A Quick History Lesson
The Broncos avenged the Patriots the following year, denying the Packers back to back titles en route to their back to back – all while ending the NFC’s 13 year Super Bowl winning streak. But a lot of Pats fans don’t care about any of this. Prior to last season, the only games they truly were invested in came against the Jets, Dolphins, Ravens, Giants, and whomever Peyton Manning plays for (the Bills have been added to that list now that they have Rex Ryan). I can confirm that after last year’s AFC Championship gut-punch, the Broncos have finally joined their pantheon of hatred.
On September 9th, 1960, the Boston Patriots and Denver Broncos played the first AFL game ever at Boston University Stadium. You would think that a region which prides itself by its staggering amount of history would appreciate that the pathway to the modern NFL began just down the road from many Revolutionary War battlegrounds. Both teams have represented the AFC in 11 of the last 20 Super bowls. The all-time leaderboard of AFC champions looks as such:
Denver – 8
Pittsburgh – 8
New England – 8
Buffalo – 4
Oakland – 4
This is and always has been a rivalry. It may not be the nuclear radioactivity the Jets bring to town, or the unadulterated hatred Pats fans feel every time Joe Flacco turns into Aaron Rodgers against them in the playoffs, but every single era the Patriots have been good in, the Broncos have been too.
There is a very clear AFC historical hierarchy, and Patriots fans are late to the party, as seven of their eight AFC titles have come in age of the internet. They’re not bad fans so much as they’re not experienced. For many of them, football started as soon as Mo Lewis hit Drew Bledsoe. The rest of their teams began playing around or before the Industrial Revolution.