Denver Broncos

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Denver Broncos
Current season
Established 1960; 54 years ago (1960)
Play in Sports Authority Field at Mile High
Denver, Colorado
Headquartered in the Paul D. Bowlen Memorial Broncos Centre
Dove Valley, Colorado
Denver Broncos logo
League/conference affiliations

American Football League (1960–69)

  • Western Division (1961–69)

National Football League (1970–present)

Current uniform
Broncos uniforms.png
Team colors

Broncos Orange (PMS 1655C), Broncos Navy (PMS 289C),[1] White

Mascot "Thunder II" (live horse)
"Miles" (costume suit)
Owner(s) Pat Bowlen Trust[2][3]
Chairman Joe Ellis (formerly Pat Bowlen)
CEO Joe Ellis (formerly Pat Bowlen)[3]
President Joe Ellis
General manager John Elway
Head coach John Fox
Team history
  • Denver Broncos (1960–present)
Team nicknames

League championships (2)

Conference championships (7)

Division championships (14)

Playoff appearances (21)
Home fields

The Denver Broncos are a professional American football team based in Denver, Colorado. They are members of the West Division of the American Football Conference (AFC) in the National Football League (NFL). The Broncos began play in 1960 as a charter member of the American Football League (AFL) and joined the NFL as part of the merger in 1970. The Broncos are owned by the Pat Bowlen trust, and coached by John Fox. The Broncos have played at Sports Authority Field at Mile High since 2001, after previously playing at Mile High Stadium from 1960–2000.

The Broncos were barely competitive during their 10-year run in the AFL and their first seven years in the NFL, never making the playoffs. They did not have a winning season until 1973. Four years later, in 1977, they made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history and advanced to Super Bowl XII. Since 1975, the Broncos have become one of the NFL's more successful teams, having suffered only six losing records in 40 seasons.[4] They have won seven AFC Championships and two Super Bowls, and have four players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame: John Elway, Floyd Little, Gary Zimmerman, and Shannon Sharpe.

Franchise history

For more details on this topic, see History of the Denver Broncos.
Further information: List of Denver Broncos seasons

1960–69: AFL era

The Denver Broncos were founded on August 14, 1959 when minor league baseball owner Bob Howsam was awarded an American Football League charter franchise.[5] The Broncos won the first-ever AFL game over the Boston Patriots 13–10, on September 9, 1960. On August 5, 1967, they became the first ever AFL team to defeat an NFL team after beating the Detroit Lions 13–7, in a preseason game.[5] However, the Broncos were not successful in the 1960s, compiling a record of 39–97–4 in the league.[6]

Denver came close to losing its franchise in 1965, but a local ownership group took control and rebuilt the team.[7] The team's first superstar, "Franchise" Floyd Little, due to his signing in 1967 and his Pro Bowl efforts on and off the field, was instrumental in keeping the team in Denver. They were the only original AFL team never to have played in the title game, as well as the only original AFL team never to have a winning season while a member of the AFL during the upstart league's 10-year history.[8]

1970–82: "Orange Crush"

In 1972, the Broncos hired former Stanford University coach John Ralston as their head coach. In 1973, he was UPI's AFC Coach of the Year after Denver achieved its first winning season at 7–5–2. In 5 seasons with the Broncos, Ralston guided the team to winning seasons three times, the franchise's only three winning seasons up to that time. Although Ralston finished the 1976 season with a 9–5 record, the team, as was the case in Ralston’s previous winning seasons, still missed the playoffs. Following the season, several prominent players publicly voiced their discontent with Ralston, which soon led to his resignation.[9]

Red Miller, a long-time assistant coach was hired and along with the Orange Crush Defense (a nickname originating in the early '70s, also the brand of a popular orange-flavored soft drink) and aging quarterback Craig Morton, took the Broncos to what was then a record-setting 12–2 regular season record and their first playoff appearance in 1977, and ultimately first Super Bowl, where they were defeated by the Dallas Cowboys, 27–10.[10]

In 1981 Broncos owner Gerald Phipps, who had purchased the team in May 1961 from the original owner Bob Howsam, sold the team to Canadian financier Edgar Kaiser, Jr, grandson of shipbuilding industrialist Henry J. Kaiser.[11] In 1984, the team was purchased by Pat Bowlen, who placed team ownership into a family trust sometime before 2004 and remained in day-to-day control until he ceded the team to Joe Ellis in 2014.

1983–98: John Elway era

Dan Reeves became the youngest head coach in the NFL when he joined the Broncos in 1981 as Vice President and Head Coach. Quarterback John Elway, who played college football at Stanford, arrived in 1983 via a trade. Originally drafted by the Baltimore Colts as the first pick of the draft, Elway proclaimed that he would shun football in favor of baseball (he was drafted by the New York Yankees to play center field and was also a pitching prospect), unless he was traded to a selected list of other teams, which included Denver.[12] Prior to Elway, Denver had over 24 different starting quarterbacks in its 23 seasons to that point.[13]

Reeves and Elway guided the Broncos to six post-season appearances, five divisional titles, three AFC championships and three Super Bowl appearances (Super Bowl XXI, XXII and XXIV) during their 12-year span together. The Broncos lost Super Bowl XXI to the New York Giants, 39–20; Super Bowl XXII to the Washington Redskins, 42–10; and Super Bowl XXIV to the San Francisco 49ers, 55–10; the latter score remains the most lopsided scoring differential in Super Bowl history. The last year of the Reeves-Elway era were marked by feuding, due to Reeves taking on play-calling duties after ousting Elway's favorite offensive coordinator Mike Shanahan after the 1991 season, as well as Reeves drafting quarterback Tommy Maddox out of UCLA instead of going with a wide receiver to help Elway. Reeves was fired after the 1992 season and replaced by his protégé and friend Wade Phillips, who had been serving as the Broncos' defensive coordinator.[14][15][16] Phillips was fired after a mediocre 1994 season, in which management felt he lost control of the team.

