There are a handful of franchises that one could point to and say, “They are fortunate.” On that short list is without a doubt the Denver Broncos. The franchise has done it all and been to the mountaintop more than almost any other team in NFL history.
With so many winning seasons, there are a few that have stood a cut above the rest. The question then becomes, “What are the best seasons in Denver Broncos history?” It was hard to narrow it down, but seven stood out above all others.
Check how to bet on Colorado sports and Denver Broncos here.
The Best Seasons in Denver Broncos History
With a franchise that has had as much success as the Broncos have, narrowing the list down to find the best of the best was actually a bit tough. All that said, these seasons are without a doubt among the greatest in the history of the Denver Broncos.
1.) 1998 (14-2, Super Bowl Champions)
It is easy to talk about the year prior (and we will below) but the 1998 season was statistically better for the Broncos from top to bottom. First and foremost, the team won their first 13 games before ultimately suffering an upset to the New York Giants (they would have a penchant for that).
Though this is perhaps most memorable for the dominant regular season run and subsequent crushing of the Atlanta Falcons in the Super Bowl, it will be remembered for two other reasons. For starters, it was John Elway’s final game and there is no better way to go out.
Secondly, it was the fourth 2,000-yard rushing season in league history. Terrell Davis won the MVP unanimously after rushing for 2,008 yards, pulling off one of the most dominant seasons in the history of the league. Plus, Atwater was the leading defender, one of the best Broncos defensive players of all time.
— Troy Renck (@TroyRenck) September 17, 2023
2.) 1997 (12-4, Super Bowl Champions)
Despite the success of the 1998 season, this is probably going to be the season most remembered by Broncos fans. The reason being is that the Broncos, who had lost their previous five attempts in the Super Bowl, managed to win the Big One, earning Elway his long-awaited championship.
It was also a banner season for Elway that saw him set the franchise record for passing touchdowns in a season with 27. But the real star of the season would eventually become Davis and for good reason.
Davis was a dominant force in a back-and-forth battle against the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl. He would take home MVP honors, rushing for an incredible 157 yards and three touchdowns as the Broncos narrowly topped the Packers 31-24. “Win one for John” will forever be among the greatest moments in Broncos history.
Do you remember the 21st day of September (in 1997) when the Broncos were proving to be Super Bowl contenders? Denver put the Bengals away (38–20)! Our ears were ringing from the deafening Mile High roar that day! TDs: @87ed, @TheREALrodSmith (2), @Terrell_Davis, and @BigAlRadio pic.twitter.com/Py0kRuI9ir
— Mile High Moments (@MileHighMoments) September 21, 2023
3.) 2015 (12-4, Super Bowl Champions)
The third of three Super Bowl titles for the Broncos is memorable in a way very similar to Elway’s 1998 season. This would be the fourth and final season with Peyton Manning at quarterback for the franchise, the last season of an 18-year career.
Manning, clearly beat up and past his prime, managed to gut through the season despite missing six games during the regular season. The Broncos still managed to finish first in the AFC West and to top Tom Brady and the Patriots 20-18 in the AFC Championship. The win at Super Bowl 50 sent “The Sherriff” off into the sunset on the highest note possible.
Need this back so bad @Broncos
— John (@superbowl3n) September 16, 2023
4.) 1977 (12-2, Lost in Super Bowl XII)
Despite the ending, this season will be one of the most memorable for one simple reason: it was the first Super Bowl appearance in franchise history. The team was dominant during the regular season, going 12-2 to win the AFC West.
Coach Red Miller won NFL Coach of the Year while quarterback Craig Morton earned NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors. Unfortunately, the run would end on a sour note. A 27-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys was not the most ideal way to finish an otherwise memorable season.
5.) 2013 (13-3, Lost in Super Bowl XLVIII)
The 2015 team led by Manning went out on a high note, but it may be this team that is among the greatest in the history of the franchise. The team set a litany of records, including the most points in a 16-game season. Manning also set the record for passing touchdowns in a season, earning the last of five NFL MVPs.
The team dominated in the regular season and got it done with several injuries to the offensive line. They would beat the Patriots 26-16 in the AFC Title game to earn their seventh Super Bowl appearance. Unfortunately, it didn’t end well. The Broncos were thoroughly trounced, losing 43-8 to the Seahawks.
September 5, 2013: On opening night, Peyton Manning throws for 462 yards and 7 TDs to lead thr Broncos over the defending Super Bowl Champion Ravens 49-27. pic.twitter.com/6u3YQh7yH6
— This Day In Sports Clips (@TDISportsClips) September 5, 2023
6.) 1987 (10-4-1, Lost in Super Bowl XXII)
The 1980s marked a great time to be a Broncos fan. The team was consistently great, making three appearances in the Super Bowl in the decade. In 1987, the team won their second-straight AFC championship, propelled by NFL MVP John Elway.
The Broncos rolled in the divisional round before meeting the Browns in the AFC Championship. This tight battle would end with the infamous carry by Earnest Byner known as “the fumble.” The Broncos would hold on to survive but ran into a buzzsaw in the Super Bowl, being handily beaten 42-10 by the Redskins. It marked a trend of the Broncos making it to the big game only to lose without much of a threat to the opposition.
The Broncos are one of the most blessed franchises in NFL history. There are some teams – Detroit, Cleveland, Houston – that have never been to a Super Bowl, let alone eight of them as the Broncos have been. Winning three of those is nothing to balk at, either.
At their peak, the Broncos have had some truly memorable seasons. With names like Elway and Manning at the helm, the Broncos faithful will have some great memories to recall for years and decades to come. Let the debate about the greatest seasons in franchise history begin. Since the new Denver Broncos owners arrived, this season the expectations are high.