Cornelius Bennett didn't try to hide his disappointment.
The Atlanta linebacker was on the losing Super Bowl team for the fifth time, and he conceded it hurt more than most people could imagine.
"You never get used to this losing," said the 12th-year pro, who appeared in four title games with the Buffalo Bills.
"If John (Elway) wants to stick around for a third in a row, I want to stick around to get one. I'll keep trying. Hopefully, I'll be back for a sixth time next year."
Bennett said one of the reasons he feels fortunate, despite the outcome of the Super Bowls he's played in, can be summed up by a conversation he had with former player Eric Dickerson.
He ran into Dickerson on Saturday and congratulated the ex-running back on being elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.
"He said, 'Yeah, but you've been to a bunch of Super Bowls.' I said, 'Yeah, but I haven't won one.' He said, 'Yeah dog, but you've been there.' That shows how much it means to players just to get to this situation."
The Broncos proved to be the better team, yet Ray Buchanan refused to say he was wrong for guaranteeing Atlanta would win the Super Bowl.
"I'm not going to apologize. I had confidence that this football team could win. There was no doubt in my mind. I'll never take that back," the Falcons cornerback said after the game.
Buchanan engaged in a week-long verbal battle with Denver's Shannon Sharpe, who agreed with Buchanan that the two of them were just having fun.
"There were no hard feelings. I don't take it personally," Sharpe said.
Sharpe twisted his left knee in the first quarter and, after returning briefly later in the quarter, sat out the rest of the game.
Sharpe was hurt when he was hit on his knee and flipped over by Buchanan's tackle on a 14-yard reception to the Atlanta 1.
"It's sore," said Sharpe, who was able to limp into the interview area without assistance while wearing a styrofoam horse's head with Broncos insignia.
"On that play, I bounced off Eugene (Robinson) and then I dipped around (Jessie) Tuggle and I saw the end zone. I was trying to go upfield and I saw Ray Buchanan coming in, and I thought I would try to go over the top. I think he knew that and his helmet caught me right in my knee. I wasn't able to get my knee off the ground. He got my knee pretty good."
It was undetermined whether Sharpe might require surgery.
For the second year in a row, a Broncos Super Bowl victory ended in clashes between unruly celebrants and police.
"It was a smaller crowd than last year, but a more rowdy crowd," said Andrew Hudson, spokesman for Mayor Wellington Webb.
Police used tear gas to break up boisterous crowds in downtown Denver and on the streets of other Colorado cities.
"There were several arrests, I'm not sure right now how many, and damage was extensive throughout downtown," Hudson said. "There were broken windows, trash receptacles were overturned."
Downtown bars emptied as the game ended and fans started bonfires and set off firecrackers. When the estimated crowd of 1,000 would not disperse in Larimer Square, police threw tear gas canisters at taunting youths.
Oddsmakers in Las Vegas had a pretty good idea how many points would be scored in the Super Bowl. Those betting the game, though, guessed right on whichteam would score most of them.
The end result Sunday may have been a rare win for bettors, whose faith that the Broncos would cover the spread led to a lot of winning tickets at this city's legal sports books.
"We have a lot of happy folks in here," said Vince Magliulo, sports book director at Caesars Palace. "People have to win sometimes and we understand that. We'll probably end up paying out more money than we took in."
Happy bettors stood in long lines at many sports books to cash winning tickets after the Broncos easily covered the 7 1/2 -point spread to win the Super Bowl, 34-19 over the Falcons.
Oddsmakers had predicted exactly how many points the two teams would combine to score -- 53 -- but it was the bettors who came out the winners when the Broncos won by more than the point spread.