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It took Denver two plays to score. "Just love those one-yard drives," said Elway.
Ahem.... Well, Jerry?
"If he'd have caught the ball we'd have had a big play," Glanville said. "If it had worked, y'all would be excited about it right now."
Remarkably, the Oilers had practiced that very play all week for that very situation. "It was designed specifically to get us out of the end zone," said Oiler tackle Dean Steinkuhler. O.K., it was crazy, risky and dumb. But you can't say it wasn't in the game plan.
Maybe the show wasn't over right then, but you could almost see the credits rolling. The young Oilers were a group therapy session after that, all dangling nerve ends. They were called for 10 penalties on the day, three in one Denver series. It was on Houston's next possession that Rozier fumbled, and after that Moon seemed flustered. On the ensuing drive, he made an all-mallard pass, a ball that looked like it was clinging to breakfast jelly on his fingers before fluttering off and into the hands of Denver linebacker Karl Mecklenburg. Six plays later, Elway found tight end Clarence Kay's fingertips for a 27-yard touchdown. Two Houston turnovers, 14 Denver points. A minute and a half left in the first quarter. Here's your hat. What's your hurry?
The rest was not pretty. After swapped field goals, the Duke found the Vance for 55 yards on a broken play. It wasn't a touchdown, but close enough, so Johnson gave the crowd his best flamenco dancer ol�, which is also what the Vance wants fans to holler anytime one of the Amigos catches a pass. It's all part of a shtick that has sold 50,000 T-shirts and just as many posters, with Three Amigos videos (not to be confused with the movie of that title), a Three Amigos package tour to Mexico and, of course, Three Amigos sombreros still to come.
Soon after the Vance dance, Elway was rolling right from the Houston one, not finding anybody open and about to be thumped, when he suddenly threw left, across Oiler helmets and into the six-point hands of Kay. See ya, Blue. Make it 24-3.
And make it just another piece of True Grit from Elway, a man who will never give you stats that do a triple somersault out of your newspaper (Sunday: 14 for 25, 259 yards, two touchdowns throwing, one running), but who constantly gives you plays that make you check your eyeglass prescription. If the Broncos become the seventh team to return to the Super Bowl after having played in the previous one, they will have done it riding the Duke's stagecoach. Seven Denver starters-four on offense-missed all or most of the season. There were several shorter stays on the injured list too, but the best way is still Elway, whether he's throwing to the Three Amigos or the Three Stooges.
There's no point in dwelling on the rest of it, except to say that when sundown came, the fastest gun in town was still Denver's. And some people had spent two nights in tents in subzero weather to get tickets for this?