Denver Broncos | News

A few of our favorite stories from Broncos Extra's reflections of the 1997 and 1998 seasons

If you haven't yet checked out the Broncos' new shows on the NFL's official OTT app, I highly encourage giving it a try. It features four exclusive videos with Hall of Famer Steve Atwater moderating trips down memory lane as he and other former teammates recall how they marched to Super Bowls XXXII and XXXIII and won both.

If you need to be convinced, here's a story from each episode that really stands out from the series — but there's much more you can hear from them.

Reflections of a Championship Season – 1997

One of the key pieces of the puzzle for the Broncos' first Super Bowl-winning team was its camaraderie, Atwater said.

"We genuinely cared about each other," Atwater said. "It wasn't just, 'Hey, we were teammates.' We cared about each other, we knew each other's families, the whole nine yards. We had a real deep connection, and I think that was one of the keys to us having success."

As proof of that, former offensive lineman Mark Schlereth remembered that before the season, he and Alfred Williams threw a party for the whole team.

"Before that season, we had a bunch of salmon and a bunch of fish-bake sent to the house, and Alfred was like, 'Hey, dude, we've got to do this big party, and we've got to do it at your house,'" Schlereth said. "Alfred still owes me five grand for throwing that party. Alfred's like, 'Hey, we're gonna split it. We'll split the cost, it's gonna be awesome.' And we put it together. We had Alaskan King Crab legs, we had all kinds of salmon. The whole team was at the house. I'm still waiting for that check from Alfred."

Reflections of Super Bowl XXXII

Just as it is for Broncos fans, John Elway's "helicopter" run is still one of the most memorable moments for the team from Denver's first Super Bowl win.

Alfred Williams said he remembers getting ready on the sideline during the third-down play. As he watched Elway get spun around after scrambling for the first down, he simply gave a silent fist pump.

"[I was like], 'This is who we are, and this is what we're doing today,'" Williams said. "It just signified who we were at that moment and how tough we were, how resilient we were and how we weren't going to be denied by this opportunity. And certainly they were a worthy opponent. With the guys that are represented in the Hall of Fame or that are on the list from both teams, certainly they were a worthy opponent. But at that moment in that game in that situation, it signified what we were about as a football club, as a football team, as a collective football family."

Reflections of a Championship Season – 1998

Terrell Davis' drive to reach 2,000 yards during the 1998 season came to a successful close in the final game of the year, but it didn't come easy.

He needed 170 yards entering the game, and that would require a lot of carries. To ensure that Davis got that opportunity, the Broncos' defense needed to have a great day — and former cornerback Ray Crockett said they discussed that in the defensive huddle.

"Most people don't know … in our huddle, we were doing the same thing about TD getting 2,000 yards," Crockett said. "We were like, 'Man, we've got to turn [the ball] over. We've got to get some turnovers, because TD is not going to rush for 2,000 if we don't have extra possessions. … We've got to get the ball back to him.' So that was a total team 2,000-yard effort. I will say that, honestly."

Reflections of Super Bowl XXXIII

Just before perhaps the biggest play of Rod Smith's career, head coach Mike Shanahan changed the route Smith was supposed to run.

As Smith recalls in the video, he normally would have run a clear-out pattern to the outside as fellow receiver Ed McCaffrey ran a crossing route. But Falcons safety Eugene Robinson was playing a "robber" coverage to defend McCaffrey's route.

So Shanahan came over to Smith with a slight change in plans.

"He said, 'We're going to run keep right. We ain't gonna tell nobody but you and John — run a post,'" Smith said. "… They had just put that in because Kubiak saw them robbing the crossing route. But that's a veteran team. He could change it literally on the spot and I end up getting one of the biggest [plays]. Matter of fact, I think it's the second-longest touchdown pass in Super Bowl history."

Related Content