The Denver Broncos finally dropped a game Sunday, to an always tough Baltimore Ravens team that, in this case, came into the game with three straight losses and was desperately in need of a win.
Denver remains in good shape with a 6-1 record following the loss, which was a tough defensive struggle that at halftime saw the Broncos trailing by just a 6-0 score. The ravens returned the second half kickoff for a touchdown and slowly pulled away after that.
With that loss, Denver Head Coach Josh McDaniels fell one victory short of becoming just the second or third (and we’ll explain) first year head coach to start off his coaching career with seven consecutive wins.
Potsy Clark won eight straight to begin his coaching career with the Portsmouth Spartans in 1931—the Portsmouth Spartans became the Detroit Lions in the modern National Football League.
But Potsy too had a predecessor for this title, albeit one with a couple of caveats attached to his resume.
In 1920, the absolute very first year of an organized professional football league, Barney Lepper was the head coach of the Buffalo All-Americans, who won their first eight games before finishing 9-1-1 for third place, behind the Decatur Staleys (10-1-2) and the league champion Akron Pros (8-3). But maybe Lepper was not a rookie head coach that year.
In checking with the Elias Sports Bureau, the official statistician of the NFL, they believe that Lepper might have coached some team, some place, in the ragtag world of pro football before the game became organized as the NFL.
Either way, this 6-0 start goes back a long way. Any time you are talking about a team that competed with the Muncie Flyers, Tonawanda Kardex, Columbus Panhandles and Rock Island Independents, to name just a few of the very colorfully named early teams, you are talking about the Mayflower of pro football.
Josh McDaniels hails from Canton, Ohio, as most fans know by now, so it seems very fitting that a new coach who comes from the cradle of football would have flirted with a record set as far back as the game can be traced.
By the way, the Spartans played in Portsmouth for four years before relocating to Detroit and becoming the Lions in 1934.
Meanwhile, the game goes on, and it will again for the Broncos. Denver has won six American Football Conference championships and two Super Bowls, but the Broncos have never gone undefeated. And they did not figure to this year as well.
Don’t labor about one loss.
So the message to our fans is to focus on the task at hand, which is this week’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
That’s an attitude that likely would have made Potsy proud.