Broncos join the elite 8th time Super Bowl teams
Taken alphabetically — which is the only time I would list Dallas ahead of Denver — those are the only four cities or regions in which NFL fans can say their team has gone to the Super Bowl eight times.
The Denver Broncos joined that elite company with that stirring 20-18 AFC Championship Game victory over the New England Patriots on Sunday, Jan. 24. It was a game for the ages in Denver and the television ratings bear that out on a national scale.
All together, a moment is created that Bronco fans should savor and relish, having ascended to company that once seemed beyond impossible.
I have talked to so many fans who were here back at the start, as I was, and every one of them gets it.
I was talking to a sportswriter and we shared the common memory of listening to the only sports talk show in Denver back in the 1960s, hosted by the late and brilliant Bob Martin, our radio play-by-play voice, and it seemed like every week someone would call and ask, “Bob, do you think the Broncos will ever have a winning season?”
Can you imagine that today? Think about it for a moment.
The Broncos did not have a winning season from 1960 until 1973, and did not make the playoffs in any way until that magical Super Bowl season of 1977.
It has been written many times that under Pat Bowlen, Denver has actually recorded more Super Bowl seasons than losing seasons, a statistic that actually was added to this year.
But in those first 17 years, from 1960 through 1976, a period that even included the first seven seasons of our incredible home sellout streak, Denver averaged a hideous 4.8 wins a year.
It was an awful record, multiplied for almost two decades, so that is where the Broncos have come from to where we are today.
Enjoy it, relish it, cuddle up in it like your softest blanket on the coolest night. You earned it.
And by the way, several fans have asked or texted me messages concerning the team decision to wear white, and more specifically, not to wear orange, in Super Bowl L (or “50,” as the league seems to be using for the first time since the earlier days; I guess Latin scholars are becoming fewer and fewer!).
But here are a couple of jersey notes of interest.
Most know that Denver is 0-4 in orange, with each of the games a second-half blowout, 1-1 in white, and 1-0 in blue, which is now the alternate uniform for Denver.
But how about the bigger picture?
Ten of the last 11 Super Bowl games have been won by the team wearing white.
The only exception was the Green Bay Packers, who won Super Bowl 45 (since we are using the Arabic numerals), but otherwise the game has been a whitewash for the last 11 years.
And regardless, I can assure you that back in the first 17 of the Broncos’ 56 seasons, it was virtually unimaginable that the Mile High City would be represented in this game, regardless of attire.
So here we are, and it is fantastic that Denver joins Dallas, New England and Pittsburgh as the only four teams to make eight Super Bowl appearances each.