Denver Broncos fans: Super Bowls are not won in September
The Denver Broncos are 4-0 and have scored more points than any team in the NFL by far. They look great. Peyton Manning has set a record for most touchdown passes thrown in the first four games of a season with 16. There is talk about this team being better and more impressive than the 2007 New England Patriots, who went 18-0 before losing to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl. But for all the praise about Manning and the Broncos, allow me to remind you that Super Bowls are not won in September.
Peyton Manning has a history of doing this sort of thing. How many times did he start off the season undefeated and hot only to make an early exit in the playoffs? Let’s see.
- - 1999 Colts won 11 straight games from Week 6-16, lost in divisional round to Ten
– 2004 Colts won 8 straight games from Week 9-16, lost in divisional round to Pats
– 2005 Colts started 13-0, lost in divisional round to Steelers
– 2007 Colts started 7-0, lost in divisional round to Chargers
– 2008 Colts won 9 in a row from Week 9-17, lost in wild card round to Chargers
– 2009 Colts started 14-0, lost Super Bowl to Saints
– 2012 Broncos won 11 in a row from Week 6-17, lost in divisional round to Ravens
The one exception was Manning’s 2006 Colts, who started 9-0 and won the Super Bowl over the Chicago Bears.
You could argue that this is Manning’s best team and offense yet, but don’t forget about some of his other amazing squads. Are you really going to tell me that this team of Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker and Eric Decker is better than Manning’s 2004 Colts, who had Edgerrin James, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Brandon Stokley and Dallas Clark? I’m not willing to say that. Manning threw for a then-record 49 touchdown passes that season. In Week 10-13, they went through a similar stretch to this Broncos team. They won 49-14, 41-10, 41-9 and 51-24 in those games. And then they lost to the Patriots in the divisional round of the playoffs.
This Broncos team may go 16-0 for all I know. Manning may break Tom Brady’s record for touchdown passes in a season. But from what I’ve learned watching football over the years, all it takes is one strong defensive performance, or a game where Peyton throws a few picks, for his team to lose in the playoffs and make the records seem insignificant. So let the media fawn all over Peyton and talk about how he’s the greatest and how the Broncos are the best ever, but just remember that the ultimate prize is winning the Super Bowl, not going 4-0 and setting records in September. When the Broncos win the Super Bowl, I’ll join the chorus in praise. Until then, I’ll wait this one out.