When safety Darian Stewart played for the Ravens in 2014, he couldn’t get past the Patriots in the playoffs. Now Stewart is preparing for Super Bowl 50 with the Broncos. And beating the Patriots in last week’s AFC Championship game makes getting to the Super Bowl even more special for Stewart.
“(The Patriots) just win all the damn time,” Stewart told USA Today following the AFC Championship. “They’ve got a hell of a quarterback in Tom Brady, that’s why they do it.
“It was nice to see (their sadness). I’m just happy we got the win, to hell with them.”
Now Stewart faces the challenge of getting healthy enough to play in Super Bowl 50. He suffered an ACL sprain during the AFC title game, and missed practice last week.
However, Stewart has no intention of missing the Super Bowl.
“Without a doubt in my mind, I’m playing,” Stewart told the Associated Press.
The Broncos hope Stewart will play, because they need as much help as possible to contain the Panthers offense led by quarterback Cam Newton. Stewart has a history of playing well in the postseason. In 2014, he intercepted Ben Roethlisberger in the fourth quarter when the Ravens knocked off the Steelers in the playoffs. Then in the AFC Championship, Stewart picked off Brady in the second quarter, part of a sparkling defensive performance by the Broncos during their 20-18 victory.
After Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak left the Ravens as offensive coordinator to become the Broncos’ head coach, Stewart and former Ravens tight end Owen Daniels both joined Kubiak during free agency last year. It has worked out well for all three. Stewart signed a two-year, $4.25 million deal with the Broncos, then in Week 1, he helped the Broncos defeat the Ravens, 19-13, picking off Joe Flacco in the end zone with just 28 seconds to play.
Winning the Super Bowl would cap a storybook season for the Broncos, in what could be the last game for quarterback Peyton Manning. Getting healthy, and getting ready to face Newton, are the two things foremost on Stewart’s mind this week.