A Bit of Denver Broncos History…

My wife and I have had season tickets to the Denver Broncos games for 40 years. Coming from Nebraska with a great tradition of football, we jumped at the chance to buy season tickets when Kathy, our next door neighbor, announced that her father was in charge of the ticket office for the Broncos. Mile High Stadium was expanding and new seats were available. She said, “how many season tickets do you want…6?…8?” Being in our 20’s without lots of disposable income, we opted for 4 tickets.  It would be fun to drive to Denver with friends for the games and our car could only handle four passengers. We have lots of memories of the team that has been so much a part of our lives.

P.S.  Our favorite middle daughter is a HUGE Broncos fan. My wife went to every single Broncos game in 1981 when she was pregnant. Our daughter was due on Super Bowl Sunday 1982 and we joked that the new baby could be named “D”troit because of the location of the Super Bowl. When she was born, we swear she came at screaming GOOOOOOOOOOOBroncos! #DenverBroncosMemories

Here are Ten Things You May Not Know About Denver Bronco History:

  1. Mile High Stadium was expanded 1975-1977 by extending the north side upper deck and building a movable set of stands along the east side. Our new tickets were in the North Stands. As we soon learned, the South Stands were known as the “rowdy” section.
  2. Even in 1976, fans had fun with the wild and the weird! The guy across the aisle from us had a rubber chicken tied around its neck with a rope and attached to a stick. Each week he dressed the chicken in the uniform of the opposing team and would wave it in the air when the visiting team would falter. In 1977 Barrel Man appeared and then became a legend. Then in the early 80’s the Leprechaun showed up and is still part of the fabric of Mile High.
  3. Our first Bronco game was in 1975, the year Bucky the Bronco was installed at Mile High Stadium. Having grown up in the 1950’s, we were thrilled to hear that Bucky was/is an exact replica of Roy Roger’s horse, Trigger, that was made for the Roy Rogers museum. For years Bucky’s twin could be found outside the Roy Rogers museum in California and then the museum was moved to Branson, Missouri. When the museum closed, all memorabilia was sold.
  4. Part of the history of a team is the additional uses for its stadium. Our first time inside Mile High Stadium was the summer of 1974 when we moved to Colorado. We attended a Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young Concert with the Beach Boys as back-up! After the success of the Broncos going to the Super Bowl in 1978, Bronco player Lyle Alzado became a household name. In 1979 I went to the stadium and watched Lyle Alzado, a former boxer, and Mohammed Ali in an exhibition boxing match. The first Colorado Rockies Baseball Game I attended was at Mile High Stadium in 1993. As incoming Colorado Association of REALTORS® President we had a promotion for the association and my wife and I were lucky to be on the field prior to game time. We saw Sammy Sosa “up close and personal”. I remember thinking, “this is a strong man!”
  5. We loved listening to the big band sound of the Denver Broncos Band that played in the old Mile High Stadium. Located in the southeast corner of the end zone bleachers, they brought a touch of nostalgia to a football game. Never too loud or overwhelming, their sound was a perfect complement to the game. In the early 90’s, a DJ took over for a brief time and today, we can hardly carry on a conversation without being drowned out by the sound system.
  6. In 1977 Red Miller was signed as the new coach and he brought with him an aging Craig Morton (34 years old) as quarterback. The team was revamped and revitalized. What a season we experienced! I remember driving back to Fort Collins on Christmas Eve after defeating the Steelers. We could barely talk above a whisper after yelling and screaming for 3 hours. New Year’s Day we defeated the Raiders to become the AFC Champions and went on to our first (disastrous) Super Bowl appearance.
  7. When a team gels, the media loves to give pet names to players and the
    offense/defense.  As we all know, DEFENSE WINS GAMES! The Denver defense was so powerful that in 1977 they became known as The Orange Crush. That same year, The M&M Connection was coined: Quarterback Craig Morton completing passes to wide receiver Haven Moses. In the mid-80s with John Elway as quarterback, who could forget the Three Amigos: wide receivers Vance Johnson, Mark Jackson and Ricky Nattiel. They took us to the Super Bowl in 1987.
  8. The Denver Bronco Cheerleaders debuted in the early 70’s and in 1977 were known as the Pony Express. After a scandal in 1980, the Pony Express was disbanded. Some years we would see college cheerleaders on the sidelines and then in 1993, the official Denver Bronco Cheerleaders dance team was organized.
  9. I have always loved the story of the Broncos’ vertically striped socks the first two years in the league. At that time, the team colors were brown, mustard and white. The socks were so ugly that the team held a public bonfire to burn them all in 1962. That is the year they changed their colors to orange and blue.
  10. From 1976-1981 the Denver Broncos training camp was at our own CSU! You could take your lunch hour and watch them practice. Or, you would be walking around downtown and run into one of the players. Then UNC took over as the official training camp site for 20 years. Northern Colorado lost the pre-season training fun when Dove Valley in Denver was constructed.

What are your Broncos memories?


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