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Mile High Morning: Which Broncos team is the best in franchise history?

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The Lead

When CBS Sports' Bryan DeArdo decided to identify each NFL franchise's best team, he found that some have more options to pick from than others. The Broncos, as one of nine organizations to win three or more Super Bowls, are one of those that "have been more fortunate than others," as he put it.

Still, among the stellar seasons, one stands out from the rest for Denver: the 1998 team, which went 14-2 in the regular season and romped to a second-straight Super Bowl victory in the playoffs.

"A year after winning the franchise's first Super Bowl, the '98 Broncos won their first 13 games and finished the regular season with a 14-2 record," DeArdo wrote. "Denver's regular season was highlighted by Hall of Fame running back Terrell Davis, who won league MVP honors after rushing for 2,008 yards and scoring 23 touchdowns. Receivers Ed McCaffrey and Rod Smith each recorded 1,000-yard seasons, while Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe's 10 touchdown catches tied Smith for the league lead. Denver's underrated defense, led by Hall of Fame safety Steve Atwater, allowed just 13 total points in the Broncos' playoff wins over the Dolphins and Jets."

In addition to that argument, DeArdo notes that the team had an overall record of 17-2, had three Pro Football Hall of Famers on offense (and one on defense) and outscored opponents 95-34 in the playoffs.

"In Super Bowl XXXIII, with the Falcons' defense geared up to stop Davis, the Broncos instead showcased the talents of quarterback John Elway, who threw for 336 yards while scoring two touchdowns in his final NFL game," DeArdo wrote. "The Broncos, by virtue of their 34-19 win over the Falcons, became the sixth franchise to win back-to-back Super Bowls."

The '98 Broncos bested the franchise's other two championship teams — the 1997 and 2015 groups — as well as several teams that didn't win it all but should be in the conversation, including: the 1977 Broncos, which took Denver to the postseason and the Super Bowl for the first time; the 2012 Broncos, which boasted the league's No. 2 offense and No. 4 defense; and the 2013 Broncos, which had a record-setting offense and set the franchise record for point differential.

Below the Fold

Also on CBS Sports, Jordan Dajani projected MVPs for each team ahead of the 2022 season, and the Broncos' will come as no surprise.

"Don't overthink this one," Dajani wrote. "The Broncos have been looking for a franchise quarterback since the Peyton Manning days, and they acquired [Russell] Wilson via trade because George Paton and Co. want to win the Super Bowl. Wilson's leadership skills and attention to detail are all his new teammates can talk about. Nathaniel Hackett is installing his offense around the veteran, and he's been charged with unlocking this young yet talented wide receiving corps. If the Broncos thrive, it's because of Wilson."

The Unclassifieds

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