Raise your hands Bronco fans if you’re ready for our offseason to come to an end! After the Patriot loss, I was ready for a break and thought I would be able to handle the transition into the offseason, but I now realize that is not the case. Even though last week’s conference championships were very entertaining, I would gladly take a Sunday with Bronco football any day!
The further a team advances in the playoffs, the harder it is to accept the fact that life as we knew it, for the last three or four months, has changed. Depending on how your teams’ season ends, it will definitely impact your feelings as you start the, sometimes difficult, transition into the offseason. Ask 49er fans or Raven fans how they felt one week ago compared to how Bronco fans felt the night we watched the Patriots annihilate our team – in the first half alone!
In order to try to help live through the transition into the offseason, I will tune into this evening’s pro bowl and keep an eye out for the Bronco players to see how they contribute to the AFC team – both on the field and on Twitter. Another thing that seems to help is to randomly search YouTube for Denver Bronco related videos. The last couple of days, I have done that and listed some of the great plays from the Broncos history below. I have added a brief synopsis of the play or situation, as well as, a link to each video. The plays were numbered by the individual who uploaded them, so you may or may not agree with the ranking. I have listed them below in chronologically order. The order doesn’t really matter because after this season, the list definitely needs to be revised. Enjoy!
The draft is coming, so I will start to look at impact players at the college level. I am anxiously waiting for the release of next year’s schedule, and I plan to revisit some of the amazing games we experienced this season.
October 16, 1977: The Grand Old Man Scores a Touchdown – Leading 14-7 in the second quarter, the Broncos lined up for a 25-yard field goal that would extend their lead to ten against the Oakland Raiders. Rather than placing the ball down for a relatively easy field goal, Broncos holder Norris Weese connected with none other than kicker Jim Turner, who rolled to the left, caught the pass from Weese and walked into the endzone untouched. Turner then added the extra point, giving the Broncos a two-touchdown lead.
December 24, 1977: Craig Morton to Jack Dolbin in 1977 Divisional Playoffs – Leading the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-21 in the fourth quarter of the divisional playoffs, Morton hits Dolbin for a 34-yard touchdown, securing the Broncos first ever playoff victory and sending the Broncos to the AFC Championship.
January 1, 1978: Craig Morton to Haven Moses touchdown – Morton completes a 74-yard touchdown pass to Haven Moses against the Oakland Raiders in the AFC Championship as the Broncos capture their first conference title.
October 5, 1980: Touchdown in Cleveland – Initially, it appears Randy Gradishar returns a Brian Sipe fumble 95-yards for a Bronco touchdown but after watching the replay, Sipe’s pass is batted down by Gradishar and kept off the ground by Tom Jackson. Gradishar snags the ball and races 95-yards the opposite direction for a touchdown.
November 8, 1981: Dennis Smith Forces Fumble in OT – Against the Cleveland Browns in 1981, Dennis Smith crushes Calvin Hill forcing a fumble that was also recovered by Smith. The Broncos drive into field goal range and ultimately win the game 23-20 on a 30-yard field goal by Fred Steinfort
November 17, 1985: Louis Wright Returns Blocked Field goal in OT – Due to a timeout, a Dennis Smith blocked field goal that was returned for a touchdown by Louis Wright was nullified. The dynamic duo strike again in almost exact fashion when play resumes. Louis Wright picks up another blocked field goal by Smith and sprints 60-yards for the touchdown, giving the Broncos a 30-24 win.
January 11, 1987: Completing “The Drive” – John Elway completes a five yard touchdown pass to Mark Jackson, capping off a 98-yard drive that today is simply known as “The Drive”. The touchdown and ensuing extra point tied the game 20-20. Rich Karlis kicked a 33-yard field goal in overtime sending the Broncos to Super Bowl XXII.
January 31, 1988: John Elway to Ricky Nattiel in Super Bowl XXII – The Broncos strike quickly in Super Bowl XXII to take a 7-0 lead against the Washington Redskins on a 56-yard touchdown pass from Elway to Nattiel. Unfortunately, that was the lone highlight of the day for the Broncos.
January 28, 1998: John Elway sacrifices his body – Facing a third and sixth at the Green Bay Packer 12-yard line, John Elway scrambles to the right, glances for the first down marker and then dives in an attempt to get a first down. Elway was hit by two Packers causing his body to twist around. The play, which seemed to energize the team, is simply known today as “The Helicopter”. The Broncos went on to win their first NFL Championship, 31-24.
January 31, 1999: Going for the jugular in Super Bowl XXXIII – Following a missed field goal by the Atlanta Falcons, John Elway hits Rod Smith in stride for an 80-yard touchdown pass, which puts the Broncos up 17-3. The Broncos never look back, going on to win their second consecutive championship by a score of 34-19.
January 14, 2006: Champ Bailey’s 100 yard return – In the divisional playoffs, a New England drive was brought to an abrupt halt when Champ Bailey picks off a Brady pass and returns it 100 yards to the New England one yard line. The Broncos went on to win the game 27-13, handing Tom Brady his first career playoff loss.
September 13, 2009: The Immaculate Deflection – The 2009 season opened against the Cincinnati Bengals and saw the Broncos escape with a 12-7 victory thanks to the immaculate deflection. Trailing the Bengals 7-6, Kyle Orton heaves a pass in desperation to Brandon Marshall. Brandon Stokley is in the right spot at the right time and catches the Leon Hall deflected pass and then outruns the Bengal defenders for the 87-yard score.