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Way Back When: The Broncos' extensive history with the Jets


The Denver Broncos are off to an exciting start this year, and now we have the home opener against the New York Jets.

Save for the American Football League years when the teams played twice each year, the two teams have played infrequently.

But is it all about now, or all about always?

I think the latter, and the Broncos and Jets have featured some fascinating moments and individuals, many of whom are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Denver had the great history of facing the then New York Titans in the legendary Polo Grounds in the first four Bronco visits to New York. But in 1963 the Titans became the Jets, and in 1964 the Broncos were the opponents when the Jets opened their new home in Shea Stadium. That was a really big deal at the time.

The two teams have faced each other with a fascinating history of moments that touched each other, led by Hall of Fame personalities.

The first head coach in Titans franchise history, from 1960-61, was Sammy Baugh, certainly one of the 10 greatest quarterbacks of all time — and regarded by some as the greatest player ever!

The Titans won three out of four of those matchups.

Hall of Fame coach Weeb Ewbank led the Jets from 1963 through 1973, and amazingly, the Broncos went 6-5-1 against the Jets during that era, which included the Jets' incredible and historic Super Bowl win.

That included Denver playing against Joe Namath, easily the most colorful personality in football during his 12 years in New York. Of course, Namath and Ewbank led the Jets to the shock of the football world when they won Super Bowl III in January of 1969.

But the Broncos emerged from the basement of the AFL to win at New York in 1967 and again in 1968, both of which were stunning upsets.

Then, playing in Denver with the Jets as defending Super Bowl champions in 1969, the Broncos won again, 21-19.

The Broncos were 5-3 against Namath in their meetings, in addition to 6-5-1 against Coach Ewbank.

But Namath and Ewbank are not the only Hall of Famers featured in this series.

Much more recently, the 1998 AFC Championship Game featured Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells against (in my opinion) still future Hall of Fame coach Mike Shanahan.

On that day, Denver's lineup included future Hall of Famers quarterback John Elway, running back Terrell Davis, tight end Shannon Sharpe, and safety Steve Atwater. New York's featured another Hall of Famer in Curtis Martin.

Of course, Atwater would play the final season of his magnificent career with the Jets the following year.

And just to put the cherry on the cake, Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning led a 31-17 win over the New York Jets on the road in 2014.

So even though the teams no longer play with the frequency of their earliest years as pro football franchises, each has been touch by Hall of Fame personalities and memories.

For in the National Football League, each team touches each other.

It truly is both all about now, but also all about always.

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