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Crafted by Wade Phillips, 1989 Denver Broncos defensive was a masterpiece despite final flaw

July 30, 2017 Updated: July 31, 2017 at 5:13 pm
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photo - Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips looks on during a preseason NFL football game between the Denver Broncos and the San Francisco 49ers, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips looks on during a preseason NFL football game between the Denver Broncos and the San Francisco 49ers, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey) 

The 2015 season wasn’t Wade Phillips' only masterpiece as a Broncos defensive coordinator.

In 1989, under Phillips direction, the Broncos led the NFL scoring defense, allowing only 226 points, and ranked third in fewest yards allowed. The Broncos held nine opponents to 14 or fewer points. In four games, all wins, in the month of November, the Broncos allowed only 44 points.

The Broncos defense was stacked with talent, with Karl Mecklenburg, Steve Atwater, Dennis Smith and Simon Fletcher in their primes.

But you will seldom, if ever,  hear a devoted Bronco fan speak with admiration about the 1989 Broncos defense, even though that defense, in many ways, soared as high as the 1977 Orange Crush and the 2015 Bronco Marauders.

Why?

The 1989 Bronco defense allowed 55 points to Joe Montana and the 49ers in the Super Bowl. The devastating loss forever shredded the legacy of a superb defense.

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