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I served in the US Navy from 2002-08; four of those years were as a Nuclear Propulsion Operator aboard an aircraft carrier. I engage in political activism in various Democratic circles when I am able to. I have a cat, and I am an uncle.

All opinions that I express are my own and do not reflect the views of any organization that I represent.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

NO, THE BRONCOS ARE NOT REPEATING




You read that correctly.

The Broncos are not repeating as Super Bowl champions.



In every decade the NFL has existed starting with 1920 to now, the league has had at least one team repeat. In the 1920s it was the long defunct Canton Bulldogs who were the first team to win consecutive championships. The Green Bay Packers repeated in 1930 and 1931 as part of their three-peat that started in 1929 that was followed by the Bears back-to-back championships in 1932-33, but failed to go for a three-peat losing in the 1934 championship game. The Bears started the 1940s with back-to-back titles in 1940 and 1941, but like in 1934 failed to defend their title for the third time in 1942. The 1940s also had another team go back-to-back, the Eagles, winning titles in 1947 and 1948 by a combined score of 21-0.

The league had three teams repeat in the 1950s: The Lions (yes the Lions, 1952-53), Browns (yes the Browns, 1954-55) and Colts (1958-59).

When the Packers won the NFL championship in 5 out of 7 seasons in the 1960s, it was achieved in consecutive seasons on two separate occasions. The first came in 1961-62 and the second run was from 1965-67. The 1966-67 NFL Championships included the first two Super Bowls which the Packers won.

The trend of at least one team repeating during a decade continued in the post-merger era. In the 1970s, the Dolphins went back-to-back from 1972 to 1973 with a combined record of 32-2 that was followed by the Steelers back-to-back championships in 1974 and 1975. The Steelers were the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls twice with follow-up victories in Super Bowl XIII and XIV.

The 1980s almost saw an end of this trend. The 49ers kept the repeat victor trend going with a win in Super Bowl XXIII and even though Super Bowl XXIV took place in January 1990, it is credited to the 1989 season. The Cowboys won three out of four titles with their first two being back-to-back victories in 1992 and 1993 which was followed by the Broncos mini dynasty of 1997 and 1998.

The most recent back-to-back champion were the Patriots which like the 1990s Cowboys, had a back-to-back component to their three-out-of-four run; the Patriots won Super Bowl XXXVI, missed the playoffs the next season, and went back-to-back in 2003 and 2004.

Since the Patriots’ back-to-back Super Bowl wins, there have been 9 teams to win the Super Bowl in the last 11 seasons. Only two have won it twice (not back-to-back); the Giants Super Bowl wins happened four years apart while the Steelers had the shortest span between titles at three years.

The closest a team came to repeating was the 2014 Seahawks with a return trip to the Super Bowl that saw their title defense end in dramatic fashion. For others it was roster depletion (2005 Patriots), not recapturing the momentum at the end of the season and making the deep playoff run (2006 & 2009 Steelers, 2013 Ravens, 2012 Giants), facing a more determined team in the playoffs (2007 Colts and 2011 Packers), or like the 2014 Seahawks, a dramatic play at a key moment that shuts the door on the title defense (2010 Saints).

What fate awaits the Broncos this season? Saying the Broncos will not repeat is an unpopular opinion here in these parts, but it is the truth. Even though most of the defense from last season is still intact and Wade Phillips is the defensive coordinator, there was the usual roster depletion due to free agency. The biggest loss is due to the retirement of Peyton Manning. Though he put up some of his worst numbers of his career in his final season, Manning played the role of game manager towards the end of the regular season and in the playoffs as well as this could be his final season was sort of a rallying point for the team.

Certainly the defense will keep the team in contention for the playoffs but if I was a Broncos fan I would not be making plans to visit Houston in February 2017.

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