Can the Denver Broncos do better than last place in 2023?

Broncos HC Sean Payton
Broncos HC Sean Payton / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages

The Denver Broncos have finished their respective seasons in 4th place in the AFC West in four of the last seven seasons. For the last three consecutive seasons, Denver has finished in fourth place in the division. Failure has been something common for this team and ultimately, it's come down to either poor quarterback play or bad coaching (or both).

Since Super Bowl 50, the 24-10 win over the Carolina Panthers, their last AFC West division title, the Denver Broncos have had five different head coaches (one interim - Jerry Rosburg), and 13 different starting quarterbacks.

Denver Broncos' standings in the AFC West since SB50:

2016-17: 3rd place - 9-7 record
2017-18: 4th place - 5-11 record
2018-19: 3rd place - 6-10 record
2019-20: 2nd place - 7-9 record
2020-21: 4th place - 5-11 record
2021-22: 4th place - 7-10 record
2022-23: 4th place - 5-12 record

These coaches are Gary Kubiak (9-7 record), Vance Joseph (11-21 record), Vic Fangio (19-30 record), Nathaniel Hackett (4-11 record), and Jerry Rosburg (1-1 record). The quarterbacks are Trevor Siemian (24 games as a starter), Paxton Lynch (4 games as a starter), Brock Osweiler (4 games as a starter), Case Keenum (16 games as a starter), Joe Flacco (8 games as a starter), Drew Lock (21 games as a starter), Brandon Allen (3 games as a starter), Jeff Driskel (1 game as a starter), Brett Rypien (3 games as a starter), Kendall Hinton (1 game as a starter), Teddy Bridgewater (14 games as a starter), and Russell Wilson (15 games as a starter). The win-loss record since Super Bowl 50 win is 44 wins to 70 losses.

The AFC West matchups have been difficult for the Broncos since that Super Bowl win, which was eight seasons ago, but it feels like it was a long time ago. Their win-loss record against each division rival since the Championship season has been:

  • Denver Broncos 0 - 14 Kansas City Chiefs
  • Denver Broncos 8 - 6 Los Angeles/San Diego Chargers
  • Denver Broncos 4 - 10 Las Vegas/Oakland Raiders

The Broncos' last win against the Kansas City Chiefs was before Super Bowl 50, the Broncos' last win against the Raiders was in 2019 (NFL 100th season), and the Broncos' last win against the Chargers was the last game of the 2022-23 season.

With all the above being said, can the 2023-2024 season finally be a season of positive change, at least in the division?

I personally think yes. There has been something in common in the past seven seasons - lack of head coaching experience. Vance Joseph was a first-time head coach when hired by the Broncos. Vic Fangio was a first-time head coach when hired by the Broncos. Nathaniel Hackett, also a first-time head coach when hired by the Broncos. Now, new Head Coach Sean Payton has over 10 years of head coaching experience. He is not only an experienced guy, he is a winning guy, he has a 152-89 win-loss record in the regular season. Sean is a guy that can put together a winning team, a big team culture, a playoff team.

This year, the Broncos kick off the season at home against the Raiders. Sean Payton's debut as the Broncos head coach will be against another former Broncos HC, Josh McDaniels, Russell Wilson vs Jimmy Garoppolo...It is the perfect game to start that positive flip for the Denver Broncos.

Can Denver not finish last in the AFC West this year, after three consecutive 4th place seasons?

Next. 5 reasons Denver Broncos can go from worst to first in 2023. dark