The Denver Broncos were founded in 1959 as part of the America Football League. They played their first game against the Boston Patriots on September 9, 1960. Their first home game took place a few weeks later at what was then called Bears Stadium. After renovations in 1968 and before their final game of the season, the stadium was renamed Mile High. The Broncos would play their home games at Mile High for 41 years, sharing a few of those with the Colorado Rockies, Denver’s professional baseball team. Opening day drew 80,227 fans for the Rockies, a record for a single game that still stands. The Rockies now play at Coors Field which they moved to in 1995.
The Broncos opened their new stadium, originally named Invesco Field at Mile High in the 2001 season. In 2010, Sports Authority bought the naming rights to the stadium. Bucky the Bronco who stood atop Mile High for twenty five years, also made the move to the new stadium. The 27 foot tall steel and fiberglass horse was modeled after Roy Rogers’s horse, Trigger.
The Drive – In the 1986 AFC Championship game, the Denver Broncos were trailing the Cleveland Browns 13-20 late in the fourth quarter. The Broncos received the ball with 5:32 left to play in the game on their own two yard line. Keith Bishop, the Broncos offensive guard, is famously quoted as telling his team “We have them right where we want them.” John Elway went on to orchestrate a 98-yard drive that culminated with a one yard touch-down pass to Mark Johnson with 37 seconds remaining in the game. The Broncos would go on to win the game in overtime on a Rich Karlis field goal.
The Fumble – In the 1988 AFC Championship game, the Denver Broncos were holding onto a seven point lead with 6 minutes remaining. On the Browns final Drive of the game, quarterback Bernie Koser drove them down to the eight yard line with just over a minute left. Browns running back Earnest Byner took the handoff and was on his way to scoring the game-tying touchdown when he was stripped of the ball by defensive back Jeremiah Castille at the two-yard line. The Broncos went on to win the game 38-33.
Super Bowl XII took place on January 14, 1974, at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. This was the first Super Bowl appearance for the Denver Broncos and the second for their opponent the Dallas Cowboys.
The Cowboys defense controlled most of Super Bowl XII, forcing eight turnovers and only allowing 61 passing yards by the Broncos. Broncos quarterback Craig Morton was replaced by Norris Weese late in the third period which seemed to give the Broncos a spark, but the Cowboys put the game away in the fourth quarter with a 29-yard touchdown pass on a halfback option play.
The final score was 27-10 and MVP honors went to two players, defensive tackle Randy White and defensive end Harvey Martin.
Super Bowl XXI was played on January 25, 1987, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. The Super Bowl pitted the Denver Broncos versus the New York Giants. The Broncos second Super Bowl appearance was largely due the performance of John Elway, who was quickly becoming one of the premier quarterbacks in the league. The Broncos went into halftime with a 10-9 lead. In the second half, the Giants scored 26 unanswered points and a recorded a record 30 points in the second half. Phil Simms was named Super Bowl MVP. It was the first of three Super Bowl victories for the New York Giants and the second Super Bowl loss for the Denver Broncos.
Super Bowl XXII was played on January 31, 1988, at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, California. The Broncos were making their second consecutive Super Bowl appearance, this time against the Washington Redskins. This Super Bowl came at the end of a season that was shortened by a players’ strike.
The Broncos scored on their first play from scrimmage when quarterback John Elway threw a 56-yard touchdown pass to Ricky Nattiel. On Denver’s second possession they drove down to the 6-yard line and settled for a Rich Karlis field goal giving the Broncos a 10 point lead at the end of the first quarter.
Doug Williams, the first African-American quarterback to play in the Super Bowl, lead the Redskins back from the 10 point deficit to score 42 unanswered points, including 35 points in the second quarter. Williams was named the Super Bowl MVP after blowing out the Broncos 42-10.
Super Bowl XXIV was played on January 28, 1990, at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. The game was between the Denver Broncos and the San Francisco 49ers. The Denver Broncos entered the game trying to avoid becoming the second team in NFL history to lose four Super Bowls.
The game was tightly contested through the first quarter with each team putting together impressive scoring drives. Bronco’s running Back Bobby Humphrey fumbled close to midfield and turned the ball over to San Francisco. It was all downhill for Denver after that, in fact, it was the most lopsided game in Super Bowl history. San Francisco scored 55 points and their 45-point margin of victory was the largest ever. Joe Montana was named the Super Bowl MVP, his third award in his fourth Super Bowl victory.
Super Bowl XXXII was played on January 25, 1998, at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego California. The game was between the Denver Broncos and the Green Bay Packers. The Broncos entered the game trying to avoid their fifth loss in a Super Bowl, the fourth under quarterback John Elway. The Packers were looking to repeat as Super Bowl champions winning the title the previous year under quarterback Brett Favre.
The game was closely contested throughout with the Broncos taking a slim 17-14 lead at halftime. Late in the fourth quarter running back Terrell Davis scored his third rushing touchdown of the game leaving 1:45 seconds on the clock and the Broncos with a 31-24 lead. On the Packers final drive of the game, the Broncos defense held on fourth down enabling the Broncos to take the ball and run out the clock.
