|9/10||kansas city chiefs||34-20|
|9/18||at buffalo bills||28-14|
|9/24||los angeles raiders||31-21|
|10/1||at cleveland browns||13-16|
|10/8||san diego chargers||16-10|
|10/22||at seattle seahawks||24-21|
|11/12||at kansas city chiefs||16-13|
|11/20||at washington redskins||14-10|
|12/3||at los angeles raiders||13-16|
|12/10||new york giants||7-14|
|12/16||at phoenix cardinals||37-0|
|12/24||at san diego chargers||16-19|
|1/7||pittsburgh steelers (afc divisional game)||24-23|
|1/14||cleveland browns (afc championship)||37-21|
|1/28||at san francisco 49ers (super bowl xxiv)||10-55|
A familiar destination; a painfully familiar result
Twenty-four years after the Broncos’ 1989 season ended in a 55-10 defeat to San Francisco in Super Bowl XXIV, John Elway — by then the Broncos’ general manager — was licking his wounds from a Super Bowl loss as an executive.
Two days after Seattle’s 43-8 demolition of Denver in Super Bowl XLVIII, Elway was asked how long it took to get over a Super Bowl loss.
Replied the Hall of Famer: “I’m not over them yet.”
And once again, they were crushed in the Super Bowl.
The 1989 season probably represented the moment at which the gulf between the NFC and AFC was at its widest. Seven NFC teams won at least 10 games that year; the Broncos were the only AFC team to break double digits.
The San Francisco 49ers were 12-point favorites in Super Bowl XXIV, but by halftime, that prediction seemed quaint; they were up 27-3 and en route to the most lopsided victory margin in Super Bowl history.
The Broncos’ third Super Bowl loss in four seasons was too much to bear. Some frustrated fans even burned their Broncos gear in front of television cameras. Elway was hounded by the 49ers’ pass rush, and the balanced offense that powered the Broncos in the regular season and AFC playoffs was gone by the Super Bowl, with 1,000-yard back Bobby Humphrey unable to run.