In the seventh of Thin Air’s Rate Your Hate series, we consider the teams of the NFC West.
Despite convenient geography, with the clear exception of the Seahawks the Broncos have not had as much non-preseason history with the current members of the NFC West. However, there are still some notable moments to be had with this division.
For 40 years after the merger, the Broncos had the most honorable fact to hold over the Cardinals: they had never lost to them. After a tie in 1973 began their series, the Broncos rattled off seven straight wins over them. Then Josh McDaniels had to ruin everything in 2010 by getting this illustrious streak broken in embarrassing fashion. (Yes, I know McDaniels had been fired by then, but he still set up this failure. And yes, I know the Broncos winning this game takes them out of range to draft Von Miller in 2011, but I would have traded the Titans win in 2010 to ensure this streak remained in place.
The Cardinals are currently coached by Bruce Arians, who took some flack from Broncos country in 2014 when accused Julius Thomas of making “the dirtiest hit he’s seen in 37 years in football.” The Broncos, as they usually do in this series, blew out the Cardinals 41-20. That means the series currently stands at 8-1-1.
Los Angeles Rams
The Broncos’ history with the Rams has not been good, as they are one of the few teams that have a decided winning record over the Broncos, standing at 5-8. A current three game losing streak has particularly aggravated that bad history. Beyond the field, the Rams are now owned by Stan Kroenke, who also “owns” the Colorado Avalanche and Denver Nuggets, and who (in)famously returned the Rams to Los Angeles after a 21 year stint in St. Louis. Kroenke also once co-owned the AFL’s Colorado Crush with Pat Bowlen and John Elway.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers hold a massive trump card over the Broncos by inflicting the biggest margin of victory in Super Bowl history. After that, the 49ers won two more contests in 1994 and 1997 that weren’t particularly close. (Should Broncos fans be glad the Packers dispatched of the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game? And in 2006, the 49ers knocked the Broncos out of the playoffs in an overtime game that would end up being the last of his life for Darrent Williams.
But it’s not all bad between the Broncos and 49ers: they managed to garner a four game winning streak over them from 1975 to 1988, with that last game being particularly memorable. And in 2014 Peyton Manning broke Brett Favre’s all time touchdown record in a 42-17 destruction of San Francisco.
The all time series between the Broncos and 49ers is tied at 7-7.
Like the 49ers, the Seahawks hold a trump card in Super Bowl XLVIII, as well as a playoff win in 1983 over Denver in John Elway’s rookie season. Unlike the 49ers, however, when it comes to the regular season the Broncos have dominated over the Seahawks. And that’s not good news for Seattle when you remember that they used to be an AFC West division rival of Denver’s. During Elway’s tenure at quarterback with the Broncos in particular, the team racked up a 21-12 record over the Seahawks. That sticks the Seahawks with an all time record disadvantage of 34-21, and as long as the current conference structure and scheduling remains, that’s a record that the Seahawks likely will never be able to overcome in our lifetimes.