The Denver Broncos are a professional American football team affiliated with the NFL. Located in the AFC West, the team originally started playing in 1960 as charter members of the AFL. They have reached the Super Bowl six times, winning it in 1997 and 1998.
The Broncos play home games at INVESCO Field at Mile High. Prior to that, the team played at Mile High Stadium from 1960 to 2000. Many believe that the stadium�s high altitude gives the Broncos a home field advantage, as they have the best home record in football over the last 32 years.
Broncos: The Early Years
In 1967, the Broncos became the first AFL team to defeat an NFL team. In a preseason game, they defeated the Detroit Lions by a score of 13-7.
But the early days were not easy for the team, as it took them 13 years to turn in a winning season. During the 10-year history of the AFL, the Broncos were the only team not to play in the title game. In 1965, the team even came close to losing their franchise.
A Team of Firsts
The Broncos set a number of milestones in the league. They were the first team to have a receiver with 100 receptions. They were also the first professional team to have an African-American kicker and quarterback (Gene Mingo and Marlin Briscoe, respectively).
The team made their first playoff appearance in 1977 under rookie coach Red Miller. Led by quarterback Craig Morton, Ricky Upchurch and the Orange Crush Defense, the Broncos made it all the way to Super Bowl XII. Unfortunately, they were defeated 27-10 by the Dallas Cowboys. They would also make the playoffs in 1978 and 1979.
In 1983, the team traded for quarterback John Elway after he refused to play for the team which drafted him (Baltimore Colts). Elway would be the team�s 25th starting quarterback in 24 seasons.
Under coach Dan Reeves, the Denver Broncos� football team would advance to the Super Bowl in 1986, 1987 and 1989. They would lose all three games (XXI to the Giants, XXII to the Redskins and XXIV to the 49ers).
Their 1986 season was famous for �The Drive.� This occurred in the AFC Championship against the Browns, when Elway drove the team 98 yards for a game-tying touchdown. The Broncos would then win the game in overtime.
Super Bowl Bound
1995 saw the debut of head coach Mike Shanahan and running back Terrell Davis. During the entire Shanahan era, the team has been known for its high-powered running game, featuring 1,000 yard rushers such as Davis, Olandis Gary, Mike Anderson, Clinton Portis, Tatum Bell and Reuben Droughns. In 1998, Davis rushed for over 2,000 yards in the regular season.
In 1997, Davis would also be instrumental in the Broncos� first Super Bowl win, rushing for 157 yards and three touchdowns against the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXII. During the game, Davis battled severe migraine headaches which blurred his vision.
The following year, the Broncos once again advanced to the Super Bowl, defeating the Atlanta Falcons (led by former coach Dan Reeves). Elway was awarded the MVP of Super Bowl XXXIII, and he retired at the end of the season.
Replacing a Legend
Since his retirement, the team has struggled to replace Elway. Jake Plummer, Brian Griese and Jay Cutler have all played for the team in recent years. While lacking Elway�s abilities, these quarterbacks have led the Broncos to the postseason in four of the nine seasons since his retirement (2000, 2003, 2004, 2005). In 2006 and 2007, the team failed to make the playoffs.
Current NFL Denver Broncos Stars
Current stars on the Denver Broncos� football team include:
Jay Cutler (QB)
Travis Henry (RB)
Brandon Marshall (WR)
Darrell Jackson (WR)
Brandon Stokley (WR)
Jarvis Moss (DE)
D.J. Williams (LB)
Champ Bailey (CB)
Dre Bly (CB)
Elvis Dumervil (DE)
Hall of Famers
The following Broncos� players have been included in the Pro Football Hall of Fame: John Elway (2004), Willie Brown (1984), Tony Dorsett (1988) and Gary Zimmerman (2008).
The following Denver players have had their numbers retired by the team: John Elway (7), Frank Tripucka (18) and Floyd Little (44).