Denver Broncos: When was the last time a playoff drought lasted this long?
With a loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 17, the Denver Broncos were officially eliminated from the playoffs.
This will mark the sixth year in a row that the Broncos have not been in the postseason with the team’s last playoff game coming back in February 2016 when they defeated the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50.
For so many years, the Broncos were a team that fans could count on to be in the playoffs and if the team missed out on those festivities, it got right back into the conversation the next year. Playoff droughts were not something Broncos fans had to sit through for an extended period of time.
Back in the day when the team was led by John Elway, the Broncos only missed the playoffs six times in his 16 seasons. Under Peyton Manning, the Broncos never missed the postseason.
In total, the Broncos were in the playoffs in 14 of the 20 seasons they were led by either Elway or Manning as the team’s quarterback.
Obviously, with great quarterback play comes big success and that is the main ingredient that has been missing since Manning hung up the cleats.
So how long has it been since the Broncos missed the playoffs six years in a row? Well, there are two ways to look at that.
If you start counting from the time the team started making the playoffs, the answer would be never.
The Broncos made the playoffs for the first time in 1977 and went to the Super Bowl that year. Since then, they have never missed the playoffs six years in a row.
Broncos fans are having to deal with uncharted waters
The closest they came was the time period from 2006-2010, in which there was a lot of transition within the team, from changing head coaches from Mike Shanahan to Josh McDaniels and then to John Fox and also changing starting quarterbacks from Jay Cutler to Kyle Orton.
The team went just 8-8 in 2011 but that was good enough to win the division. It was also a memorable season as it was the year that Tebowmania ran wild in Denver.
Prior to making the playoffs in 1977, the Broncos went their first 17 seasons without a playoff berth. That included their entire time in the AFL. Aside from that time period between 2006-10, the Broncos never missed the playoffs more than three years in a row after that 1977 season.
How long will this drought last?
With several teams in the AFC getting better and better and other teams like Kansas City staying strong, there certainly seems to be no end in sight.