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Super Bowl favorite Denver Broncos face tough odds

Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning walks off the field

Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning walks off the field after Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014. Credit: AP

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
2013 Denver Broncos 13-3 TBD TBD

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