Listen up, Vegas. The Denver Broncos are the preseason favorite to win this season's Super Bowl XLIX, but they face 20 years of poor odds.
Since Super Bowl XXVIII in 1994 (the 1993 NFL season), no team that lost the big game has even returned to the Super Bowl the following season, let alone won it.
The Broncos were embarrassed by the Seattle Seahawks, 48-3, in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium last season.
Peyton Manning, quarterback of those 13-3 Broncos, posted career numbers, including an NFL record 55 touchdown passes. The Denver offense is experienced, and though the defense lost Robert Ayers to the Giants this offseason, the Broncos picked up pass-rusher DeMarcus Ware, safety T.J. Ward and cornerback Aqib Talib.
The Broncos seem primed for success in 2014.
Yet, in the previous 20 seasons, nine Super Bowl losers failed to qualify for the playoffs the following season. That a 45-percent failure rate. Among the six teams prior to the Broncos that went 13-3 in the season they reached the Super Bowl, two missed the playoffs the next season.
In this 20-season span, only two teams have reached their conference championship game the season after losing the Super Bowl: the New England Patriots in 2012 (after losing to the Giants in the 2011 season's Super Bowl) and the San Francisco 49ers in 2013 (after losing to the Ravens in the 2012 season's Super Bowl)
Manning has seen this before. In 2009, his Indianapolis Colts went 14-2 and lost to the New Orleans Saints in Super Bowl XLIV. The next season, the Colts went 10-6 and lost to the Jets in the wild-card game.
Denver's championship odds aren't impossible, however. Since the 2008 season, all five Super Bowl losers returned to the playoffs the following season. It's a dramatic turnaround from the prior 10 years where only two teams made it.
Here's a look at the recent history:
|NFL season||Super Bowl losing team||Record||Next season's result||Next season's record|
|1993||Buffalo Bills||12-4||Missed playoffs||7-9|
|1994||San Diego Chargers||11-5||Lost wild-card game, 35-20, to Indianapolis Colts||9-7|
|1995||Pittsburgh Steelers||11-5||Lost division game, 28-3, to New England Patriots||10-6|
|1996||New England Patriots||11-5||Lost division game, 7-6, to Pittsburgh Steelers||10-6|
|1997||Green Bay Packers||13-3||Lost wild-card game, 30-27, to San Francisco 49ers||11-5|
|1998||Atlanta Falcons||14-2||Missed playoffs||5-11|
|1999||Tennessee Titans||13-3||Lost division game, 24-10, to Baltimore Ravens||13-3|
|2000||New York Giants||12-4||Missed playoffs||7-9|
|2001||St. Louis Rams||14-2||Missed playoffs||7-9|
|2002||Oakland Raiders||11-5||Missed playoffs||4-12|
|2003||Carolina Panthers||11-5||Missed playoffs||7-9|
|2004||Philadelphia Eagles||13-3||Missed playoffs||6-10|
|2005||Seattle Seahawks||13-3||Lost division game, 27-24 (OT) to Chicago Bears||9-7|
|2006||Chicago Bears||13-3||Missed playoffs||7-9|
|2007||New England Patriots||16-0||Missed playoffs||11-5|
|2008||Arizona Cardinals||9-7||Lost division game, 45-14, to New Orleans Saints||10-6|
|2009||Indianapolis Colts||14-2||Lost wild-card game, 17-16, to New York Jets||10-6|
|2010||Pittsburgh Steelers||12-4||Lost wild-card game, 29-23, to Denver Broncos||12-4|
|2011||New England Patriots||13-3||Lost conference championship, 28-13, to Baltimore Ravens||12-4|
|2012||San Francisco 49ers||11-4-1||Lost conference championship 23-17, to Seattle Seahawks||12-4|