ENGLEWOOD, Colo. —** Red Miller's time is now.
His name had come up in Ring of Fame committee meetings over previous years, but the timing just hadn't been right.
But this year — the 40th anniversary of the Broncos' first Super Bowl season and Miller's first as head coach of the Broncos — the timing was perfect.
"To have him be the head coach of the first appearance in a Super Bowl in '77 in New Orleans versus Dallas was quite a landmark for someone who came in their first year and has that opportunity, especially at that time," said John Beake, former Broncos general manager and current member of the Ring of Fame committee. "It was a new era for the Denver Broncos and we wanted to recognize Red Miller."
Photos from the coaching career of Ring of Fame head coach Red Miller. (Photos from AP Images unless noted)
Miller had pretty good timing then, too. When he arrived in 1977, the Broncos had the young talent to become a playoff team, but they lacked a leader that could help them reach their potential.
His impact was immediate and extensive.
"Red came in and I think what he saw was we were kind of in disarray—the whole organization," Beake said. "He really came in and brought everybody together and formed into a unit. We all worked together. I think his biggest asset was he brought those same players and all of the rest us there into being a unit and working together."
Miller's vision and expectations that he put into place in 1977 provided a demarcation point for the Broncos. His teams reeled off three consecutive playoff seasons, and the new standard of success replaced the old futility that had marked the Broncos' early years.
"As we were discussing, it became unanimous that this is who we'd like to place into the Ring of Fame based on the fact that his coaching career — coming in 1977 and his four years here — were really sterling years that opened the doors and a pathway for the Denver Broncos to go on to where we are today," Beake said.
In the decades that followed his time as Broncos head coach, Miller watched nine of his players enter the Ring of Fame.
After years of hoping he could join them, Red Miller's time finally came.