ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — One of the greatest teams in franchise history will be honored this fall.
The Broncos will celebrate the 25th anniversary of their Super Bowl XXXII championship team during a special homecoming weekend during 2022 season, the team announced Thursday.
Denver will welcome back players, coaches and staff members from the 1997 team for the Broncos' Oct. 23 matchup with the New York Jets in Week 7. The Broncos will honor the championship teams with a halftime celebration, along with various programming and content throughout the year.
"The 25th anniversary of the Broncos' first Super Bowl championship is a special occasion deserving of a tribute that celebrates how much the 1997 team means to our organization and fans," President & CEO Joe Ellis said. "During an unforgettable season, that iconic team overcame tremendous adversity to deliver a long-awaited World Championship to our fans as double-digit underdogs in Super Bowl XXXII. Along with all of Broncos Country, we're excited to honor the many great players, coaches and staff from the 1997 Super Bowl-champion Broncos to highlight this year's Homecoming Weekend."
The Broncos' 1997 championship team was led by Ring of Fame head coach Mike Shanahan — the winningest coach in franchise history — and some of the greatest players in Broncos lore. Hall of Famers John Elway, Gary Zimmerman, Shannon Sharpe, Terrell Davis and Steve Atwater helped the Broncos to their first championship during the 1997 season. Ring of Famers Rod Smith, Jason Elam and Tom Nalen were also members of the Broncos' Super Bowl XXXII championship team.
The Broncos began their championship run in 1997 with a 12-4 regular-season record. The offense featured a 3,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher and two 1,000-yard receivers for the first time in team history as the Broncos finished first in the NFL in total offense and scoring offense. Denver ranked fifth in total defense and sixth in scoring defense as Atwater, first-team All Pro linebacker John Mobley and Pro Bowl defensive end Neil Smith led the way.
Over their postseason slate, known as the "Revenge Tour," Denver knocked off a trio of teams against which the Broncos had suffered recent losses. Denver first earned a 42-17 win over Jacksonville in the wild-card round to avenge a loss in the previous year's postseason. A mid-season loss against the Chiefs ultimately cost the Broncos the AFC West crown that season, but Denver responded with a 14-10 road win in the divisional round. The Broncos then punched back after a double-digit regular-season loss to the Steelers to earn a 24-21 win in Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship Game.
In Super Bowl XXXII, the 11-point underdog Broncos knocked off the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers behind Davis' 157 yards and three touchdowns. Davis, who won Super Bowl MVP honors, and Elway helped the Broncos become the first AFC team to win the Super Bowl in 15 years. The turning point of the game — and one of the best plays in team history — was Elway's third-down run in the third quarter that led to the go-ahead score. Known simply as "The Helicopter," the play is synonymous with Elway's career.