SAN DIEGO, JAN. 28 -- No matter what the Denver Broncos say or do, they can't escape the notion that quarterback John Elway is a one-man team. This time, the words are coming from Las Vegas.

With Elway, the Broncos are favored by three to four points to beat the Washington Redskins Sunday in Super Bowl XXII. But if something were to happen to him in practice Friday or Saturday that should take him out of the lineup, the oddsmakers in Vegas say the Redskins would become as much as two-point favorites. A six-point swing on the strength of one player?

"That is a drastic move for one player," Art Manteris of the Las Vegas Hilton told the San Diego Union. "There is really no other player in football who would command that kind of respect on the betting line, other than possibly {Miami quarterback Dan} Marino.". . .

Karl Mecklenburg, Denver's veteran linebacker/defensive end, grew up in Minnesota and has been a Denver Bronco all his life. But his parents live in Great Falls, Va. His father is an obstetrician and his mother a real estate developer.

Mecklenburg says he can see a marked difference in the team's attitude now versus a year ago today. "Last year we were messing around, taking pictures and buying souvenirs," he said. "This year, it's more business. All business, in fact. It's completely different."