Denver Broncos | News

Sacco Sez: By any name, a stadium of champions

As Broncos personnel and the Metropolitan Football Stadium District work hard to find a solution to the naming rights of what is currently known as Sports Authority Field at Mile High, we know that whatever the name on the facility becomes, it will still be a "stadium of champions" in the Mile High City.

The Broncos began play in what was known as Bears Stadium, something akin to pro football's orphans playing in a minor league baseball park.

On several occasions, the stadium was not even available due to the Denver Bears' baseball schedule, so the Broncos played some games, mostly during the preseason, at the University of Denver's Hilltop Stadium.

The Broncos twice played their season opener at Hilltop Stadium when Bears Stadium was unavailable. In fact, the first time the team ever wore orange was at Hilltop Stadium on opening night in 1962 against the San Diego Chargers.

In the first 41 years of club history, the Broncos played almost every home game in one building.

That facility opened in 1948 as Bear Stadium, but it was more famously known as Mile High Stadium after it was renamed in 1969.

It was the Broncos' home beginning with the franchise's inception in 1960 and even though the Broncos did not have their first winning season until 1973, from that time forward they have had one of the best records in pro football and have become an iconic NFL franchise.

At Bears Stadium/Mile High Stadium from 1960-2000, the Broncos' record was 190-108-7 (.638 winning percentage). They were 19-40-2 (.328) at Bears Stadium and 171-68-5 (.711) after the name was changed to Mile High Stadium, from 1969-2000.

The Denver stadium, regardless of name, came to represent Denver and the Rocky Mountain West around the country via hundreds of televised Broncos games, and this image has grown to the international level at this point.

When the team moved into its spectacular new stadium, the winning ways just moved slightly to the southeast with the Broncos.

From those very shaky beginnings in 1960, the Broncos have grown to be a team that has won three world championships, one of just nine franchises to have won the Super Bowl three times or more. The eight Super Bowl appearances are tied for the most by any team.

The Broncos' stadiums have been the home for 15 AFC West titles, 22 playoff berths and 28 winning seasons. The Broncos have played in 10 AFC Championship Games, seven of them at home.

Denver fans have watched just seven losing seasons since 1973, tied with Pittsburgh and Houston (which just began play in 2002) for the fewest in the NFL in that span. The Broncos have the best home record in pro football over the last 41 years (1975-2005, a 235-87-0 record and .750 home winning percentage). They also have a 17-5 postseason mark at home during that time.

Just to put some cherries on top of the cake, record-wise, the Broncos won 24 straight home games in the regular season from 1996-98, the third-longest such winning streak in NFL history. During that time, Denver also won back-to-back Super Bowls (XXXII in San Diego and XXXIII in Miami).

Only Green Bay, which has been playing since the dawn of pro football, has had more than three straight undefeated home seasons, and that was back from 1929-32.

So from Bears Stadium (and DU's Hilltop Stadium) to Mile High Stadium to Invesco Field at Mile High to Sports Authority Field at Mile High, the winning tradition was born and continues.

To paraphrase the widely quoted line from late American writer and poet Gertrude Stein, who wrote, "A rose is a rose is a rose," a win is a win is a win.

The new stadium name will come, but the old championship standard will continue in Broncos Country.

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