In 1995, Mike Shanahan, who had formerly served under Reeves as the Broncos' offensive coordinator, returned as head coach. Shanahan drafted rookie running back Terrell Davis. In 1996, the Broncos were the top seed in the AFC with a 13–3 record, dominating most of the teams that year. The fifth-seeded Jacksonville Jaguars, however, upset the Broncos 30–27 in the divisional round of the playoffs, ending the Broncos' 1996 run.[9]

During the 1997 season, Elway and Davis helped guide the Broncos to their first Super Bowl victory, a 31–24 win over the defending champion Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXII. Although Elway completed only 13 of 22 passes, throwing one interception and no touchdowns (he did, however, have a rushing touchdown), Davis rushed for 157 yards and a Super Bowl–record 3 touchdowns to earn the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Award – this while overcoming a severe migraine that caused him blurred vision.[17] The Broncos repeated as Super Bowl champions the following season, defeating the Atlanta Falcons (led by Elway's longtime head coach Dan Reeves) in Super Bowl XXXIII, 34–19. Elway was named Super Bowl MVP, completing 18 of 29 passes for 421 yards, with an 80-yard touchdown to wide receiver Rod Smith and one interception.[16]

1999–2011: Post-Elway era

Broncos' quarterback Jay Cutler in 2007.

John Elway retired following the 1998 season, and Brian Griese started at quarterback for the next four seasons. After a 6–10 record in 1999, the Broncos recovered in 2000, earning a Wild Card playoff berth, but losing to the Baltimore Ravens. After missing the playoffs the following two seasons, former Arizona Cardinals' quarterback Jake Plummer replaced Griese in 2003, and led the Broncos to two straight 10–6 seasons, earning Wild Card playoff berths both years. However, the Broncos went on the road to face the Indianapolis Colts in back-to-back seasons and were blown out by more than 20 points in each game, allowing a combined 90 points.[9]

After losing the 2005 season opener, the Broncos won five straight games. Plummer and the Broncos clinched their first AFC West division title since 1998 on December 24, and finished with an 8–0 home record and a 13–3 overall record. The Broncos entered the playoffs for the third consecutive year with the momentum of a four-game winning streak. After a first round bye, the Broncos defeated the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, 27–13, denying New England from becoming the first NFL team ever to win three consecutive Super Bowl championships. The Broncos' playoff run came to an end next week, after losing at home to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game, 34–17. Denver turned the ball over four times and were outscored in the first half, 24–3. The Steelers went on to win Super Bowl XL.

The Broncos' defense began the first five games of the 2006 season allowing only one touchdown, an NFL record, but struggled down the season stretch. Plummer led the team to a 7–2 record, only to lose two straight and be replaced by rookie quarterback Jay Cutler. Cutler went 2–3 as a starter, and the Broncos finished with a 9–7 record, losing the tiebreaker to the Kansas City Chiefs for the final playoff spot. Cutler's first full season as a starter in 2007 became the Broncos' first losing season since 1999, with a 7–9 record.

The 2008 season ended in a 52–21 loss at the San Diego Chargers, giving the Broncos an 8–8 record and their third straight season out of the playoffs. Shanahan, the longest-tenured and most successful head coach in Broncos' franchise history, was fired on December 30, 2008, after 14 seasons.[18]

On January 11, 2009, two weeks after Shanahan was fired, the Broncos hired former New England Patriots' offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels as the team's new head coach.[19] Three months later, the team acquired quarterback Kyle Orton as part of a trade that sent Jay Cutler to the Chicago Bears.

Tim Tebow playing against the Kansas City Chiefs in January 2012.

Under McDaniels and Orton, the Broncos jumped out to a surprising 6–0 start in 2009. However, the team lost eight of their next ten games, finishing 8–8 for a second consecutive season and missing the playoffs. After the season, Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandon Marshall was traded to the Miami Dolphins, and the Broncos set a new franchise record for losses in a single season, with a 4–12 record in 2010.[20] On December 6, 2010, McDaniels was fired following a combination of the team's poor record and the fallout from a highly publicized videotaping scandal. Running back coach Eric Studesville was named interim coach for the remaining four games of the 2010 season.[21] He chose to start rookie first-round draft choice Tim Tebow at quarterback for the final three games.

John Fox Era (2011–present)

2011: First Division Title In Five Years

After the 2010 NFL season, Joe Ellis was promoted from Chief Operating Officer to team president, while John Elway was named the team's Executive Vice President of Football Operations on January 5, 2011.[22] In this capacity, Elway reported to Ellis and oversaw the position held by the General Manager (Brian Xanders) and head coach positions. On January 13, 2011, the Broncos hired former Carolina Panthers' coach John Fox as the team's 14th head coach.[23]

After a 1–4 start to the 2011 season, it was announced on October 11, 2011, that Tebow would replace Kyle Orton as the Broncos' starting quarterback. In his first start, Tebow would lead the Broncos in a come-from-behind 18–15 overtime victory over the Dolphins, after being down 15–0 with under three minutes to go in the game.[24] On November 22, 2011, Kyle Orton was waived, and after the quarterback change the Broncos went 7–4, including four consecutive game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime against the Jets in Week 11, the Chargers in Week 12, the Vikings in Week 13 and the Bears in Week 14. Despite losing their last three games of the 2011 season, the Broncos clinched their first playoff berth and division title since 2005 (the Broncos finished in a three-way tie with the Raiders and Chargers, but won tiebreakers over both teams).[25]

