The Denver Broncos enter the 2013 season as one of the Super Bowl favorites, just a short time after they were one of the favorites to win last season. A stunning double-overtime loss to the Baltimore Ravens killed the Broncos’ aspirations.
This isn’t the first time the Broncos enter a season with such high hopes following a devastating playoff defeat.
In January of 1997, Denver played the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs and lost in stunning fashion, 30-27. The Broncos had just finished a 13-3 season and were expected to roll over the second-year Jaguars.
Funny thing, this football. On that day, Mark Brunell played one of his finest games as a pro as Jacksonville stunned the football world.
Denver used the heart-breaking loss as motivation on their way to back-to-back Super Bowl titles.
Fast forward to 2013 and the Broncos once again find themselves in a similar situation. Coming off a 13-3 season and another mind-blowing playoff defeat, the Broncos can only hope the following couple of seasons turn out as good as they did in the late 1990s.
“We used that loss as motivation for the next two seasons,” said former Bronco running Back Terrell Davis. “Once we got to training camp I thought as a team we would be over it, but there it was right in our face.”
Bronco fans can only hope this year’s edition feels the same way. It’s not often a team can continue to be a championship favorite in consecutive seasons with legitimate chances of winning. Not in today’s NFL with the salary cap creating parity. Not in today’s NFL where rookie quarterbacks can step in and immediately play at a high level.
There is a certain pressure on this year’s Broncos, much like there was back then. “For anybody who is in this business it’s a high pressure game.” added Head Coach John Fox, who may be under more pressure than any other coach this season.
Is Fox feeling it? “Yes, from players to coaches, everybody involved, you’re under the microscope. So, of course there is pressure.”
You could argue that nobody in the Broncos organization is under more than Fox to win now. Not Vice President of Football Operations John Elway, not quarterback Peyton Manning, but coach Fox.
Fox was the one who made the call for Manning to take a knee at the end of regulation in their loss to the Ravens last season, a decision I’m sure Fox regrets, although he will tell you he would do it exactly the same way if the situation arose again. Yeah John, and Rahim Moore would approach the play where he let Jacoby Jones go for a 70-yard touchdown the same way too.
It isn’t easy to have such high expectations as the Broncos do. For the fans and the organization, we can only hope history repeats itself.