What did these teams have?
These four teams had competent quarterback play. The 1970 Bengals had Virgil Carter and Alex Smith was part of both the 2015 Chiefs and the 2020 Washington team. The 2018 Colts received elite quarterback play from Luck.
But mostly, they had a solid figurehead at head coach, someone who was willing to get them through the tough times.
Paul Brown, who coached those Bengals, is one of the most recognizable names in the history of the league who is part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Andy Reid is arguably a top-five coach in league history who has won two Super Bowls. Ron Rivera took the Carolina Panthers to the Super Bowl in 2015 but he was also part of the famed 1985 Chicago Bears that won the Super Bowl.
The 2018 Colts were coached by Frank Reich, who was fired earlier this week by the Panthers. But he also authored the most memorable comeback in the history of the NFL when he, as a backup quarterback, brought the Buffalo Bills back from a 35-3 halftime deficit to defeat the Houston Oilers in the 1992 playoffs.
The point is, all of these men had been there before. They had the experience and they had to pull things out of the fire during their careers.
Sean Payton can be looked at in much the same way. He has a Super Bowl victory. He had to turn around a (mostly) downtrodden New Orleans Saints franchise.
That is the most important factor in the Broncos' resurgence and it will be the main reason they join this very small group, if that in fact comes to fruition.