In the Wild Card round of the 2011–12 NFL Playoffs, the Broncos defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime 29–23. After Denver built an early lead, the Steelers managed to tie the game late in the fourth quarter. The Broncos set the NFL overtime record (regular season or playoffs) for the fastest overtime ever, winning in 11 seconds on an 80-yard touchdown pass from Tim Tebow to Demaryius Thomas, following a 20-yard touchback. This was also the first overtime win under the new rules that allow for sudden death only in touchdown or defensive point scenarios.[26] This game became known as the 3:16 Game due to the wide range of stats, including 316 passing yards by Tebow, that correlated with the verse John 3:16. The following week, the Broncos were blown out 45–10 by the Patriots in the Divisional round.[27]

2012: Peyton Manning Arrives & New Improved Offense

On March 20, 2012, the Broncos reached an agreement on a five-year, $96 million contract with former longtime Indianapolis Colts' quarterback Peyton Manning, who had come off missing the entire 2011 season following multiple neck surgeries.[28][29] This resulted in the Broncos subsequently trading incumbent quarterback Tim Tebow to the New York Jets.[30]

The Broncos got off to a 2–3 record to start the season. Then, beginning with a memorable 35–24 comeback win over the San Diego Chargers on Monday Night Football, in which the Broncos trailed 24–0 at halftime, the Broncos ran the table with an 11-game winning streak the close out the season. The Broncos finished 13–3, not only clinching a second consecutive AFC West division title, but also earning the AFC's No. 1 seed in the playoffs. However, they would lose to the eventual Super Bowl XLVII champion Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Divisional Round Game, by a double-overtime score of 38–35.

2013: Record Breaking Offense & Return to the Super Bowl

The Broncos made several off-season moves, including the signings of All-Pro wide receiver Wes Welker, linebacker Shaun Phillips and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, with notable departures including defensive end Elvis Dumervil, linebacker D. J. Williams, wide receiver Brandon Stokley and running back Willis McGahee.

Despite a tumultuous off-season, which included the six-game suspension of All-Pro linebacker Von Miller due to violations of the NFL's drug policy, as well as injuries to several key players, the Broncos achieved a 13–3 record and the AFC's No. 1 seed for a second consecutive season. The team also set numerous franchise and league records, including touchdowns and points scored, and quarterback Peyton Manning setting new NFL single-season records for passing yardage and passing touchdowns. In the playoffs, the Broncos defeated the San Diego Chargers in the Divisional round and the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship, but were soundly defeated by the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII by a score of 43–8, the Broncos' first Super Bowl berth since winning back-to-back Super Bowls in 1997 and 1998.[31]

2014: New Improved Defense

Following their disastrous Super Bowl loss to the Seattle Seahawks, the Broncos once again enter the season as favorites to reach Super Bowl XLIX. The Broncos attempted to address defensive needs through free agency, with the signings of cornerback Aqib Talib, safety T. J. Ward and defensive end DeMarcus Ware, as well as wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. The Broncos lost several key free agents, including wide receiver Eric Decker, running back Knowshon Moreno, linebackers Shaun Phillips and Wesley Woodyard, and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, as well as releasing longtime cornerback Champ Bailey. Prior to the start of the team's training camp, the Broncos announced that owner Pat Bowlen relinquished his control of the team due to his battle with Alzheimer's disease, resulting in team president Joe Ellis and general manager John Elway assuming control of the team.



The Denver Broncos have three AFC West rivals — the Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, and San Diego Chargers. All teams, along with the Broncos, were charter members of the American Football League (AFL), with each team placed in the AFL Western division. The Broncos were barely competitive during the AFL years (1960–69), going a combined 10–45–1 against their fellow AFL West rivals.

Kansas City Chiefs

Further information: Broncos–Chiefs rivalry

The Broncos have had several memorable matchups with the Chiefs, particularly during the years in which John Elway was the Broncos' starting quarterback (1983–98). The Broncos defeated the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in the divisional round of the 1997 NFL playoffs, en route to their first Super Bowl victory. The Chiefs currently hold a 56–54 series lead over the Broncos, including the aforementioned 1997 divisional playoff game.

Oakland Raiders

Further information: Broncos–Raiders rivalry

The rivalry with the Raiders was ignited in 1977, when the Broncos advanced to their first Super Bowl by defeating the Raiders in the 1977 AFC Championship. The rivalry intensified in the mid-1990s, when Mike Shanahan was hired as the Broncos' head coach in 1995. Shanahan coached the Raiders in 1988 before being fired four games into the 1989 season. The Raiders currently hold a 60–48–2 series lead over the Broncos, including 1–1 in the playoffs.

San Diego Chargers

Further information: Broncos–Chargers rivalry

Unlike their records against the Chiefs and Raiders, the Broncos currently have a winning a record against the Chargers, with a 61–49–1 series lead, including 1–0 in the playoffs. One of the most memorable games between the two teams occurred in the 2012 season, when Peyton Manning led the Broncos from a 24–0 halftime deficit to a 35–24 comeback win at San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium on Monday Night Football. The two teams met in the playoffs for the first time on January 12, 2014, at Denver's Sports Authority Field at Mile High, with the Broncos winning 24–17.

