Jan 17, 2014 11:18 PM by Greg Smith
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- David Bruton didn't hesitate for a moment in his response.
Instead, the Broncos safety and special teams captain clearly pronounced what has become growingly apparent throughout the course of the week: Sunday's showdown with the Patriots will be played on no ordinary stage.
"It's not another home game. That's what it comes down to," Bruton said. "It's the AFC Championship Game. It's the last game before to you go to that 'ship. It's a dream game in two weeks. There is added pressure to this game. Everyone wants to go out and perform well, perform to the best of their abilities."
Coupled with the stakes that have been raised to Rocky Mountain heights, however, is the undeniable excitement about playing for a berth in the Super Bowl - the sport's grandest stage and a place where the Broncos haven't been since Jan. 31, 1999.
"I'm ecstatic. It's a one-in-a-lifetime deal," Bruton said. "Some guys get a chance to actually get to this game. We've been to the playoffs the past three years and I've never gotten to this game. So I'm extremely excited, happy and blessed for this opportunity."
He's certainly not the only one.
"I'm really excited, it's an opportunity for us to go out there and get one game closer to the Super Bowl," linebacker Danny Trevathan said. "We have this game in front of us. We aren't going to do anything different. We're just preparing and staying within our realm. Just getting excited and getting motivated to go out here and try to put together a good 60 minutes."
Of course, the players aren't the only ones amped for the game. Broncomania has swept over fans in Denver and all over the country - creating a deafening atmosphere at Sports Authority Field at Mile High that left defensive tackle Terrance Knighton impressed after the Broncos' 24-17 win over the Chargers in the Divisional Round.
Impressed, but prepared to be even more charged on Sunday.
"It was crazy last week, more than I expected," Knighton said. "And this week, it will probably be even louder. That only gets us going, so we definitely need that."
"It's great, all the fans are behind you," defensive tackle Sylvester Williams said. "That's a part of this game, when you the fans are behind you."
"It's a blessing," he added.
Bruton was just as quick to send a message to Broncos fans as he was to pronounce his own enthusiasm for Sunday's game.
"Let's get loud," safety David Bruton said. "Let's make it uncomfortable for (Patriots quarterback) Tom (Brady) back there. Let's get it rocking because it was rocking last week and I expect it to be decibels higher this week since we're a lot closer. Our fans have been great so let's just keep that riding."
After a week of preparation and anticipation, the weekend has finally arrived in Denver - with the franchise's biggest game since January 2006 trailing closely behind.
"We know that it's going to be a tough game," Bruton said. "It's a very high-caliber opponent with multiple weapons offensively, defensively and special teams. It's just going to be our best versus their best and see whose best comes out on top."