The 1998 Denver Broncos: The Best Team Everyone's Forgotten

Joseph VaccarelliContributor IMay 8, 2009

17 Jan 1999:  Terrell Davis #30 of the Denver Broncos carries the ball during the AFC Championship Game against the  New York Jets at Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Jets 23-10. Mandatory Credit: Tom Hauck  /Allsport

My favorite team of all time is one that is generally forgotten on the list of all-time great teams: The 1998 Denver Broncos.

They had it all, starting with the NFL MVP in Terrell Davis, who had one of the greatest seasons of all time for a running back, rushing for 2,008 yards.

Not to mention All-Pro and future Hall of Famer John Elway in his final season.

But this was not just a two-man show.

The '98 Broncos sported the best offensive line in football, two All-Pro wide receivers in Ed McCaffrey and Rod Smith, and probably the best receiving tight end of his era in Shannon Sharpe.

They also had a stout defense led by Trevor Pryce and Neil Smith on the defensive line, and Ray Crockett, Darien Gordon, and Steve Atwater in the secondary.

The special team was also special, with Darien Gordon, a big-time threat on the punt return, and Jason Elam, the best kicker in the league, who tied a record with a 63-yard field goal against Jacksonville that season.

The Broncos went 14-2 in the regular season, but most people forget started they started 13-0, including four games without Elway, before a couple of tough loses to New York and Miami.

Sure, the Minnesota Vikings went 15-1 that year, but they lost on the road to Tampa Bay and couldn't beat the upstart Atlanta Falcons at home in the NFC Championship game after holding a 10-point lead late in the game.

Denver may not have been as good as the Steel Curtain of the '70s, which won four Super Bowls in six years, or the Patriots of this decade, who won three out of four Super Bowls of their own.

But, the Broncos should definitely be ranked ahead of flash-in-the-pans such as the one-dimensional '85 Bears. At least the Broncos were able to win back-to-back Super Bowls.

So why is this team overlooked?

Maybe because Denver is an isolated city and no one in the national media notices us until we do something really special, and then forgets us as soon as it's over. We don't get the constant saturation that cities such as Boston, New York, and Chicago do.

The lack of Broncos in the Hall of Fame is proof of this. Almost 50 years of football and we have two Hall of Famers: John Elway and Gary Zimmerman. That's it.

And Zimmerman played half his career in Minnesota.

Terrell Davis? Not in, and he probably won't get in, despite rushing for almost 3,000 more yards than Bears Hall of Famer Gayle Sayers in essentially the same number of seasons. Both were also often injured late in their careers.

So how is it that TD gets ignored?

Denver's just that forgotten city in the middle of the U.S. The Broncos would probably have to win three Super Bowls in a row to get noticed.

If the '98 Broncos played in New York, they'd probably be hailed as the greatest team of all time, but we here in Denver will just have to settle for us knowing what no one else does.