It is likely to be a travel-weary Denver Broncos team that takes the field for today's game against the Buffalo Bills in sold-out Rich Stadium.
Thanks to an early-season blizzard that blasted Colorado, the Broncos' chartered flight left Denver nearly 10 hours behind schedule Saturday and was not scheduled to arrive in Buffalo until 12:20 a.m. today.
Kickoff is still set for 1 p.m.
The Broncos' charter was originally scheduled to depart at noon Eastern time but blowing and drifting snow delayed the departure until 9:54 p.m. It was the first plane to leave Denver International Airport since the storm began Friday.
The fact the Broncos took off with all players and coaches accounted for was an accomplishment. In the course of assisting other motorists, state and local police helped locate Bronco players who became stranded on their way to the team's practice facility, from where buses were to take the traveling party to the airport.
Wide receiver Ed McCaffrey managed to get his car out of his driveway -- which was covered by a 5-foot snowdrift -- and drive one block before becoming stranded. Cornerback Tim McKyer drove within a mile of the facility before abandoning his car and walking the rest of the way while carrying his luggage.
As if getting here wasn't bad enough, veteran Bronco players were bracing themselves for more adversity today, thanks to a crowd of nearly 80,000 and the possibility of rain.
"They've got some wild fans," strong safety Tyrone Braxton said. "We were driving to the stadium before the game (in previous trips to Rich) and the buses were getting hit by snowballs. Boom! Boom! Boom! People are booing us, and they had their pants down mooning us when it was freezing. You can never tell what the weather will be like. It's a nice, great turf, but if it gets wet, it gets more slick than on other turfs."
The Bills see their biggest chore as getting more points. Steve Christie provided all of Buffalo's scoring in last Monday night's 9-6 victory over Indianapolis, which put the Bills (4-3) a game out of first place in the AFC East.
That doesn't figure to be nearly enough against the Broncos (6-1), who have scored 25 or more points in six of their seven games.
"We know we have to do better than score nine points against the Broncos," running back Thurman Thomas said. "It may take 21 or 24, I don't know. As much as I like Steve Christie, I'd much rather have him kicking extra points than field goals."