They're an elite team NOW is all I meant, were never that last year.
Always surprises me people think the 1998 team was best. In fact, the 1997 was my favorite, and I think the best hands-down. Yes, 97 team lost 4 games and the 98 just 2, but the 97 team was better mentally, had better personnel, and its raw numbers were better than the 98 team:
1) 1997 offense led league in both yards and points
2) 1997 team had a Hall-of-Fame LT. Hello?
3) Previous year ended with a brutal loss, one of the worst playoff upsets in years. That loss, and blowout losses in 3 of the previous 10 Super Bowls pushed the conclusion that Denver would never win the big one. And the team's visual identity - always so wrapped up in orange - had given way to strange new uniforms of mostly navy blue and white.
1998 was far less of a mental challenge. Finally been there, finally done that, confidence was high all year. Tony Jones was playing great in Zimmerman's LT slot, and TD made his 2000 run. One fewer playoff games, far less talented SB opponent.