The Denver Broncos, who play at Empower Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado, had their beginnings in the AFL in 1959. The team would not fare well in the league and never had a winning season. The closest they came was a .500 season in 1962. Things were so bad that the team nearly went under, but it was purchased by two contractors, who wanted to keep the team in Denver.
In 1972 ownership knew they had to do something to get the team on the right foot, so John Ralston was brought in as head coach. He did well, guiding the team to winning seasons in ’74, ’75, and ’76.
However, he could not get them to the playoffs and players were vocal about how unhappy they were with his coaching style. He was relieved from his position and Red Miller would replace him and implement the Orange Crush Defense. The team remained competitive, making the playoffs the following two years. In 1981 the team was sold to Edgar Kaiser Jr.
With new ownership, as is often the case, comes a new head coach and Dan Reeves became the youngest head coach in league history. They also traded for John Elway, who was considering a career in baseball. The rest as they say is history. The team of Reeves and Elway would go to the post-season six times, with divisional titles, conference championships, and three Super Bowl appearances. Although the pairing seemed to work well together, not all is as it seems. Reeves was often at odds with Elway and he had difficulty in dealing with other members of the coaching staff. At the end of the 1992 season ownership had enough and Reeves was fired. Wade Phillips was promoted to the head coach position. Phillips took the team to the playoffs in 1993, but the following year he seemed to lose control over the team and was told to pack his bags.
In 1995, former offensive coordinator Mike Shanahan was brought in to coach the team and they drafted rookie Terrell Davis. The team would be back in the playoffs that season with back-to-back Super Bowl victories the following two seasons. Things would continue going well until midway through the 2006 season when a decline began, and Shanahan seemed unable to stop it. At the end of the 2008 season, following an embarrassing loss to the San Diego Chargers, The Shanahan era came to an end.
Ownership thought Josh McDaniels could be their answer, and at first, it seems he was but a mid-season decline followed by the videotaping scandal meant he was out with four games remaining in the 2010 season. The team turned to John Fox. They once again became a common sight in the playoffs. In 2014, with their No Fly Zone defense the team went 12-4 and went back to the divisional round of the playoffs.
At the end of the season, the Broncos and Fox had a friendly parting of ways and Gary Kubiak was hired. Kubiak immediately took the team to another Super Bowl victory. In 2016, legendary quarterback Peyton Manning announced his retirement. This was a major blow to the team. The following year Kubiak announced his retirement and Vance Johnson was promoted to head coach. Aside from standout Phillip Lindsay, the team just couldn’t get it together and Johnson was let go at the end of 2018.
Under new coach Vic Fangio the team was making strides and showing real improvement, but the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted that process. In June of 2022, The Walton-Penner family bought the team, and Nathaniel Hackett became the new head coach. With new ownership and a new no-nonsense coach, the 2023 season looks bright for the Denver Broncos. As they take on division rival Kansas City Chiefs and continue their 46-year-old rivalry with the Raiders, will they add to their impressive list of 22 playoff appearances, 15 division championships, eight conference championships, and three Super Bowl victories? It is far from out of the question!
We will soon see, and you can watch it with us for free in HD on NFL Webcast!
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