Terrell Davis was named Super Bowl MVP and during the post game celebration, Pat Bowlen famously held the Lombardi trophy in the air and stated “This One’s For John.”
Super Bowl XXXIII was played on January 31, 1999, at Pro Player Stadium in Miami, Florida. The defending Super Bowl champion Broncos were playing the Atlanta Falcons. John Elway threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Rod Smith to give Denver a 17-3 lead in the second quarter. The Falcons never recovered from the deficit and Denver went on to dominate the second half eventually winning the game 31-19.
At 38 years old, John Elway became the oldest player ever to be named Super Bowl MVP. Elway would go out on top as he retired before the start of the following season.XXXII
Super Bowl XLVIII was played on February 2, 2014, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. This was the first Super Bowl played outdoors in a cold-weather city since 1976. The game matched the highest scoring offense in NFL history, Denver Broncos versus the defense that allowed the fewest points in 2013, the Seattle Seahawks. On the first snap of the game, the Denver Broncos center Manny Ramirez hiked the ball over quarterback Peyton's Manning head leading to a Seahawk's safety. It set the ton for the entire game as the Broncos continued to be dominated by the Seattle Defense which caused four turnovers. The final score of the game was 43-8, the third largest deficit in Super Bowl history. Malcolm Smith, the Seattle Seahawks linebacker was named MVP.
Tim Tebow was selected by the Denver Broncos with the 25th pick in the first round of the 2010 NFL draft. The pick was arguably the most controversial pick since Tommy Maddox was drafted in 1992 during John Elway’s Prime. Tebow was brought in as the starter in the second half of the San Diego game during the fifth week of the 2011 season. Tebow replaced Kyle Orton in the game and nearly lead the Broncos back from a 16-point deficit. Head Coach John Fox officially named Tebow as the team’s starter following the game.
Tebow would go on to lead the Broncos to an 8-8 overall record including some of the most dramatic comebacks in Denver Bronco and NFL History. In Tebow’s first start against the Miami Dolphins, the Broncos came back from a 15-0 deficit in the final three minutes to win the game in overtime. Against the Kansas City Chiefs later that same season, Tebow completed just two passes in the entire game. His last completion was a 56-yard touchdown to wide receiver Eric Decker, sealing the victory for the Broncos. Four days later against the New York Jets, Tebow capped a 95-yard touchdown drive with less than six minutes to play with a 20-yard touchdown run. The Broncos won the game, 17-13. Tebow also engineered comeback victories against the San Diego Chargers and Chicago Bears in the same season.
In the AFC wild-card game, Tebow completed an 80-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas on the first play of overtime to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers and advance to the AFC Divisional Playoffs. The Denver Broncos signed Peyton Manning in the 2011 offseason and subsequently traded Tim Tebow to the New York Jets.
After the 2011 season, the Indianapolis Colts parted ways with their 14 year veteran quarterback, Peyton Manning, starting the “Manning Sweepstakes” in the Spring of 2012.
Although many teams threw their hat into the ring to land the 4 time MVP, the race really came down to three teams; The San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans and Denver Broncos.
On Tuesday, March 20, the Denver Broncos held a press conference announcing they had signed Peyton Manning to a 96 million dollar 6-year deal. Peyton Manning has stated that his relationship with former Broncos quarterback and current Broncos General Manager, John Elway, as one of the deciding factors for picking Denver.
In Manning’s first season as a Bronco, he led the team to a 12-4 record, AFC West Divisional Championship and number one seed in the playoffs.
In 2013, the 37 year old quarterback had the best statistical year of his career. He set NFL records for touchdowns, passing yards, passer rating, interception percentage, four-touchdown passing games, 400 yard passing games, attempts, completions and the list goes on. He was also named the 2013 NFL Offensive Player of the Year and won the NFL MVP award for the 5th time. Both accolades were bitter sweet as the Broncos went on to lose Super Bowl XLVII to the Seattle Seahawks the following day, giving Peyton Manning one more record, the worst record by a quarterback in the playoffs in NFL history.
John Elway quarterbacked the Denver Broncos for 16 years from 1983-1998. During his career, they played in five Super Bowls, taking home two championships. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of fame on August 8, 2004. John Elway was named Executive Vice President of Football Operations by Owner Pat Bowlen on January 5, 2011. Von Miller, the first NFL Draft pick under Elway’s direction, earned the 2011 NFL Defensive Rookie of the year award. The following summer, Elway executed arguably the highest profile signing in NFL history when Peyton Manning, the league’s only four time MVP, joined the Broncos on March 21, 2012.
2013 Record Breaking Season
2013 was a record breaking season for Denver Broncos seeing numerous individual, team and franchise records. Quarterback Peyton Manning set records for touchdown passes (55) and passing yardage (5477). The team set a new NFL record for touchdowns (76) and points scored (606) in a single season. The Broncos also had 5 players to score 10 or more touchdowns for a single team. Matt Prater kicked the longed field goal in NFL history of 64 yards.