The Denver Broncos lay claim to bitter rivalries, 3 Super Bowl trophies, and an erratic history marked by galvanizing figures like John Elway and Mike Shanahan. Key periods of their up-and-down history include their low-win ’60s decade and their back-to-back Super Bowl wins in ’97 and ’98. Fans eat up Broncos tickets and bray for each hard-won yard in the Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Bundle up in blue and orange and cheer on the Broncos as they trample a slew of their fiercest rivals, from the Seattle Seahawks to the Kansas City Chiefs. After the winning touchdown, enjoy a drink or app at one of Denver’s top-notch restaurants.
Founded as an American Football League team in 1959, the Broncos first made football history in 1960 when they beat the non- defunct Boston Patriots to win the season-opening AFL game, and they did it again in 1967 when they beat the Detroit Lions to earn the AFL’s first victory over an NFL team. Despite having these historic wins under their helmets, the Broncos struggled throughout the ’60s. Their lukewarm Denver fanbase prompted the Broncos to consider a 1965 move to Atlanta, which fired up Denverites to rally around their fledgling team. The Broncos’ star player of the ’60s and Pro Bowl favorite “Franchise” Floyd Little whipped up even more fan excitement with his kinetic rushing and receiving skills. When the Broncos ended their stint in the AFL, they had the league’s worst final record (39-97-4) and a city infected with Broncos fever.
In 1970 Denver’s pro football team joined the NFL, kicking off a successful decade that included 6 winning seasons, 3 playoff appearances, and their first Super Bowl appearance. The Broncos began to truly dominate the field in the ’80s thanks to their powerful Orange Crush defense and to the arrival of head coach Dan Reeves and legendary quarterback John Elway. Elway turned down a 1983 MLB contract with the New York Yankees and brought stability to the Broncos’ QB position, a position that had seen 24 starters in 23 seasons. Together, Reeves and Elway led the Broncos to accomplish 6 postseason appearances, including 3 Super Bowl berths.
Soon after Mike Shanahan took over as coach in 1995, Elway and running back Terrell Davis led their team to back-to-back Super Bowl titles, XXXII and XXXIII, defeating the Green Bay Packers and the Atlanta Falcons. After 16 years with the Broncos, Elway retired in 1998, and Denver struggled to find another good quarterback fit, trying out QBs like Jake Plummer, Jay Cutler, and Tim Tebow. They made the postseason 6 times in the post-Elway era, but they didn’t get another shot at the Vince Lombardi Trophy until 2013. Peyton Manning and the Broncos suffered a painful loss to the Seahawks at Super Bowl XLVIII, contributing to their intense ongoing rivalry with Seattle. Finally, in 2015, Gary Kubiak coached Manning, receiver Demaryius Thomas, and the Broncos’ rock solid defense known as the No Fly Zone to a Super Bowl 50 victory against the Carolina Panthers.
Since Manning’s post-victory retirement in 2016, Denver’s offense has worked through some rebuilding years, and the team has endured some disappointing records despite profiting from an intimidating defense that some call the new Orange Crush. Denverites have mile-high hopes that second-year coach Vance Joseph and new quarterback Case Keenum will strengthen the offense and post a winning season. Keenum, along with veteran Broncos like Von Miller and Demaryius Thomas, will continue to fight out heated rivalries with regular AFC West competitors like the Los Angeles Chargers and the Oakland Raiders and possibly even spar with their age-old nemesis, the New England Patriots, in the post-season. The Broncos’ 4th Super Bowl could be just around the corner, so don’t miss your chance to buy Broncos tickets before checking out the many other top things to do in Denver and trying the city’s best restaurants.Back to top