Haven Moses was and remains one of the great gentlemen ever to play for the Denver Broncos.
He was inducted into the Ring of Fame in 1988 along with quarterback Craig Morton, with whom he teamed in 1977 to form the "M and M Connection" that helped lead Denver to the first of its eight Super Bowls.
Moses had perhaps the greatest game of his career in the 1977 AFC Championship Game, a 20-17 win that propelled the "Orange Crush" into Super Bowl XII.
Years later, he spoke about the team's mindset going into that Oakland game.
"We really realized the impact of what was going on," Moses said. "The history we were about to make was not lost on us."
Morton threw two touchdown passes to the always reliable Moses. The wide receiver caught his first score of the game on a 74-yard play down the east sidelines.
The second came on a 12-yard touchdown on a diving scoop catch by Moses for what turned out to be the deciding points.
He finished with five receptions for 168 yards and 33.6 yards per catch in a championship game win that forever changed the way Denver would be regarded in the NFL and among the nation's football fans.
The Broncos and their fans had been vindicated by winning that first AFC championship.
"You can't replicate that," Moses said. "That game was representative of the entire 1977 season. The whole place was just orange. It is hard to express what a special season, year and game it was. The fans were on the field with us that day, and we respected their patience and their loyalty. To be able to give them something for the first time, at that moment in time, it was the highlight of my life."
"Teams are not entirely comprised of guys who just grab the headlines; there are other individuals who make just as much of an impact on the game," he said.
But he was both—a high impact, skilled position player with a complete concept of team first, team always.
"In reflection, it was all just unbelievable," he said.
Moses played 10 seasons in Denver from 1972-81 as an outstanding wide receiver, back in the day when the running game dominated in pro football.
He finished his Broncos career ranked third in receptions with 302 (including his first four years in Buffalo, he had 448), and he closed out his career first in receiving touchdowns for Denver with 44.
Moses had a per-catch yardage average of 18.0, still the highest career mark in Broncos history, and he was a key component of three playoff teams (1977-79), two AFC West winners (1977-78) and of course, that berth in Super Bowl XII.
It's less frequently noted, but he was a key member of the first winning season Denver ever had. In that 1973 season, in which the Broncos went 7-5-2, he caught a career-high eight touchdown passes to earn Pro Bowl honors.
He has always given a lot of credit for that 1973 season to quarterback and fellow Ring of Famer Charley Johnson, saying, "Charley taught us how to win."
One thing that separated the No. 1 draft choice Moses from many other players was that he had an off-season job.
"My values were such that I thought it important that I always had a job," he said. "Denver was so receptive to [my wife] Joyce and me that it was a big priority to not just play football but to work in the community, to repay these wonderful fans."
In his last four years with the Broncos he worked for Samsonite, the international luggage company headquartered here. Then, upon retirement, Moses spent 15 years working for the Adolph Coors Company, seven with the Archdiocese of Denver, and his final five working years with the Denver Health Foundation.
"Working in our community has always kept me involved," Moses said. "We have two generations of our family born here."
He and Joyce already had their son Chris when they arrived in Denver, but their son Bryan was born in the Mile High City, as was Bryan and his wife Janet's son, Chase.
"Joyce retired four years ago, I retired one year later, and we still live in downtown Denver," Moses said.
"It is always family first, and we are truly blessed. It all fell into place for us here in Denver — family, friends, football and community — with a little golf rounding it out. It all seems like a wonderful dream."