Seattle Seahawks

The Broncos had an old rivalry with the Seattle Seahawks, who were members of the AFC West from 1977–2001, prior to the Seahawks' move to the NFC West as part of the NFL's 2002 re-alignment.[32] During the 25 years in which the Seahawks resided in the AFC West, the Broncos went 32–18 against the Seahawks, including a loss at Seattle in the 1983 NFL playoffs. Since 2002, the two teams have split four interconference meetings,[33] and the two teams met in Super Bowl XLVIII on February 2, 2014, with the Seahawks winning by a score of 43–8.[34]


Aside from the aforementioned AFC West teams, the Broncos have had intra-conference rivalries over the years with the Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, and New England Patriots.

Cleveland Browns

See also: The Drive and The Fumble

The Broncos had a brief rivalry with the Browns that arose from three AFC championship matches from 1986–89. In the 1986 AFC Championship, quarterback John Elway led The Drive to secure a tie in the waning moments at Cleveland Municipal Stadium; the Broncos went on to win in 23–20 in overtime.[35] One year later, the two teams met again in the 1987 AFC Championship at Mile High Stadium. Denver took a 21–3 lead, but Browns' quarterback Bernie Kosar threw four touchdown passes to tie the game at 31–31 halfway through the 4th quarter. After a long drive, John Elway threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to running back Sammy Winder to give Denver a 38–31 lead. Cleveland advanced to Denver's 8-yard line with 1:12 left, but Broncos' safety Jeremiah Castille stripped Browns' running back Earnest Byner of the football at the 2-yard line — a play that has been called The Fumble by Browns' fans. The Broncos recovered it, gave Cleveland an intentional safety, and went on to win 38–33.[36] The two teams met yet again in the 1989 AFC Championship at Mile High Stadium, which the Broncos easily won by a score of 37–21.[37] Interestingly, the Broncos would not win the Super Bowl after any of the championship games where they beat the Browns.

Pittsburgh Steelers

See also: 3:16 Game

As of the 2011 season, the Broncos have met the Steelers in postseason play seven times, the most of any NFL team. The Broncos own a 4–3 playoff record vs. the Steelers.[38] Perhaps the most memorable postseason matchup occurred in the 1997 AFC Championship, in which the Broncos defeated the Steelers 24–21 at Three Rivers Stadium, in the 1997 AFC Championship, en route to their first Super Bowl victory. Eight years later, the Steelers returned the favor at INVESCO Field at Mile High, defeating the Broncos 34–17 in the 2005 AFC Championship, and subsequently won Super Bowl XL.[39] In the Wild Card round of the 2011 NFL playoffs, in a game dubbed the 3:16 Game, the Broncos stunned the Steelers 29–23 on the first play of overtime, when quarterback Tim Tebow connected with wide receiver Demaryius Thomas on an 80-yard game-winning touchdown pass.[40]

New England Patriots

The Broncos and Patriots met twice annually during the American Football League (AFL) years from 1960–69, and played in the first-ever AFL game on September 9, 1960.[41] Since 1995, the two teams have met frequently during the regular season, including nine consecutive seasons from 1995–2003.[42] As of the 2013 season, the two teams have met in the playoffs four times, with the Broncos owning a 3–1 record.[43] The teams' first playoff match on January 4, 1987 was John Elway's first career playoff win,[44] while the teams' second playoff match on January 14, 2006 game was the Broncos' first playoff win since Elway's retirement after the 1998 season.[45] The two teams met in the Divisional round of the 2011 playoffs, with the Patriots blowing out the Broncos by a score of 45–10.[27] The Broncos' rivalry with the Patriots later intensified when longtime Indianapolis Colts' quarterback Peyton Manning became the Broncos' starting quarterback in 2012. Manning and Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady have maintained a legendary rivalry since 2001,[46] with the two quarterbacks splitting four playoff meetings, the most recent of which was a Broncos' 26–16 win in the 2013 AFC Championship.[47]

Logos and uniforms


Denver Broncos uniform set from 1968–96. The logo was designed by Edwin Guy Taylor of Denver. A contest was held through Public Service of Denver to come up with a new logo for the team. Mr. Taylor's submission was selected late in 1967 and adopted soon after. The team briefly wore orange pants with the away jerseys between 1969–1971 and 1978–1979.

When the Broncos debuted in 1960, their original uniforms drew as much attention as their play on the field. They featured white and mustard yellow jerseys, with contrasting brown helmets, brown pants and vertically striped socks.[48] Two years later, the team unveiled a new logo featuring a bucking horse, and changed their team colors to orange, royal blue and white. The 1962 uniform, designed by Laura North-Allen, consisted of white pants, orange helmets, and either orange or white jerseys.

In 1968, the Broncos debuted a design that became known as the "Orange Crush." Their logo was redesigned so that the horse was coming out of a "D." Additionally, the helmets were changed to royal blue, with thin stripes placed onto the sleeves, and other minor modifications were added. From 1969–1971, and again from 1978–79, the team wore orange pants with their white jerseys.[49]

The Broncos wore their white jerseys at home throughout the 1971 season, as well as for 1980 home games vs. the San Diego Chargers and Dallas Cowboys, the latter in hopes to bring out the "blue jersey jinx" which has followed the Cowboys for decades (it worked, the Broncos won 41–20). The Broncos wore their white jerseys for 1983 home games vs. the Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals, but would not wear white at home again for two decades — see next section.[49][50]

In 1994, in honor of the 75th anniversary season of the NFL, the Broncos wore their 1965 throwback uniforms for two games — a Week 3 home game against the Raiders, as well a road game at the Buffalo Bills the following week.[49]


Broncos alternate logo (1997–present).
Denver Broncos primary logo (1997-present)

