Ultimate Standings: Broncos' winning legacy holds in rankings

AP Photo/Joe Mahoney

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Denver Broncos

Overall: 20
Title track: 29
Ownership: 25
Coaching: T57
Players: 47
Fan relations: 60
Affordability: 77
Stadium experience: 59
Bang for the buck: 5
Change from last year: -3

Denver's legacy of winning continues in this year's Ultimate Standings and, once more, on the field. Since 1984, after all, no team in the NFL has had fewer losing seasons than the Broncos (five). How much longer they can maintain that reputation is the question.

What's good

The Broncos have sold out every home game since 1970, in part due to the team's reasonable ticket prices, which, on average, cost $87.96 a head. That puts Denver in the middle of the NFL in terms of affordability, but -- considering those many, many wins and home playoff games -- fifth overall in bang for the buck. The Broncos are the only team in the NFL to have won at least 90 games in each of the past three decades. "Our mandate from [team owner] Pat Bowlen has always been and continues to be to do everything at the highest level possible," team CEO Joe Ellis has said. "To be the best at everything we do." Fans see this in how willing ownership has been to pay for talent; the Broncos rated the highest in the NFL in terms of paying top dollar for big W's.

What's bad

The price of that success? Well, the price (77th in affordability). The Broncos' tickets are just below the NFL average, but higher-than-normal concessions, parking and merchandise edge the average cost per game to above the league norm, almost $120 per person. The NFL's in-house surveying ranks the Broncos among the best in the league for fan experience, but Ultimate Standings disagrees, putting the Broncos 13th in the NFL (59th overall) in stadium experience -- despite $32 million worth of upgrades in their stadium before the 2013 season.

What's new

Coaching and roster changes pushed Denver down 14 spots in the coaching category and three spots overall in the Ultimate Standings. The roster turnover, which saw defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, tight end Julius Thomas, guard Orlando Franklin and safety Rahim Moore leave in free agency, also dropped the Broncos 20 spots in our players ranking. (Peyton Manning, though still beloved, is 39 years old and showing it.) Since Pat Bowlen stepped aside last year, the team is still operating with the Bowlen Family Trust as the ownership entity -- Ellis runs the team for the family trust, and runs it well, if the ownership ranking of 25 is any guide. There are some uncertainties ahead, but the one constant is that the team's fans always expect to be in the playoff hunt.

Next: Carolina Panthers | Full rankings