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NFL

Denver Broncos History Timeline: Remember, Tebow Built This


On Thursday we examined the Seattle Seahawks’ team history. Today, the Denver Broncos.

1960: The Denver Broncos are part of the new eight-team American Football League, becoming the only pro football team in the Interior West between Kansas City and California. They play in Bears Stadium, an old Minor League Baseball park.

Sept. 9, 1960: The Broncos beat the Boston Patriots 13-10 in the first official AFL game. They would finish 4-9-1.

1961: Wide Receiver Lionel Taylor becomes the first player to catch 100 passes in a pro season. The Broncos finish 3-11 and coach Frank Filchock is fired in favor of Jack Faulkner.

1964: Faulkner is fired following an 0-4 start, and is replaced by Mac Speedie. The Broncos finish 2-11-1 (4-22-2 over the past two seasons).

1965: Broncos shake things up by finishing 4-10, but have sold more than 20,000 season tickets.

1966: After an 0-2 start, Speedie is replaced by Ray Malavasi. After finishing 4-10, Malavasi is replaced by Lou Saban.

1968: Marlin Briscoe becomes the first black starting quarterback in professional football (modern era). Her throws for 14 touchdowns in a 5-9 season. Also, the bucking bronco logo debuts.

1970: The AFL-NFL merger finds the Broncos in the AFC West, where they finish 5-8-1.

1971: Saban resigns, and interim coach Jerry Smith directs a 4-9-1 record.

1972: The new coach is John Ralston. The old record is 5-9.

1973: At 7-5-2, the Broncos register the first winning record in franchise history.

1974: Mile High Stadium expands to 75,000 seats. Broncos finish 7-6-1 record.

1976: RB Otis Armstrong rushes for 1,008 yards, but Ralston resigns.

1977: New coach Red Miller leads Denver to a 12-2 record, and AFC West title and their first playoff berth. The name “The Orange Crush” is born, led by Lyle Alzado and Tom Jackson. They lose Super Bowl XII to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 27-10.

1981: New coach is Dan Reeves. No playoffs though.

1982: No. 1 overall draft pick John Elway refuses to sign with the Baltimore Colts, and is acquired by Denver.

1983: Elway starts, but is later benched in favor of Steve DeBerg. By the end of the season, though, Elway gets the job back. And so DeBerg had the honor of being replaced by both Joe Montana (in San Francisco) and John Elway. He is a king maker. Denver loses Wild Card playoff game to the Seattle Seahawks, 31-7.

1984: Local businessman Pat Bowlen buys the team. They finish 13-3, but lose to Pittsburgh in the playoffs.

1986: Elway cements reputation as comeback QB by rallying Denver from a 20-13 deficit with 5:43 left, from, his own 2. Denver wins in OT. But kit loses in Super Bowl to the New York Giants, 39-20.

1987: In the NFL strike season, the Broncos again reach the Super Bowl and lose to Washington, 42-10.

1989: Another Super Bowl trip, and another loss: this one to the San Francisco 49ers, 55-10.

1992: Broncos use first-round draft pick on QB Tommy Maddox, fire OC Mike Shanahan, finish 8-8, fire Reeves. All in all, a banner year.

1993: The Wade Phillips Era begins with a 9-7 record and a Wild Card playoff loss to the LA Raiders.

1994: Phillips fired, Shanahan hired.

1995: Rookie Terrell Davis rushes for 1,117 yards.

Nov. 3, 1996: In “The Simpsons” episode “You Only Move Twice”, Homer utters the now-classic lines: “Awww! The Denver Broncos??” MARGE: “I think the Broncos are a perfectly fine team.” HOMER: “Oh Marge, you just don’t understand football.” From Wikipedia:

“… The next day, the family returns to Springfield. It is revealed that Scorpio has succeeded in his plot (known as Project Arcturus) and seized control of the East Coast. Homer, who previously confided to Scorpio his dream of owning the Dallas Cowboys, expresses disappointment when he instead discovers the Denver Broncos practicing ineptly on his front lawn as a present from his former boss.”

1997: New logo, new uniforms, and a fifth trip to the Super Bowl. This time they win, beating the Packers.

1998: A 13-0 start, and their second straight Super Bowl win, 34-19 over Dan Reeves’ Atlanta Falcons.

2001: Goodbye Mile High Stadium, welcome Invesco Field. Broncos finish 8-8 (thud!).

2002: Brian Griese, anyone? Apparently not, as following the season Denver signs Jake Plummer.

2004: Broncos lose Wild Card playoff game to Colts, 49-24, who are led by a QB named Peyton Manning.

2006: Ladies and gentlemen, QB Jay Cutler. (Smattering of applause).

2008: Shanahan fired following 8-8 campaign. (Smattering of applause).

2009: Broncos hire Josh McDaniels, 32, as head coach. They again go 8-8. (Scattered boos).

2010: Broncos draft a quarterback named Tim Tebow, and also acquire Brady Quinn. But the starter is Kyle Orton. After a 3-9 start, McDaniels is fired. Tebow eventually gets to start, and rallies the Broncos to a 24-23 win over the Houston Texans on a six-yard scramble with three minutes left. They finish 4-12.

2011: New coach: John Fox. New meme: Tebowing. After a 1-4 start, Tebow gets the call over Kyle Orton, and leads a dramatic 18-15 comeback win over the Dolphins. Two games later, a 38-24 win over the Oakland Raiders. Then a 17-10 win over the Chiefs (Tebow’s 56-yard touchdown pass to Eric Decker was the difference). Then a 17-13 win over the Jets, and a 16-13 win over the Chargers in OT. Then a 35-32 win at Minnesota. Then a 13-10 comeback win over the Bears. Denver finishes 8-8, somehow winning the AFC West. We all know what happens next: Tebow’s hand-of-God pass to Demaryius Thomas on an 80-yard, game-winning TD pass to beat Pittsburgh, 30-23, in the first round of the playoffs. The Patriots then beat the Broncos the following week, 45-10. The Broncos then sign Peyton Manning. God is furious.

2013: God, apparently forgetting the whole Tebow snub, allows another trip to the Super Bowl.


  • Dave

    Broncos lost to the Cowboys in SB XII, not the Steelers (same conference)

  • Amy Furst Musick

    ‘guess God didn’t forget after all! :P

  • Zooma

    43-8… Plus some pretty bad screwups in the game on national television… Hm… Guess God doesn’t forget. :)


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