Nov 23, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) prepares to pass in the third quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
John Elway was going to come up short once again.
That allusive Super Bowl was going to pass by him – again.
Elway and the Denver Broncos had their shot the year before and lost to Mark Brunell and the Jacksonville Jaguars. “The task this season is too difficult. There’s no chance the Broncos go on the road and advance to the Super Bowl.”
That was the talk in 1997-98 prior to the start of the playoffs. In the regular season, Denver lost on the road to the Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers, and to get to the Super Bowl in San Diego it would have to beat both teams – on the road.
Better luck next time.
The hard luck Broncos will see another golden shot at the Lombardi Trophy slip through their fingers.
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Before Denver kicks off tonight against the Chiefs it will know where it stands in the race for the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage in the AFC.
The Broncos will know if they still have a chance to get it.
No doubt Denver (8-3) has to take care of itself first but even a loss to the Chiefs (7-4) doesn’t do that much damage in the division. The Broncos would still hold the divisional lead and more than likely still win the AFC West and get the No. 2 seed.
If the Green Bay Packers beat the New England Patriots there is still a shot for Denver to get home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs. Of course it means nothing if the Broncos lose to Kansas City.
But the importance of tonight’s game shoots up if that happens. And with the rest of the Patriots’ schedule, on the road against the San Diego Chargers and at home against the Miami Dolphins (who beat New England) there could be at least one more loss.
That would mean the Broncos would have to win out, which means they finish 13-3. Given Denver’s history with that record, do we really want that again? There was the playoff loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1996, the playoff loss the Baltimore Ravens and the Super Bowl loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Call me superstitious, but I would much prefer the Broncos finish 12-4.
If Denver and New England finish with the same record, the Patriots get home-field advantage. That shows how unlikely it is for the Broncos to get it.
And it’s all moot if Denver loses. There is no way New England loses three games.
Nov 23, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos strong safety T.J. Ward (43) and Denver Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton (98) combine for tackle on Miami Dolphins running back Lamar Miller (26) in the third quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos defeated the Dolphins 39-36. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Still, it’s fun to talk and think about. Most think the Broncos have no chance if they don’t get home-field advantage.
I hate to make these kind of comparisons between teams, but the same stuff was said then. No one gave Denver a chance to go on the road and beat either Kansas City or Pittsburgh; especially with what happened in the regular season.
As we all know, the Broncos did.
Even if the Packers beat the Patriots, it’s still unlikely Denver gets home-field advantage.
That means people will say the Broncos have no shot going into Foxborough and beating New England; especially when you consider what happened this season and the last few times Denver has played there.
“Peyton Manning will once again come up short.”
“Manning is no match for Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.”
Just remember these same people would have said the same in 1997 and we know how that finished.
“This one’s for John.”
After today, we should have a clearer idea of how the Broncos will make their way to Arizona in February.
For Denver to win its third Lombardi Trophy it will have to channel its inner 1997-98 Broncos.
That’s where the comparison will end because this time it will finish with, “This one’s for Pat.”
Nov 23, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos strong safety T.J. Ward (43) celebrates with strong safety Quinton Carter (38) and cornerback Bradley Roby (29) after catching an interception during the second half against the Miami Dolphins at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos won 39-36. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports