2011 Bronco Preseason Opponents… When It Counted

Each year as the Super Bowl game comes to an end, NFL football fans know in the back of their minds that the dreaded off-season is about to begin.  During this period of “no football,” there are milestones that occur indicating a new football season is closer.  One of these milestones occurred last week when the NFL released the 2011 preseason schedule.  Although no exact dates were given, Bronco fans now know who the Broncos will be playing in the preseason, assuming the on-going labor dispute does not disrupt the season.  These games, though not the most exciting, are valuable to the organization and definitely help the coaching staff create the foundation for a season.  Preseason opponents this year include Dallas, Buffalo, Seattle and Arizona.  Even though the final score of these games will not count toward the season’s record and probably won’t be remembered by most fans, the Broncos played these same teams in regular season games when the outcome had much more of an impact.

Dallas Cowboys:

Even though the Broncos lost Super Bowl XII 27-10 against the Cowboys, this game has to be remembered – it is one of the major events that launched the Broncos and their die-hard fan support.    Fast forward twenty years to 1998 and visualize Terrell Davis’s two touchdown runs of 63 and 59 yards in the first quarter alone.  The Broncos went on to easily win this game against the Cowboys 42-23.  Many of us will remember Thanksgiving in 2005 when the Broncos visited Dallas and Ron Dayne rushed for 55 yards on the second play of overtime, setting up Jason Elam’s 24 yard field goal, which gave the Broncos a 24-21 victory.

Buffalo Bills:

Another AFC Championship was at stake in 1992 when the Broncos visited Buffalo.  After a long, defensive battle, and a late touchdown drive by backup quarterback Gary Kubiak, the Broncos lost 10-7, ending the hopes of another Super Bowl appearance.  Five years later, the Broncos made another trip to Buffalo.  Although they were delayed leaving Denver due to a huge winter storm, the Broncos overcame this obstacle and were victorious 23-20.  A highlight of this game was Keith Traylor’s interception that was returned 62 yards for a touchdown.

Seattle Seahawks:

Prior to the Seahawks moving to the NFC West, this team battled the Broncos twice a year.  If you review John Elway’s stats, you’ll find most of his touchdown passes came against the Seahawks (44).  One of the most memorable plays occurred when the Broncos were at midfield, Elway dropped back to pass, avoided the Seattle rush and then hit Shannon Sharpe in stride for an exciting touchdown pass.

Arizona Cardinals:

Fifty-six thousand people, many of them Bronco fans including myself, attended the Saturday, December 16, 1989 Phoenix Cardinals game, now the Arizona Cardinals.  Bronco fans watched as the Broncos easily went onto win this game 37-0.  This game became little more than a warm-up for the Broncos as they went on to represent the AFC in Super Bowl XXIV.

In a couple of weeks the NFL will release the 2011 regular season schedule.  Which of these games will provide some of the more memorable moments in Broncos history?    

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