DENVER, JAN. 19 -- When the Denver Broncos resume practice Thursday in preparation for the Super Bowl, they'll find a message on the blackboard in their meeting room.

Arranged vertically are the figures $10,000, $18,000 and $36,000, adding up to $64,000.

Presumably, none of the players will be asking the $64,000 question: What does it mean? It's obviously the amount of money each Broncos player stands to earn by beating Washington on Jan. 31.

The Broncos organization is hoping those blackboard figures compute better than a previous monetary exhibit. In 1984, officials arranged a stack of $1 bills totalling the amount the players could earn throughout the playoffs. But the message didn't take; Denver promptly lost to Pittsburgh, 24-17, in the first round.

Denver Coach Dan Reeves had a different kind of visual aid for his players the day before the AFC championship game against Cleveland Sunday.

Reeves arranged his six championship rings on the lectern in the meeting room -- five of which he won as a player and coach with the Dallas Cowboys -- and told his players that, when their careers are over, a championship ring will mean more than anything else a player might attain.

"What I told them was I had played or coached in 10 championship games before Sunday," Reeves said. "I made $80,000 {in playoff money}, but all of it is gone. When you have a family, it goes pretty fast. But the fact that you played in one -- nobody can ever take that away from you. I wanted to impress that on them."

Reeves is the first to admit the trip to the Super Bowl has been improbable.

Had he somehow been able to peer into the future at the obstacles his team was to encounter in the 1987 season, he never would have predicted a second Super Bowl appearance for his team.

The retirements of four defensive starters and major injuries to seven other key players did not bode well for great success.

"If someone had shown me a list of all the things that would happen to this team, I would have to have been a complete idiot to say we'd be back" . . . Reeves said.