A Lombardi Trophy gets you a lot of things, but apparently respect isn’t one of them.

Outside of Denver, expectations for the Denver Broncos could not be lower — for a reigning Super Bowl champion, at least. Vegas Insider gives Denver 12/1 odds at winning Super Bowl LI, fifth highest in the league, and Football Outsiders has the Broncos finishing the season 7-9, third in the AFC West and out of the playoffs entirely.

And it’s only getting worse. Following the draft, ESPN moved the Broncos down from seventh to eighth on their Power Rankings, citing the combination of Paxton Lynch and Mark Sanchez as an insurmountable flaw.

And all of this has reached the ears of the Denver Broncos defense, who feel as if their contributions to the team’s championship are being serially underrated. Chris Harris even went so far as to call out ESPN directly.

And he’s right. He’s absolutely right. The Denver Broncos, until proven otherwise, are the best team in the NFL.

So why does everyone else feel differently? What are they seeing that we, Broncos Country, are not?

Well, they’re seeing a team that was lucky. They’re seeing a team that was good, yes, but a team that lucked into their championship, nonetheless. And they don’t feel like that’s replicable.

They’re seeing the same thing the NBA community saw in the Golden State Warriors.

Now, cross-sport comparisons are tricky, but it’s odd how well these two championship teams match up.

In both cases, you have a team that not only won in an unconventional manner, but in a manner that most believed could not produce a title.

For the Warriors, it was the fact that they were a fastbreak, jump-shooting team. Since the heyday of the Steve Nash Suns, the argument had been made that a fastbreak team could not survive in the playoffs once the game slowed down and defense reigned supreme. The Warriors, who led the league in pace last season, broke the mold.

For the Broncos, it was the fact they didn’t have a league-average quarterback, let a lone a superstar quarterback. Who cares that the defense was legendary? In football, if you don’t have one of the 10 best quarterbacks in the league, you might as well just forfeit your season in Week 1. Again, though, the Broncos broke the mold.

But did those championships change the way we think about their respective sports? Nope. We made excuses, instead. For the Warriors, it was that they never played the Spurs or that the Cavaliers didn’t have their full arsenal. For the Broncos, it was that … well, it was that it was a fluke, something that’s not repeatable or replicable.

And in the end, everyone went back to believing that half-court offenses and All-Pro quarterbacks were the only avenues towards contention.

The Warriors took that personally, and the Broncos need to too.

The Warriors, despite winning 67 games and steamrolling through the playoffs, entered the offseason with an axe to grind. They, suddenly, were underdogs once again — or, at least, that’s what they decided to tell themselves — and they used that as motivation to help lead them to the single greatest season in NBA history, an MVP performance from Steph Curry and a likely back-to-back title.

With the Broncos, they’ve already got the motivation. They’ve heard the doubt, the speculation and the questioning, and now it’s their turn to turn that into action.

The Denver Broncos defense is great. It’s historic. And there’s no reason it can’t be just as good next year, if not better. Yes, Danny Trevathan and Malik Jackson are gone, but the core of that group is still present, and there’s more talent waiting in the wings. They’re returning nine of their 11 starters, which means that the whole group is only going to be that much more comfortable in the Wade Phillips defense.

The offense is what it is. Mark Sanchez or not, it can’t be worse than it was last season. And if the defense still has to carry the weight, so be it. They’re up for the challenge.

Winning a title isn’t easy, especially when you do so against conventional wisdom. Like the Warriors, the Broncos’ second go-round will be to prove that conventional wisdom isn’t so conventional.