach the Super Bowl for the fifth time in team history. The Broncos had lost all four of those previous Super Bowls, in non-competitive fashion.
Green Bay opened the scoring on a 19-yard Brett Favre-to-Antonio Freeman touchdown connection on the first drive of the game. But Denver promptly answered with a scoring drive of its own, culminating in a short Terrell Davis touchdown run.
The Broncos then converted a Favre interception into a short Elway scoring run and a Favre fumble into a field goal for a 17-7 lead. The Packers then drove 95 yards for a Favre-to-Mark Chmura score, sending the game into halftime at 17-14.
Green Bay tied the score at 17-17 with a field goal in the third quarter, before Denver drove 92 yards to another short Davis TD run and a 24-17 Broncos lead. But the Packers re-tied it at 24-24 on another Favre-to-Freeman scoring hookup early in the fourth quarter.
Denver later got the ball with just over three minutes to go and drove for the game-winning score, a Davis walk-in from the one. The Packers then drove last-gasp to the Broncos 31-yard line but Favre's fourth-down throw was knocked down, and Denver's Super Bowl misery was over.
Davis, with 157 yards on 30 carries and three touchdowns, was named the game's MVP, just the seventh time through the first 32 Super Bowls a running back won the award.
Denver's victory gave the AFC its first Super Bowl title since Marcus Allen and the Los Angeles Raiders whipped the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XVIII, 14 years previous. The AFC would go on to win eight of the next 10 Super Bowls.
Denver not only claimed its first Lombardi Trophy, it pulled a Super Bowl repeat by beating the Atlanta Falcons the following season in Super Bowl 33.
Green Bay, meanwhile, would go 13 seasons before its next Super Bowl appearance, a victory over Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XLV.
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