I am going to start taking a weekly look at a moment from the Denver Broncos memory bank, which is both illustrious and ignominious. I have found that most fans of the Broncos are also fans of the past. Usually, they do not know a lot about the deep past, through no fault other than just the normal passage of time and the relative youth of the reader. No problem at all, but I do hope readers enjoy a quick peek at the past. The Broncos have had a long and mostly fantastic history, beginning as one of the most rag-tag teams in American sports history and moving forward like a comet to where we are today. The Broncos never had a winning season from 1960 through 1972, with the only ray of light coming in 1962's 7-7 campaign. They started off with used uniforms -- can you imagine a team today playing two seasons with used uniforms, as the Broncos did in 1960-61?
And can you imagine that team surviving to play six decades of football, eventually becoming, by any standard, one of the great franchises in its sport? Too ridiculous to imagine, but true.
They played in old Bears Stadium, which was built for the Denver Bears minor league baseball team--which played in the old Class A Western League at that time--in 1948. Again, one almost has to close one's eyes to imagine that one of the most successful teams in the National Football League began play in what was a baseball park built for a Class A baseball team.
How could it be? How could this team grow to have any success at all?
I submit it is the football equivalent of the success reached by Americans like Thomas Edison, Andrew Carnegie and Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was born in a log cabin and became one of the greatest presidents in American history. It was just about as improbable for the Broncos to reach this level of success. Just because no one ever thinks of it this way does not mean it is not so.
One of the special things about my position is that not only have I worked more games in person than almost any other employee in NFL history (likely I am first, but I will allow for the benefit of the doubt to others), but I have been a student of the game since I was 10 years old. I have said of my own career that where I grew up, the fields were dirt, the roads were dirt, and the only thing that was not dirt was your dream of more. I have always thought the Broncos' "career" has been a parallel to that.
And I am happy to have come together with the team for this tremendous growth. It has been fascinating to watch the growth and development of the Broncos, and for me, it is a lot of fun to share some of these great, improbable moments with others. I do not expect the historical facts to be burned into the reader's memory, but it is enough for me that occasionally one will read something and say, "I didn't know that" or "Can you believe that?"
The Broncos have pretty much gone from the absurd to the sublime, and moving forward, I am going to pick out something from the team's memory bank every week to recount.
Thanks much in advance for joining me in this journey. I hope you enjoy reading these pieces as much as I will enjoy writing them.