Nearly two weeks later, and the comparisons rage on.
I recently tackled the question of “Which playoff loss was worse: Jacksonville or Baltimore?”
Saturday was painful because the Broncos by many accounts did enough to win, but managed to make just enough mistakes to not. Many could say that makes it worse than 1996 when the Denver Broncos were just outplayed. It’s a valid point, but I think we have to remember the broader context of 1996.
The Jacksonville game came at a time where the conversation had begun about how much longer Elway would be around. When Denver earned home field after a stellar 13-3 season a narrative emerged of finally getting that Super Bowl for Elway. The Broncos had not been in such an opportune position for five years, and with the clock ticking on Elway’s career it seemed this could very well be the team’s last best shot.
Yes, the Ravens divisional-round loss hurt, but the Jaguars loss during the 1996 playoffs was worse. Of course, we know what happened the following season for Denver. The Broncos, fueled by the postseason embarrassment of 1996, won the Super Bowl.
And then Denver won the Super Bowl again. The following year. For good measure.
But the questions remains: Can the 2013 Denver Broncos do the same?
The Denver Post’s Mark Kiszla writes:
While Denver has established the talent base of a legitimate contender, the Broncos must approach next season as if it is their last, best shot to win the NFL title.
The above is perhaps the best one-sentence summary of how the team must approach 2013. It’s a mantra that hopefully players think about daily – from now until February 2014.
The 1997 Denver Broncos laid out a blueprint for the 2013 team, but that path is no guarantee we’ll see a similar result. Bottom line: A lot of things have to go well, be it luck or good fortune, not to mention the league has changed.
- Denver Broncos: (VIDEO) Practicing for the Pro Bowl means Peyton Manning gets additional on-field time with Adam Gase and Greg Knapp to get a jump on next season.
- The Denver Post: NFL and college football intersect at Senior Bowl
- The Denver Post: Broncos offense to strive for more power; defense to seek help at MLB
- Mile High Report: 2013 NFL Free Agency: Should the Denver Broncos trade for Revis?
- Predominantly Orange: History Says Broncos’ Fans Have Much To Look Forward To