With little in the way of sports content on television these days, sports fans around the globe soaked up ESPN's excellent 10-part documentary, The Last Dance.
For those who are into watching documentaries of any sort, there is often nothing better than one done really well. The Last Dance, dedicated to the Chicago Bulls of the Michael Jordan era, was exactly that.
For fans of the Denver Broncos, a good documentary right now dedicated to a player (or important figure) from the team's history would be a welcome sight on the television.
The Broncos have one of the most storied histories of any team in the NFL. As such, there are many candidates to receive a documentary on their careers. There are a few guys who have already had a documentary dedicated to them.
NFL Network's show, A Football Life has profiled both Terrell Davis and Lyle Alzado. John Elway and his path to the Broncos in the 1983 NFL draft was showcased in the ESPN: 30 for 30 special titled Elway to Marino.
Elway and Peyton Manning are both obvious choices for future documentaries. But they may also appeal to only hardcore fans of the team and the league. Because there will almost certainly be multiple stories on each of the legendary quarterbacks at some point in time, they were omitted from this list.
To appeal to a casual fan, a good documentary would need to include some sort of controversy, tragedy or groundbreaking event.
You'll likely be surprised, and hopefully learn something new, regarding the names on this list.
Pat Bowlen, a player's owner if there ever was one
Okay, so a documentary dedicated to Pat Bowlen would likely only appeal to hardcore fans, but it's a must. He truly was one of the best owners ever in sports.
Affectionately known throughout the organization as "Mr. B", Bowlen became the team's principal owner in 1984. He developed the organization into one that was known for a standard of winning and had as many Super Bowl appearances as he did losing seasons during his career.
But what set Bowlen apart from most owners was what he did to help grow the game of football and grow the National Football League. He was an instrumental piece in many of the league's television deals and development of new stadiums.
Those were some of the things that helped Bowlen be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2019, though that was, unfortunately, a posthumous induction.
Bowlen sadly passed away earlier that summer at the age of 75. To Broncos fans, he was a Hall of Famer long before his induction and should have gone in much sooner, when he could have been there to enjoy it.
During the time he owned the Broncos, Bowlen helped the team reach seven Super Bowls, winning three of them.
He became the first owner to win 300 games in their first 30 years and if you're into statistics, here's one that is undeniable. During the time he owned the team, only three franchises in all of professional sports had a better overall winning percentage than the Broncos. Those would be the New England Patriots, Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs.
Not a bad group to be associated with.
Many fans may not even recognize this name, but Darren Drozdov, who would later join World Wrestling Entertainment under the name Droz, was a member of the Broncos.
An undrafted defensive tackle out of Maryland in 1993, Drozdov is most remembered for a game on Monday Night Football where he actually vomited right on the ball before the center was able to snap it.
After his football career fizzled out, Drozdov made a career change, opting for the bright lights of professional wrestling. He debuted with WWE in 1998 and his ability to vomit on command was actually made a part of his on-screen character.
You can find video here of Drozdov meeting with WWE Chairman Vince McMahon to show off his "special ability".
But after a short in-ring career with the biggest wrestling company in the world, Drozdov's life changed forever.
In October 1999, Drozdov competed at a show at the Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, New York. He was wrestling D'Lo Brown that night and a maneuver that the two men tried to pull off went awry and Drozdov was dropped on his head.
Drozdov fractured two vertebrae in his neck and was left a quadriplegic. He has since gained minimal movement in his upper body and arms.
The incident remains one of the biggest in-ring tragedies in WWE history and footage of the match has never been made public.
Darrent Williams was shot to death at 24 years old
Darrent Williams was a promising young cornerback not just for the Broncos, but he was a player that seemed sure to become a big name in the league.
A second-round pick out of Oklahoma State in 2005, Williams had six interceptions in his first two seasons and returned two of those for touchdowns. Working alongside Champ Bailey, he had everything set up to become one of the league's next great corners.
But that would never happen.
Following the season finale in 2006, which also happened to be on New Year's Eve, Williams and several members of the team were hanging out at a nightclub in downtown Denver where a birthday party for Denver Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin was actually taking place.
An altercation took place inside the club and in the end, Williams ended up being shot inside a limousine as his group was trying to leave the party. He died almost instantly.
Reports have always indicated that Williams was not involved in the altercation and the bullets that ended up leading to his death were possibly meant for someone else. A man by the name of Willie D. Clark was eventually convicted of the murder and sentenced to life in prison.
In 2008, the Darrent Williams Memorial Teen Center was opened in Denver.
A documentary on this story could shed more light on this sad story, as news reports since the incident have been scarce. In addition, it would be great for fans to be able to either relive or learn about the great player and individual Williams was becoming.
Marlin Briscoe was a historical first
Who was the first black starting quarterback in American professional football? The answer is Marlin Briscoe, who started for the Broncos in the 1968 season when the team was part of the AFL.
Briscoe only spent one season in Denver and was not the starting quarterback when the season started. The starter, Steve Tensi, went down with injury and the head coach at the time, Lou Saban, was not comfortable putting the backup, Joe DeVito in. Briscoe was given the chance.
On October 6, 1968, he made his first career start and held the job the rest of that season. He threw 14 touchdowns that season, including four in one game. Both of those are rookie records for the team to this day.
Following that season, he was released when it was clear the Broncos intended to go in a different direction at quarterback. He landed with the Buffalo Bills and played wide receiver for them, a position he was also very good at.
He made the Pro Bowl and was an All-Pro in 1970. Prior to the start of the 1972 season, the Bills traded him to the Miami Dolphins and he ended up being a member of the NFL's first — and still only — undefeated team.
Though Briscoe didn't do for professional sports what a guy like Jackie Robinson did, but his career should be fondly remembered as one that inspired young athletes to follow through the door that he opened.
But his story is largely forgotten as it happened so long ago. A potential documentary could also touch on Briscoe's severe post-career drug addiction, one he overcame before becoming the director of the Boys and Girls Club in Long Beach, California.
It's a story that football fans should be able to become much more familiar with at some point, as a biopic titled The Magician has been in development for about four years now.
How would these documentaries fare?
While none of these potential documentaries could be a 10-part series on the scale of The Last Dance, they would all be entertaining, interesting shows that Broncos fans would love.
All four of these great men could be featured on a future 30 for 30 or A Football Life.
All of these stories have been told on a smaller scale either through local news stories or articles similar to this. But all of these stories should be told to a larger audience. Not only would these stories be intriguing to those that may not be totally familiar with them, but each of these men greatly deserves it.