Denver Broncos

Tue, 16 Sep 2008 21:44

The history of the Denver Broncos

About the NFL team Denver Broncos.

The Denver Broncos is an American football team that was established in 1960. The Broncos began playing as an American Football League (AFL) charter team. From 1960 to 1969, the team was a member of the Western Division. When the American Football League and the National Football League (NFL) merged, the Denver Broncos became an official team of the NFL. The team is part of the American Football Conference (AFC) West Division. Throughout the years, the Denver Broncos have become an increasingly popular team. Today, there are Denver Bronco fans all over the US and the world.

The birth of the franchise

Bob Howsam was a minor league baseball franchise owner who wanted to bring an NFL franchise to the city of Denver. The then-owner of the Chicago Bears, George Halas, denied Howsam an NFL expansion team of the franchise. Upon being rejected, Howsam, together with four partners, decided to establish an American football league that would rival the NFL. The American Football League was born and Howsam was rewarded with the franchise team, the Denver Broncos. The team's nickname came as a result of a fan contest that was held in 1960.

The Broncos in the AFL

The Denver Broncos were one of the first teams to compete in the AFL. The franchise had a rough time in the AFL. Out of all of the original AFL teams, the Denver Broncos had the worst record. With 39 wins, 97 losses, and 4 ties in the AFL, the Broncos were viewed as an underdog team. Being an underdog team, they were able to surprise spectators on a few occasions. When the team won against an NFL team (the Detroit Lions) in a preseason game in 1967, they made league history. The Denver Broncos were the first AFL team to defeat an NFL team in a preseason game.

There are a number of notable figures in the AFL history of the team. Head Coach Frank Filchock was the team's first head coach. It was Filchock who would lead the Broncos to their first ever franchise win. This game was played against the Boston Patriots and it was the first AFL game. Two years later, Jack Faulkner replaced Filchock. Under Faulkner's coaching, the team would have their best record in the AFL, at seven wins and seven losses. Throughout the next five years, there would be a number of changes in the team's lineup and staff. The franchise hired Lou Saban in 1967. As head coach of the Buffalo Bills, a two-time defending AFL champion, Saban was expected to bring the team success. During Saban's five-year stay with the team, the Broncos consistently placed fourth in the league, but never had any significant success.

Early years in the NFL

The Denver Broncos became an official NFL team in 1970, when the AFL and NFL merged to form one league. Ever since the team's inception to this major league, the Broncos have continued a home sell-out streak that goes on until today. Aside from games where replacement players would play, every home game of the Broncos has been sold out since 1970. John Ralston took over the reigns from Saban as Head Coach of the Denver Broncos in 1973. Ralston would lead the team to their first winning season, with a record of 7-5-2.

In 1978, Red Miller coached the team to their first playoff appearance. The team's Orange Crush Defense and quarterback Craig Morton would help the team to get through to the playoffs and to their first Super Bowl. Although the Broncos were defeated 27-10 by the Dallas Cowboys, the team showed promise. It was this exceptional performance that ended the team's losing woes. Since their first Super Bowl appearance, the Denver Broncos have proven to be a consistent and rather successful franchise.

Elway '80s and the bucking Broncos

John Elway is a prominent figure in NFL history. Elway is the quarterback who took the Denver Broncos upon his shoulders and carried the team to success throughout the '80s and '90s. When Elway was first drafted into the league, he was drafted by the Baltimore Colts. The quarterback then stated that he would enter into Major League Baseball (as he was also drafted by the New York Yankees) if he was not traded to one of the three teams that he wanted to play for. One of these teams was the Denver Broncos. Elway was traded to the Broncos where he played for sixteen seasons before retiring in 1998. The team had changed their starting quarterback 23times in the 23 seasons before Elway arrived.

Along with head coach Dan Reeves, who was hired in 1981, Elway would lead the team to win 3 AFC championships throughout the '80s. Although the Broncos would reach the Super Bowl three times in the 1980s, they lost all of the matches by at least three touchdowns. In Super Bowl XXIV, when the Broncos faced the San Francisco 49ers, the team would lose in what was to be recorded as the most lopsided Super Bowl in the history of the NFL.

Elway-Shanahan era

The 1990s would turn out to be the franchise's most successful decade. After a season of eight wins and eight losses in 1992, Reeves was replaced by Wade Phillips. Two years later, the franchise would change their head coach again. This time, former Bronco quarterback coach, Mick Shanahan,would become the head coach of the team. This led to an era that would bode well for the franchise, the Elway-Shanahan era.

1996 marked Shanahan's second season with the Broncos. This year, the team would make the Super Bowl once again, following a 13-3 season record. The Denver Broncos, considered as the wild card team, was defeated by the Jacksonville Jaguars, 30-27. In the following year, the Broncos would post another successful record of 12-4, gaining the team another wild card spot in the playoffs. It was during this year that the Denver Broncos would experience their first Super Bowl win in Super Bowl XXXII. The game was won against the Green Bay Packers, 31-24. The Broncos would continue their success in the next season by compiling a winning streak of thirteen games. Finishing the season with a record of 14-2, the team entered into the Super Bowl once again. The Broncos played against the Atlanta Falcons and their former head coach Dan Reeves. With a 34-19 win, the Denver Broncos would defend their title and win their second Super Bowl game. Elway gained Super Bowl MVP honors and retired from playing professional football. Later on, John Elway became a member of the NFL Hall of Fame.

The Broncos after John Elway

Since John Elway's retirement in 1998, the Denver Broncos continued to do well in the NFL. They have gone on to become division champions in 2005, and they have only had one losing season since 1998. The team has gone to the playoffs three times as a wild card, but they have only won one playoff game since Elway retired. Still, the team and franchise continues to mature through the years and, with the support of its strong fan base, the Broncos are likely to be around for years to come.