Denver Broncos | News

Sacco Sez: The best shade of orange

A quick look at the uniform the Broncos will don during their Oct. 13 contest in San Diego.

The Denver Broncos have fashioned a magnificent history of winning under Owner Pat Bowlen, and most fans known many of the stats.

Under Mr. B we have become one of just four teams to go to eight Super Bowls and one of just nine to win the world championship three or more times. But it was not always such, prior to his ownership and in his first couple of seasons. Early on in his regime Mr. B once said to me, "To much of the country, we are just that team that plays up in the mountains and wears orange."

We are much more than that today, and while the height of the Rocky Mountains has not changed, but the Broncos and their fans have elevated the wearing of orange to an art form.

On Tuesday the Broncos and the National Football League announced a continuation of the NFL "Color Rush" uniform program, which will have the team in orange from shoulder to toe for the Broncos' game at San Diego on Thursday, Oct. 13. The uniform includes an orange jersey, orange pants, orange socks, and accent elements that evoke some of the uniform elements from as far back as the 1960's. That will be a lot of orange.

The Color Rush program began last year, and teams have had alternate uniforms for many years, but only the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals have as much pure orange as do the Broncos. The most common uniform colors include versions of red and/or blue, but I have always liked the idea that our color scheme is more unique.

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Every Bronco fan and the entire organization owes a debt of thanks to Jack Faulkner, who, upon taking over as General Manager and Head Coach in 1962, made the immediate decision to get rid of the team's legendary and notorious mustard and brown uniforms. In fact, that uniform disappeared in a public bonfire in conjunction with the annual end of camp scrimmage in 1962, which only added to the aura of that first uniform as well as to the rarity and purchase price of the few pair of striped socks that escaped the flames.

The team chose orange after internal discussions that included a brief modeling of jerseys, as described to me by the late Ronnie Bill, an assistant equipment manager who was one of the observers that day.

"One of the possibilities was green," Ronnie told me, "but there were rumors that the Jets wanted to go to green, and Jack wanted his own color."

In fact, the Jets did go to a green-and-white uniform one year later when Sonny Werblin succeeded in finalizing his purchase of the team. Werblin was a New York promoter who loved the color of money, and Faulkner had spent ten years playing and coaching in Ohio, where he had come to greatly admire both the success of the Cleveland Browns and the unique color which that team wore.

So from 1962 to the present, the Broncos have had a few different uniforms, but every one has incorporated orange as a primary color, and most variations included orange as the single most-dominant color. The press and fans adopted the nickname "Orange Crush" in 1977 due to the crushing dominance of the defense, which included seven players who made the Pro Bowl one year or another and which was dominant for a four- or five-year period. There are a lot of similarities between that defense and the one that takes the field for the Broncos today, as longtime observers can attest.

Of course, a little orange can go a long way. The Broncos actually wore orange pants for a six-year span which ended with a playoff loss to Earl Campbell and the Houston Oilers in the Astrodome on Dec. 23, 1979, my second season with the team.  However, the orange pants were never coupled with the orange jerseys during that time.

For one night this season there will be more orange on the Broncos sideline than at any other time in our history.

It is all part of the game and its promotion, and it once again gives our legions of fans the opportunity to revel in the color orange.

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