That special story met a crushing end at Gillette Stadium, where Tom Brady and the Patriots smeared the Broncos 45-10 on their way to the Super Bowl.
Any misconceptions Denver had about the team's ability to get it done with its current players were quickly remedied in the offseason, with the Broncos ditching Tebow, scooping up Peyton Manning and doing some seriously retooling across the board.
Now, Denver cornerback Champ Bailey says, all wishful thinking is out the window — to the point that the Broncos "know we can win" and think they should, according to CBSlocal.com in Denver.
"I didn't feel like there were 53 guys that thought we could win, and it showed," Bailey said of last year, noting the offseason changes. "Couple of different players here and there. Different coordinator. Different mentality … different breed of guys going in there."
Most of the improvements have been on offense, where the Broncos have gone from a severe inability to score to having a cache of offensive tools.
"Oh, we can put up points," running back Willis McGahee said, according to CBSlocal.com. "There's no doubt about that."
McGahee also agreed that Denver is better suited to face New England this time around.
"I like the firepower regardless of this year or last year, but yep, this year is a little bit better," he said.
Denver may be better this year, but the Patriots will have the final say on whether some changes in offensive personnel is really enough to take them down this time.