The Broncos radically changed their logo and uniforms in 1997, a design that the team continues to use to this day. The new logo and uniform were unveiled on February 4, 1997.[51] Navy blue replaced royal blue on the team's color scheme. The current logo is a profile of a horse's head, with an orange mane and navy blue outlines. They began wearing navy blue jerseys, replacing their longtime orange jerseys that had been the team's predominant home jersey color since 1962. This new uniform design features a new word mark, numbering font and a streak that runs up and down the sides of both the jerseys and the pants. On the navy blue jerseys, the streak is orange, with an orange collar and white numerals trimmed in orange, while on the road white jerseys, the streak is navy blue, with a thin orange accent strip on both sides, a navy collar and navy numerals trimmed in orange. When they debuted, these uniforms were vilified by the press and fans, until the Broncos won their first ever Super Bowl in the new design that same season. The navy blue jerseys served as the team's primary home jersey until the end of the 2011 season — see below.[52]

In 2002, the Broncos introduced an alternate orange jersey that is a mirror image of the aforementioned navy blue jerseys, but with orange and navy trading places. Like the road white jerseys, the white pants with the navy blue streaks running down the sides are worn with this uniform. This jersey was used only once in the 2002 and 2004 seasons, and were used twice per season from 2008–2011. Former head coach Mike Shanahan was not a big fan of the alternate orange jerseys.[53] The Broncos previously wore orange jerseys as a throwback uniform in a Thanksgiving Day game at the Dallas Cowboys in 2001.[54]

The team also introduced navy blue pants in 2003, with orange side streaks to match with the navy blue jerseys. Though they were part of the uniform change in 1997 (in fact, they were worn for a couple of 1997 preseason games) and most players wanted to wear them, the only player who vetoed wearing them was John Elway, thereby delaying their eventual introduction.[55] From 2003–2011, these pants were primarily used for select prime-time and late-season home games (excluding the 2008 season), and since 2012, are used exclusively with the now-alternate navy blue jerseys — see below.

Broncos script logo (1997–present).

On November 16, 2003, the Broncos wore their white jerseys at home for the first time since 1983, in a game vs. the San Diego Chargers. This was compensation for a uniform mix-up, after the teams' first meeting at San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium in Week 2 earlier that season, when the Chargers were the team that was supposed to declare their uniform color. The Chargers were planning to wear their white jerseys, but the visiting Broncos came to the stadium in white, and were fined $25,000 by the NFL as a result. When the two teams met at INVESCO Field at Mile High later that season (Week 11), the NFL allowed the visiting Chargers to choose their uniform color in advance, and they chose navy blue, forcing the Broncos to wear their white jerseys at home.[55]

In 2009, in honor of their 50th anniversary season as one of the eight original American Football League teams, the Broncos wore their 1960 throwback uniforms (brown helmets, mustard yellow and brown jerseys) for games against two fellow AFL rivals — a Week 5 home game vs. the New England Patriots, as well as the following week at the San Diego Chargers.[56][57]

Beginning in 2012, the orange jerseys that served as the alternate colored jerseys from 2002–2011 became the primary home jersey, while the navy blue jerseys that served as the primary home jersey from 1997–2011 switched to alternate designation. The white pants with the orange side stripes were discontinued with this uniform change, as they do not match with the orange or white jerseys, and the team only wears the navy blue pants (with the orange side stripes) to match with the now-alternate navy blue jerseys. The change was made due to overwhelming popularity with the fans, who pressured the Broncos to return to orange as the team's primary home jersey color.[52] Since the uniform change, the navy blue jerseys have been used once per season, most recently in an October 19, 2014 game vs. the San Francisco 49ers.[58]

Home field

Sports Authority Field at Mile High, when it was known as INVESCO Field at Mile High

For most of their history, the Denver Broncos played in Mile High Stadium. The AFL Broncos played at the University of Denver's Hilltop Stadium from time to time, including the first-ever victory of an AFL team over an NFL team: The Broncos beat the Detroit Lions on August 5, 1967, in a preseason game. The team has sold out every home game (including post-season games) since the AFL–NFL merger in 1970, with the exception of two replacement games during the 1987 strike (but both were sold out before the strike).

During home games, the attendance is announced to the crowd, along with the number of no-shows (the fans subsequently boo the no-shows). The fans are also known to chant "IN-COM-PLETE!" every time the visiting team throws an incomplete pass.[59] The stadium's legendary home-field advantage is regarded as one of the best in the NFL, especially during the playoffs. The Broncos had the best home record in pro football over a 32-year span from 1974–2006 (191–65–1). Mile High Stadium was one of the NFL's loudest stadiums, with steel flooring instead of concrete, which may have given the Broncos an advantage over opponents. In 2001, the team moved into INVESCO Field at Mile High, built next to the former site of the since-demolished Mile High Stadium. Sportswriter Woody Paige, along with many of Denver's fans, however, often refuse to call the new stadium by its full name, preferring to use "Mile High Stadium" because of its storied history and sentimental import. Additionally, The Denver Post had an official policy of referring to the stadium as simply "Mile High Stadium" in protest, but dropped this policy in 2004.[60]

On August 16, 2011, Colorado-based sporting goods retailer Sports Authority claimed the naming rights of Invesco Field, which became known as Sports Authority Field at Mile High.[61]

The Colorado altitude has also been attributed as part of the team's home success. The stadium displays multiple references to the stadium's location of 5,280 feet (1.000 mi) above sea level, including a prominent mural just outside the visiting team's locker room. The team training facility, Paul D. Bowlen Memorial Broncos Centre, is a state-of-the-art facility located in Dove Valley, Colorado. With 13.5 acres of property, the facility hosts three full-size fields, a complete weight and training facility, and a cafeteria.[62]

