The Denver Broncos have very high expectations in 2014. Last season they steamrolled through the regular season, winning 13 games. They outscored their competition by an average of nearly 13 points per game. They broke numerous offensive records including most points scored in a single season.
Then, once in the AFC playoffs, the Broncos continued their frenetic pace. They beat the San Diego Chargers by seven and the New England Patriots by 10.
But then came the 43-8 embarrassment in the Super Bowl against the Seattle Seahawks.
And now the Broncos will have make history if they are going to fulfill those previously mentioned expectations.
You see, only two teams in the history of the NFL have been able to bounce back from a Super Bowl loss and win it the following year.
And it hasn’t happened since 1972.
It was in ’72 that the Miami Dolphins rebounded from losing Super Bowl VI to the Dallas Cowboys and beat the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl VII. Keep in mind that these were the undefeated 17-0 Miami Dolphins. This is the lone team in NFL history to complete a full season perfect and without blemish.
The only other time it has taken place? 1971.
Yes, just a year prior to the Dolphins redemption, the Dallas Cowboys had done the same thing. Dallas beat the Dolphins after having lost the year before to the Baltimore Colts.
Two times. In forty-seven years.
Not only have teams not won the Super Bowl, but 28 Super Bowl losers have never even won a playoff game the following year.
In fact, just seven of the 47 Super Bowl losers have made it back to the Super Bowl a year later.
And they have gone 2-5 in that game.
Who was the last team to even reappear after losing? The 1994 Buffalo Bills. Needless to say, it did not go well.
12 teams that came up short in the big game never even made it to the playoffs the next season.
Whether it was due to injuries, free agency, or just common attrition getting back to the pinnacle game of the National Football League is anything but simple.
The Broncos do have a little experience in this situation.
In 1987 they made it all the way to Super Bowl XXI before losing to the New York Giants 39-20.
They broke the loser curse the following season when they faced the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XXII. Where they were soundly thrashed 42-10.
This isn’t going to be easy.
But the 2014 Denver Broncos should at least have a shot.
The Broncos will still be very formidable on offense. Peyton Manning will lead a dangerous group that can score from anywhere on the field.
The defense should be improved thanks to some free agent acquisitions and a small collection of players returning from injuries.
This team has a legitimate chance of being better this year than they were a season ago.
A team hasn’t lost the Super Bowl and then returned to win it in over 42 years. It may be time to rewrite history.
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