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On This Day in Broncos History: December 28

A Bitter Day for the Broncos

Dustin Bradford

December 28, 1985 - This was a Wild Card round game day. It was a very frustrating day for the Broncos and their fans. Denver had started the 1985 season by going 2-2. The Broncos then won six of their next seven games (including two overtime wins) to reach 8-3. A third overtime game ended in a loss but was followed by a win to move Denver to 9-4. Denver's fourth overtime game of the season also ended in a loss but the Broncos won their final two games to end the season at 11-5-0 and in 2nd place in the AFC West (one game behind the 12-4-0 Los Angeles Raiders).

There were two things which made this day especially bitter. First, Denver had ended in a 3-way tie with the New York Jets and the New England Patriots, all with 11-5-0 records. Denver lost the tiebreaker with the Jets due to conference record (9-3 for NY versus 8-4 for Denver and New England). The Broncos lost the subsequent tiebreaker with the Patriots based on record versus common opponents (NE 4-2, Den 3-3). The second, and most bitter blow was having to watch the 8-8 Cleveland Browns get to play in the postseason due to the Browns having won their division.