In their more than half-century of existence, the Broncos have never been shut out at home, a streak of nearly 400 games as of the 2013 season.[63]

In late 2012, the Broncos announced that the stadium will receive $30 million upgrades including a new video board in the south end zone that is planned to be three times larger than the previous display. The renovations were finished before kickoff of the 2013 season.[64]


Season-by-season records

Players of note

Current roster

Denver Broncos roster

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen


Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists

Practice squad

Rookies in italics
Roster updated December 18, 2014
Depth ChartTransactions

53 Active, 7 Inactive, 10 Practice Squad

AFC rostersNFC rosters

Retired numbers

Denver Broncos retired numbers
No. Player Position Career
7 John Elway QB 1983–99
18 Frank Tripucka QB 1960–63
44 Floyd Little RB 1967–75
Note: No. 18 was re-issued for Peyton Manning (when he signed with the Broncos in 2012) after Tripucka gave his approval.[65]

Pro Football Hall of Famers

Denver Broncos Hall of Famers
No. Name Position(s) Season(s) Inducted
24 Brown, WillieWillie Brown Cornerback 1963–66 1984
7 Elway, JohnJohn Elway Quarterback
General Manager
65 Zimmerman, GaryGary Zimmerman Offensive tackle 1993–97 2008
44 Little, FloydFloyd Little Running Back 1967–75 2010
84 Sharpe, ShannonShannon Sharpe Tight end 1990–99,

Ring of Fame

The Broncos have a Ring of Fame on the Level 5 façade of Sports Authority Field at Mile High, which honors the following:

Denver Broncos Ring of Fame
No. Name Position(s) Seasons Inducted
23 Goose Gonsoulin Safety 1960–66 1984
87 Rich Jackson Defensive end 1967–72 1984
44 Floyd Little Running back 1967–75 1984
87 Lionel Taylor Wide receiver 1960–66 1984
Gerald Phipps Owner 1961–81 1985
12 Charley Johnson Quarterback 1972–75 1986
70 Paul Smith Defensive end 1968–78 1986
18 Frank Tripucka Quarterback 1960–63 1986
36 Billy Thompson Safety 1969–81 1987
7 Craig Morton Quarterback 1977–82 1988
25 Haven Moses Wide receiver 1972–81 1988
15 Jim Turner Placekicker 1971–79 1988
53 Randy Gradishar Linebacker 1974–83 1989
57 Tom Jackson Linebacker 1973–86 1992
20 Louis Wright Cornerback 1975–86 1993
7 John Elway Quarterback 1983–98 1999
77 Karl Mecklenburg Linebacker 1983–95 2001
49 Dennis Smith Safety 1981–94 2001
65 Gary Zimmerman Offensive tackle 1993–97 2003
27 Steve Atwater Safety 1989–98 2005
30 Terrell Davis Running back 1995–2001 2007
84 Shannon Sharpe Tight end 1990–99,
80 Rod Smith Wide receiver 1994–2006 2012
66 Tom Nalen Center 1994–2007 2013
21 Gene Mingo Running back,
Return specialist
1960–64 2014
Dan Reeves Head coach 1981–92 2014
80 Rick Upchurch Wide receiver,
Return specialist
1975–83 2014

Colorado Sports Hall of Fame

Colorado Sports Ring of Fame — Denver Broncos
No. Name Position(s) Seasons
Pat Bowlen Owner 1984–2014
30 Terrell Davis Running back 1995–2001
7 John Elway Quarterback
General manager
23 Goose Gonsoulin Safety 1960–66
53 Randy Gradishar Linebacker 1976–83
87 Rich Jackson Defensive end 1967–72
57 Tom Jackson Linebacker 1973–86
44 Floyd Little Running back 1967–75
77 Karl Mecklenburg Linebacker 1983–94
Red Miller Head coach 1977–80
7 Craig Morton Quarterback 1977–82
25 Haven Moses Wide receiver 1972–81
Gerald Phipps Owner 1961–81
Dan Reeves Head coach 1981–92
Mike Shanahan Head coach 1995–2008
84 Shannon Sharpe Tight end 1990–99, 2002–03
87 Lionel Taylor Wide receiver 1960–66
36 Billy Thompson Cornerback 1969–81
18 Frank Tripucka Quarterback 1960–63
80 Rick Upchurch Wide receiver 1975–83
91 Alfred Williams Linebacker/Defensive end 1996–99
20 Louis Wright Safety 1975–86


Head coaches

Current staff

Denver Broncos staff
Front Office
Head Coaches
Offensive Coaches
Defensive Coaches
Special Teams Coaches
Strength and Conditioning

Coaching Staff
More NFL staffs

AFC East
NFC East

Radio and television

The Broncos' flagship radio station is currently KOA, 850AM, a 50,000-watt station owned by Clear Channel Communications. Dave Logan is the play-by-play announcer, with former Broncos' wide receiver Ed McCaffrey serving as the color commentator beginning in 2012, replacing Brian Griese.[66] Until 2010, preseason games not selected for airing on national television were shown on KCNC, channel 4, which is a CBS owned-and-operated station, as well as other CBS affiliates around the Rocky Mountain region. On May 26, 2011, the Broncos announced that KUSA channel 9, an NBC affiliate also known as 9NEWS in the Rocky Mountain region, will be the team's new television partner for preseason games.[67]

