50 Wins In Manning Era Added To Many Great Bronco Numbers To End 2015 Regular Season

Denver Broncos through the years...

Denver Broncos through the years…

It’s fitting Peyton Manning had a say in how the 2015 season came to a close for the Denver Broncos. Since he became a Bronco four seasons ago the Broncos have managed to light up the standings for a regular season record of 50-14. The New England Patriots won 52 in the four years ending with a 16-0 record in 2007 and posted 51 wins in the four years beginning with that 2007 campaign saw them lose a 2nd Super Bowl loss to the New York Giants. The Pats managed just 1 title in those combined 7 seasons. In Mike Shanahan’s first four seasons Denver finished 8-8, 13-3 (shocking Jacksonville Jaguar loss) and back to back Super Bowl titles after the 1997 & ’98 seasons. Those four Bronco clubs combined for 48 wins. A presidential term doesn’t always produce an award winning year and and neither do the best four stretches in NFL history but Denver is getting what may be the last shot of the Manning years to claim that third Super Bowl title. The wildly swinging momentum of 2015 ends on an upswing going into another post-season that could see two games played at what is arguably the toughest road win in the league. The problem is the Broncos are 1 of 3 in successful home play-off stands in those four years.

Let’s get back to the positive number the 2015 season produced for Bronco fans… Lets talk division titles in the NFL Since 1970. The Patriots have failed to win the AFC East three times since the 2000 season but only have two more division titles than Denver in these 46 seasons. The L.A. Rams won 7 straight from 1973-’79, The Pittsburgh Steelers won 6 straight from 1974-’79 and the Oakland Raiders & Dallas Cowboys have also put together 5 years runs. So the current 5-year Bronco reign is only semi-impressive to non-Bronco fans but longtime fans remember when all stats lead to a heated conversation with Raider fans as they held everything over their heads. Denver now owns 15 AFC West titles and the Raiders 12 (Chargers 10 – KC 6). While the Raiders still have an all-time series lead over Denver in the regular season it was the recent Raider win here that ended Denver’s eight game winning streak over them and evened the series since the merger at 45-45-1. Of course a Denver championship will even the Super Bowl count at 3. In keeping the Raider/Bronco comparison going 2015 is the 13th consecutive non-winning season for the Raiders. The 5 seasons prior to Manning showing up in Denver make up the longest non-winning stretch for the organization since the merger and that 5th season was the Tebow lead 8-8 division win and overtime defeat of the Steelers in the playoffs.

In the big picture of regular season winning percentage in all games played since 1970 Denver goes into it’s first ever off-season as the 2nd best. While the Cowboys and Miami Dolphins combined for a 10-22 record in 2015 to let Denver cruise by for that 2nd spot the Steelers continue to build on their legacy of winning. That 31-24 loss in Pittsburgh contributed to the .610 to .590 lead the Steelers hold and the fact they now have a league leading 28 playoff appearances compared to Denver’s 22 in the last 46 seasons (of note: Cowboys 27 – Patriots 20).

The current QB controversy is a microcosm of what will effect the Denver Bronco’s effort to enter the 2020 season as the team that holds that best winning percentage. 2020 will mark 50 seasons since Denver ended its run as the worst AFL team and became an NFL/AFC club in 1970. It will also be the 100th season of pro-football so the Broncos have a chance to be the king of the hill at a huge milestone. “Four more years” is now a real Bronco chant as we hope to earn another Super Bowl win but there is another goal out there worth fighting tooth and nail for.

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