Nationals

Bowlen: 2012 'very good' but short of great

Bowlen: 2012 'very good' but short of great

DENVER (AP) Broncos owner Pat Bowlen knows what a great season looks like.

This season wasn't one of them.

In a letter sent to season ticket holders, Bowlen thanked Broncos fans for bringing the passion back to the stadium in this, the first season with Peyton Manning in a Denver uniform.

Denver finished 13-3 and had top seeding in the playoffs but lost to Baltimore on Saturday in the divisional round.

``I said publicly last year that I wanted 2012 to be a great season, not just a good season. We certainly had a very good season and perhaps exceeded a few expectations,'' Bowlen said in the letter obtained by The Associated Press. ``But Broncos fans, you and I know what a great season looks like.''

After last season, when Denver made the playoffs with Tim Tebow at quarterback but still finished with a .500 record, Bowlen said he appreciated the turnaround from 4-12 but he wanted more.

That helped open the door for vice president of football operations John Elway to go after Manning and ship Tebow to the Jets.

With Manning at quarterback, Denver went on an 11-game winning streak to close out the regular season before falling 38-35 to the Ravens.

Bowlen called it ``a gut-wrenching disappointment for everyone who loves the Denver Broncos.''

``I feel terrible for our players, coaches and staff who put forth maximum effort throughout the year,'' Bowlen said. ``They accomplished many great things while falling short of our ultimate goal. But most importantly, my heart aches for you.''

Bowlen's most famous words - ``This one's for John'' - came after the Broncos won the 1998 Super Bowl in Elway's 15th season in the league. Now 68 and largely out of the spotlight, Bowlen said a few years ago he was having some short-term memory loss and some of the memories of Denver's back-to-back titles were fading. He has turned over day-to-day control of the football operation to Elway. But he remains involved.

``That is why I'll soon stop reflecting and start working on one thing for 2013 - bringing another Super Bowl victory back to Denver,'' Bowlen said. ``As we move forward, I am extremely optimistic with the future of our team.''

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AP Sports Writer Pat Graham in Denver contributed to this report.

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Juan Soto greets Nationals fans while dressed as Santa Claus

Juan Soto greets Nationals fans while dressed as Santa Claus

The winter can feel like one of the slowest seasons of the year, especially for baseball fans who long for the season to pick back up again.

But Nationals outfielder Juan Soto met with fans on Saturday at a Dick’s Sporting Goods in Bailey's Crossroads, Virginia, and did his best to make them feel merry by getting in the holiday spirit.

Soto already helped give D.C. the greatest gift of all in a World Series title, so maybe he really is Mr. Claus.

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Packers killer Adrian Peterson rushes for another TD at Lambeau Field

Packers killer Adrian Peterson rushes for another TD at Lambeau Field

Dating back to his days as a Minnesota Viking, running back Adrian Peterson has always been a Green Bay Packers killer.

Peterson is now sporting the Redskins' Burgundy and Gold instead of the Vikings' purple, but he's been equally as effective against his former divisional rival.

The 34-year-old rushed for a two-yard touchdown in the second quarter, bringing the Redskins within one score. It was Peterson's eighth rushing touchdown in Lambeau Field in his career, the most ever from any opposing player.

The score was also Peterson's 16th touchdown all-time against Green Bay. Only Chicago Bears legend Walter Payton has scored more touchdowns against Green Bay (19) than Peterson.

Peterson is in all likelihood a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but his numbers against Green Bay are one of the more impressive things on his résumé.

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