NFL: 25 Most Disappointing 1 Seeds In NFL Playoff History

Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos tight end Shannon Sharpe. (Photo by Joseph Patronite/Getty Images) /

25 Most Disappointing 1 Seeds In NFL Playoff History: 1. 1996 Denver Broncos

The biggest disappointment in history came thanks to expectations meeting a major upset. The Denver Broncos came close to winning it all so many times in the John Elway era. It was honestly unfathomable that he didn’t have a championship by the 1996 season. Elway made the Super Bowl three times in the 80s, but the early 90s were not as nice to him. He only made the playoffs two times, and Denver failed to put the right talent around him. That changed in 1996, as Terrell Davis started to emerge as a superstar and the defense was falling into place.

Mike Shanahan was putting in his system, and it was leading to wins. He found a way to get the best out of Elway, and they won 13 games that season. This team was great. They had stars on both sides of the ball, and it seemed like under Shanahan they had the right system to win in today’s NFL.

In the playoffs, they were facing an expansion team. They were in their second season in franchise history, and it was a surprise that they made the playoffs at all. The Broncos were supposed to crush the Jaguars. This was going to be a “welcome to the NFL” moment for the franchise. Instead, the Broncos took them lightly, and Denver’s attempt at a comeback was too late.

The fourth quarter was incredible. After starting up by eight, the Jaguars drove down to the Broncos two-yard line, but they had to settle for a field goal. That put them up 11. The Broncos drove down the field, and Davis scored with seven minutes left to get the score to within three. The Jaguars then came right back and scored a touchdown putting them back up by 10. There was now 3:39 left in the game. Just a minute and a half later, the Broncos scored again, but they were out of timeouts. They needed an onsides kick, and they couldn’t recover it. The Broncos were many analysts’ Super Bowl favorites, but a team many felt weren’t in the Broncos league ended their season way earlier than anyone thought.

Next. NFL: 30 of the biggest what-ifs in NFL history. dark