In 2011, the Broncos began a partnership with KJMN, 92.1 FM, a leading Spanish language radio station owned by Entravision Communications (EVC). The partnership also includes broadcasting rights for a half-hour weekly TV show on KCEC, the local Univision affiliate operated by Entravision Communications.[67]

Notable fans and in the media

  • Tim McKernan, a.k.a. Barrel Man, began wearing a barrel in 1977 after making a $10 bet with his brother, Scott, that by wearing one he could get on television. McKernan won the bet, and the barrel he had painted to look like an Orange Crush soda can became his signature costume, and resulted in him becoming one of the Broncos' most recognized fans and a popular mascot. McKernan died on December 5, 2009.[68]
  • In The Simpsons episode "You Only Move Twice," Hank Scorpio gives Homer Simpson the Denver Broncos as a thank-you gift for helping him. Homer complains that he wanted to own the Dallas Cowboys, as the Broncos team that just arrived are playing very sloppy football on his front lawn (a reference to the team losing four Super Bowl appearances, three by significant margins including Super Bowl XII against Dallas). Incidentally, the Broncos were 13–3 in the 1996 season, and won the Super Bowl the next 2 seasons. In another episode, Homer picks the Broncos to win the Super Bowl (the second of which aired on Fox, home of The Simpsons).
  • In the Mork & Mindy episode "Hold That Mork," Mork's character, played by Robin Williams, became the first male cheerleader in Broncos' history. As a member of the "Pony Express," he trotted out on the field at Mile High Stadium during an actual Broncos' game vs. the New England Patriots on November 11, 1979. The episode aired exactly two weeks later.[70]

