1999 was a year of transition
With Shanahan firmly in place, the Broncos were able to win back-to-back Super Bowls in 1997 and 1998. But following that second title, legendary quarterback John Elway decided to call it a career.
The Broncos thought they might be able to pick up right where they left off with Brian Griese at quarterback, but they had a huge wake-up call coming.
The team lost its season opener to the Miami Dolphins before taking a 16-point loss against the Chiefs. A close loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 3 led into what would essentially be the final stake in the heart of the '99 team.
In Week 4 against the New York Jets, Griese threw an interception and, trying to make the tackle, Terrell Davis tore his ACL and MCL and was forced to miss the rest of the season. He was never the same player after that.
To their credit, much like the 1994 team, the Broncos picked themselves up off the floor and won two games in a row after that. But back-to-back losses to the New England Patriots and Minnesota Vikings put the team in a hole it couldn't get out of.
The Broncos finished the 1999 season at 6-10. Until last season, when the Rams finished 5-12, that was the worst record in terms of winning percentage for a defending champion.