New Raising and Initial Successes
The Denver Broncos were founded on August 14, 1959, when minor league baseball owner Bob Howsam was awarded an American Football League charter franchise. The Broncos began play in 1960 as a charter member of the American Football League and joined the NFL as part of the AFL-NFL Merger. On August 5, 1967, they became the first ever AFL team to defeat an NFL team after beating the Detroit Lions, 13-7, in a preseason game. However, overall they were not successful in the 1960s, compiling a record of a record of 39-97-4 in the league. Denver has reached the Super Bowl six times, winning it in the 1997 and 1998 seasons. Quarterback John Elway arrived in 1983. Originally drafted by the Baltimore Colts as the first pick of the draft, Elway proclaimed that he would shun football in favor of baseball.
In 1995, the Broncos debuted rookie running back Terrell Davis, who, in 1997, would lead the Broncos to their first Super Bowl victory, in Super Bowl XXXII, over the Green Bay Packers.
Years following Elway's Retirement
Since Elway's retirement following the 1999 season, Denver has only had two losing seasons (1999, 2007). The team has made the playoffs as a wild card three times (in 2000, 2003 and 2004) and as a division champion once (2005). However, the Broncos have won only one playoff game since Elway's retirement.
In the years since Elway's retirement, it has become obvious that the Denver fans and media expect Elway-like perfection from the quarterback position. Both Brian Griese and Jake Plummer have faced severe scrutiny in attempting to replace Elway as the team's quarterback.
Elway's jersey remains the most frequently worn at Invesco Field at Mile High, with the crowd generally voicing their loudest ovations when his name is mentioned or shown. Many members of the media have run stories and articles on the pressures that come with playing quarterback in Denver, as most fans believe no player will ever live up the standard set by Elway.
The Shanahan era
The team's current head coach is Mike Shanahan, a position he's held since 1995. Since the Shanahan era began, the Broncos have been known for having high-yardage running backs, and explosive offenses. In the post-Elway years, Shanahan has taken the Broncos to the playoffs several times. The 2000 season ended with a Wild Card loss at the Baltimore Ravens. The 2003 and 2004 seasons ended with lopsided losses at the Indianapolis Colts, also in the Wild Card round.
In the 2005 season, the Broncos defeated the New England Patriots in the divisional round and advanced to the AFC Championship game, losing at home to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Compete for Super Bowl Title
In 2006, the Denver Broncos had high hopes among the league in being able to compete for the Super Bowl title. The Broncos defense started off the first five games of the season allowing only one touchdown, an NFL record, but struggled down the season stretch. The Broncos' season ended with an unexpected loss to the San Francisco 49ers, which eliminated the team from playoff contention. Hours after the season ending loss, on January 1, 2007, Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams was shot and killed around 2 a.m. on West 11th Avenue and Speer Boulevard in downtown Denver.
Logos and uniforms
When the Broncos debuted in 1960, their original uniforms consisted of brown helmets, brown pants white and mustard yellow jerseys, and vertically striped socks. The club eventually got rid of these jerseys two years later, and celebrated the occasion by holding a public bonfire to burn the striped socks.
The team unveiled a logo featuring a bucking horse in 1962. In 1968, the Broncos debuted a design that became known as the "Orange Crush". Their logo was redesigned so that the horse was coming out of a "D". Also, the helmets were changed to blue, thin stripes were put onto the sleeves, and other minor modifications were added. From 1969 to 1971, and again from 1978 to 1979), the team wore orange pants with their white jerseys.
The club changed their logo and uniforms in 1997, a design that they continue to use to this day. The current logo is a profile of a horse's head. They wear "Broncos Navy Blue" jerseys instead of orange ones. This new uniform design also features a streak that runs down the sides of both the jerseys and the pants; it's orange on the blue jerseys and blue on the white jerseys.
For most of their history they played in Mile High Stadium, which became one of the shrines of professional football for its record ongoing streak of sell-outs. The stadium displays multiple references to the stadium's location of 5,280 ft above sea level, including a prominent mural just outside the visiting team's locker room. Many believe the physical and mental aspects of competing athletically with less air to breathe affects the performance of visiting teams.
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