1999 Denver Broncos season

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1999 Denver Broncos season
Head coachMike Shanahan
General managerNeal Dahlen
OwnerPat Bowlen
Home fieldMile High Stadium
Division place5th AFC West
Playoff finishdid not qualify
Denver visits the Green Bay Packers in preseason at Camp Randall Stadium, August 23, 1999

The 1999 Denver Broncos season was the franchise's 30th season in the National Football League, and the 40th overall. After winning its second consecutive Super Bowl with a win over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII in Miami, the team suffered the retirement of Super Bowl XXXIII MVP quarterback John Elway during the off-season. Elway had spent his entire career with the Denver Broncos, and much of the focus in the weeks leading up to the season centered on the void left by Elway's departure. Head Coach Mike Shanahan announced that third-round 1998 draft pick Brian Griese, son of Miami Dolphins Quarterback Bob Griese, would take the reins of the offense, passing over veteran and credible back-up QB Bubby Brister.

In the preseason, the Broncos played in the first and so far only NFL game held in Australia. On August 7, 1999, before a crowd of 73,811 spectators at Stadium Australia in Sydney, the Broncos defeated the San Diego Chargers 20–17.[1]

Although no one expected a serious defense of their title, the Broncos would stumble out of the gate this season, losing the first four regular season games. Many of the games would be decided in the final two minutes of play, but the Broncos found themselves on the losing end at 6–10. It was their first losing season since 1994, the worst season since 1990 and the worst record of the five-team AFC West. This was the worst-ever season for a team defending their Super Bowl title in a non-strike season. Only the 1982 49ers had a lower winning percentage as they failed to defend their first Super Bowl championship.[2]

The Broncos and the Falcons combined for an 11-21 record in 1999. This is, as of 2018, the worst combined record for both defending conference and/or Super Bowl champions in the season following a Super Bowl appearance. The 11-21 mark was matched by the Bucs and Raiders four years later, one season removed from Super Bowl XXXVII.

Statistics site Football Outsiders calculates that the Broncos went from the league's 28th (third-easiest) schedule in 1998, to the hardest schedule in 1999.:[3]

Before 2011, the worst one-year increase in strength of schedule belonged to the 1999 Broncos. Denver had ridden the third-easiest schedule (in a 30-team league) to a Lombardi Trophy in 1998, only to fall apart the next season under the weight of John Elway's retirement, Terrell Davis'[s] Week 4 injury, and – oh, by the way – the toughest schedule in the league.

This was the largest single-season change in Football Outsiders' rankings until the 2011 St. Louis Rams.

Week 4 saw star running back Terrell Davis, who was last year's league MVP, hurt his knee and was placed on injured reserve for the remainder of the season.


NFL draft[edit]

1999 Denver Broncos draft
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
1 31 Al Wilson *  Linebacker Tennessee
2 58 Montae Reagor  Defensive tackle Texas Tech from San Francisco [R2 - 1]
2 61 Lennie Friedman *  Guard Duke
3 67 Chris Watson  Cornerback Eastern Illinois from Carolina [R3 - 1]
3 93 Travis McGriff  Wide receiver Florida
4 127 Olandis Gary  Running back Georgia
5 158 David Bowens  Defensive end Western Illinois from Dallas [R5 - 1]
5 167 Darwin Brown  Defensive Back Texas Tech
6 179 Desmond Clark *  Tight end Wake Forest from New Orleans via Washington [R6 - 1]
6 204 Chad Plummer  Wide Receiver Cincinnati
7 218 Billy Miller  Tight end USC from New Orleans via Washington [R7 - 1]
7 238 Justin Swift  Tight end Kansas State
      Made roster    *   Made at least one Pro Bowl during career

Draft Notes[edit]

  1. ^ No. 58: San Francisco → Denver (PD). San Francisco traded its second-round selection (58th) to Denver in exchange for offensive tackle Jamie Brown in 1998.
  1. ^ No. 67: Carolina → Denver (PD). Carolina traded its third-round selection (67th), as well as its fourth-round selection in 2000 (112th), to Denver in exchange for quarterback Jeff Lewis.
  1. ^ No. 158: Dallas → Denver (PD). Dallas traded its fifth-round selection (158th) to Denver in exchange for tight end Kendell Watkins in 1998.
  1. ^ No. 179: multiple trades:
           No. 179: New Orleans → Washington (D). see No. 5: Washington → New Orleans.
           No. 179: Washington → Denver (D). see No. 165: Denver → Washington.
  1. ^ No. 218: multiple trades:
           No. 218: New Orleans → Washington (D). see No. 5: Washington → New Orleans.
           No. 218: Washington → Denver (D). see No. 165: Denver → Washington.



1999 Denver Broncos staff
Front office

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches

Special teams coaches

Strength and conditioning


1999 Denver Broncos roster

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen


Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists

Practice squad

Rookies in italics



Week Date Opponent Result TV Attendance
1 September 13, 1999 Miami Dolphins L 38–21 ABC
2 September 19, 1999 at Kansas City Chiefs L 26–10 CBS
3 September 26, 1999 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers L 13–10 FOX
4 October 3, 1999 New York Jets L 21–13 CBS
5 October 10, 1999 at Oakland Raiders W 16–13 CBS
6 October 17, 1999 Green Bay Packers W 31–10 FOX
7 October 24, 1999 at New England Patriots L 24–23 CBS
8 October 31, 1999 Minnesota Vikings L 23–20 CBS
9 November 7, 1999 at San Diego Chargers W 33–17 CBS
10 November 14, 1999 at Seattle Seahawks L 20–17 CBS
11 November 22, 1999 Oakland Raiders W 27–21 ABC
12 Bye
13 December 5, 1999 Kansas City Chiefs L 16–10 CBS
14 December 13, 1999 at Jacksonville Jaguars L 27–24 ABC
15 December 19, 1999 Seattle Seahawks W 36–30 CBS
16 December 25, 1999 at Detroit Lions W 17–7 CBS
17 January 2, 2000 San Diego Chargers L 12–6 CBS


AFC West
(3) Seattle Seahawks 9 7 0 .563 338 298 L1
Kansas City Chiefs 9 7 0 .563 390 322 L2
San Diego Chargers 8 8 0 .500 269 316 W2
Oakland Raiders 8 8 0 .500 390 329 W1
Denver Broncos 6 10 0 .375 314 318 L1


  1. ^ Aussies Rule: During a three-day footy-fest in Sydney, the author didn't have much luck convincing two mates that the NFL game measured up to two Australian brands. by Gary Smith
  2. ^ Broncos' record worst among Super Bowl champions, Gazette, The (Colorado Springs), Jan 3, 2000 by John Branch
  3. ^ Football Outsiders Almanac 2012 (ISBN 1478201525), page 216-217
  4. ^ "1999 Denver Broncos starters and roster". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved November 20, 2014.

External links[edit]