Notes and references

  1. ^ Denver Broncos 2012 Media Guide Reference Broncos
  2. ^ Wesseling, Chris (23 July 2014). "Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen stepping back". Retrieved 23 July 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Denver Broncos' statement on owner Pat Bowlen". 23 July 2014. Retrieved 23 July 2014. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b "Team – Pro Football Hall of Fame". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved November 28, 2008. 
  6. ^ "Denver Broncos: American Football League Charter Members". Retrieved November 28, 2008. 
  7. ^ "Denver Broncos Team History". Retrieved November 28, 2008. 
  8. ^ "Denver Broncos Team Encyclopedia – Pro Football Reference". 
  9. ^ a b c "Sports E-Cyclopedia – Denver Broncos". 
  10. ^ "1977 Denver Broncos Statistics – Pro Football Reference". 
  11. ^ Paton, James. "Clock runs out for ex-Broncos owner". Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved October 2, 2008. 
  12. ^ "John Elway Timeline". The Sporting News. Retrieved November 28, 2008. 
  13. ^ 20080605052411/ "Denver Broncos". Archived from the original on 2008-06-05. Retrieved 2008-11-28. 
  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^ [2]
  16. ^ a b CNN. January 24, 1999 |url= missing title (help). 
  17. ^ "Super Bowl XXXII box score". Retrieved November 28, 2008. 
  18. ^ "Shanahan, Broncos Part Ways". Denver Broncos. December 30, 2008. Retrieved December 30, 2008. 
  19. ^ "Broncos Introduce McDaniels". Denver Broncos. January 11, 2009. Retrieved January 11, 2009. 
  20. ^ Stapleton, Arnie (January 3, 2011). "Broncos lose franchise-record 12th game as Chargers win 33–28". Fox 31 Denver. Retrieved January 3, 2011. 
  21. ^ Klis, Mike (December 6, 2010). "McDaniels fired as Broncos coach after controversy, losses pile up". The Denver Post. Retrieved December 6, 2010. 
  22. ^ Klis, Mike (January 5, 2011). "Broncos officially announce Elway hire, promote Ellis to president". The Denver Post. Retrieved January 5, 2011. 
  23. ^ Caldwell, Gray (January 13, 2011). "Fox Takes the Reins". Denver Broncos. Retrieved January 13, 2011. 
  24. ^ Klis, Mike (October 11, 2011). "Tim Tebow named Broncos' starting quarterback". The Denver Post. Retrieved October 11, 2011. 
  25. ^ Zaas, Stuart (January 5, 2012). "How the West was Won". Denver Broncos. Retrieved January 5, 2012. 
  26. ^ Legan, Kenny (January 8, 2012). "Thomas Shines in Overtime Victory". Denver Broncos. Retrieved January 8, 2012. 
  27. ^ a b Klis, Mike (January 14, 2012). "Tom Brady leads Patriots' 45–10 rout of Broncos, Tim Tebow in NFL playoffs". The Denver Post. Retrieved January 14, 2012. 
  28. ^ "Peyton Manning, Broncos OK deal". ESPN. March 20, 2012. Retrieved March 20, 2012. 
  29. ^ "How will Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos fare next season?". Los Angeles Times. March 20, 2012. Retrieved March 20, 2012. 
  30. ^ "Jets acquire Tim Tebow for draft pick". ESPN. March 22, 2012. Retrieved March 22, 2012. 
  31. ^ Klis, Mike (February 2, 2014). "Broncos, Peyton Manning struggle in Super Bowl blowout by Seahawks". The Denver Post. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  32. ^ Banks, Don (May 22, 2001). "Seattle moved to NFC in approved realignment plan". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved September 1, 2013. 
  33. ^ "Boxscore finder: Denver Broncos vs Seattle Seahawks — Pro-Football-Reference". 
  34. ^ "Seahawks vs. Broncos - 2014-02-02". Sports Illustrated. February 2, 2014. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  35. ^ Carter, Bob (July 5, 2005). "Elway led Broncos on "The Drive"". ESPN. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  36. ^ Reilly, Rick (September 21, 2011). "Byner's fumble spoils Browns shot at 1987 AFC Championship glory". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  37. ^ Heisler, Mark (January 15, 1990). "This Time, Just Call It Elway : AFC championship: Bronco quarterback is at his best in 37–21 victory over Browns as Denver earns its third trip to the Super Bowl in four seasons.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  38. ^ "Denver Broncos Playoff History – Pro Football Reference". 
  39. ^ Tavlian, Jennifer (January 22, 2006). 28995-7892-11df-ba56-acc8e62813e9 "Pittsburgh Drops Steel Curtain on Broncos' Hopes". Denver Broncos. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  40. ^ Caldwell, Gray (January 8, 2012). "Broncos Advance with Postseason Thriller". Denver Broncos. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  41. ^ "Team » Denver Broncos". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved September 3, 2012. 
  42. ^ Mason, Andrew (November 2, 2003). "Broncology: So We Meet Again". Denver Broncos. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  43. ^ "Boxscore finder: Denver Broncos vs New England Patriots – Pro-Football-Reference". 
  44. ^ Lynch, Tim (October 16, 2008). "Denver Broncos @ New England Patriots; Through The Years". Mile High Report. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  45. ^ 260114007 Broncos take advantage of turnovers, eliminate Patriots "Broncos take advantage of turnovers, eliminate Patriots". ESPN. January 14, 2006. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  46. ^ Gasper, Christopher (October 7, 2012). "Lucky to see Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning again". The Boston Globe. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  47. ^ Caldwell, Gray (January 19, 2014). "How It Happened: Super Bowl Bound". Denver Broncos. Retrieved January 19, 2014. 
  48. ^
  49. ^ a b c "White at Home in the NFL – Uni Watch". 
  50. ^ "Endzone's Denver Broncos Game-Used News & Price Guide Page". 
  51. ^ "Broncos unveil new uniform and logo". Englewood, Colorado: 4 February 1997. Archived from the original on 19 April 1997. Retrieved 26 October 2013. 
  52. ^ a b Legan, Kenny (October 3, 2011). "Orange Crush". Denver Broncos. Retrieved October 3, 2011. 
  53. ^ "Broncos' RBs turn in uneven performances". The Denver Post. August 4, 2010. Retrieved August 4, 2010. 
  54. ^ "ESC’s Denver Broncos Uniform History". 
  55. ^ a b "End Zone Sports Charities". 
  56. ^ "NFL announces 2009 AFL 'Legacy Games'". July 19, 2009. Retrieved July 19, 2009. 
  57. ^ Klis, Mike (October 10, 2009). "Even if they win, the Broncos figure to look bad in their throwback uniforms Sunday". The Denver Post. Retrieved October 10, 2009. 
  58. ^ Renck, Troy (October 19, 2014). "Peyton Manning makes history as Broncos rout 49ers". The Denver Post. Retrieved October 19, 2014. 
  59. ^ "FAQ". Denver Broncos. 
  60. ^ "Guide To Sports Authority Field At Mile High". CBS Denver. October 25, 2011. Retrieved September 2, 2013. 
  61. ^ "Broncos stadium renamed Sports Authority Field at Mile High". The Denver Post. August 16, 2011. Retrieved August 16, 2011. 
  62. ^ "Training Facility". Denver Broncos. 
  63. ^ "Denver Broncos Franchise Encyclopedia – Pro Football Reference". November 12, 2012. Retrieved November 12, 2012. 
  64. ^ Caldwell, Gray (December 21, 2012). "Broncos Announce Stadium Upgrades". Denver Broncos. Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
  65. ^ "Ex-Bronco Tripucka says Manning can wear familiar No. 18". March 20, 2012. Retrieved March 20, 2012. 
  66. ^ Jones, Lindsay (July 31, 2012). "Ed McCaffrey joins KOA Broncos broadcast team". The Denver Post. Retrieved July 31, 2012. 
  67. ^ a b "Broadcast Partners". Denver Broncos. 
  68. ^ Espinoza, Annette (December 5, 2009). "Tim McKernan, "Barrel Man" to Broncos fans, dies at 69". The Denver Post. Retrieved December 6, 2009. 
  69. ^ "Celebrity Football Fans – Celebrity NFL Fans – Football Celebrities". 
  70. ^ Jhabvala, Nicki (August 11, 2014). "Robin Williams, aka "Mork," made Broncos history as first male cheerleader". The Denver Post. Retrieved August 11, 2014. 

Further reading

  • Denver Broncos: The Complete Illustrated History (2009), by Jim Saccomano & John Elway, MBI Publishing Company, ISBN 0-7603-3476-5
  • Then Morton Said to Elway...: The Best Denver Broncos Stories Ever Told (2008), by Craig Morton & Adrian Dater, Triumph Books, ISBN 1-60078-121-7
  • Game of My Life: Denver Broncos: Memorable Stories of Broncos Football (2007), by Jim Saccomano, Sports Publishing LLC, ISBN 1-59670-091-2
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Denver Broncos: Heart-Pounding, Jaw-Dropping, and Gut-Wrenching Moments from Denver Broncos History (2007), By Adrian Dater – Triumph Books, ISBN 1-57243-975-0
  • John Elway and the Denver Broncos: Super Bowl XXXIII (2007), by Michael Sandler, Bearport Pub Company, ISBN 1-59716-536-0
  • The Denver Broncos (2006), by Mark Stewart – Norwood House Press, ISBN 1-59953-066-X
  • Denver Broncos: Colorful Tales of the Orange and Blue (2004), by Larry Zimmer, Globe Pequot Press, ISBN 0-7627-2766-7

External links