The Denver Broncos originally entered the world of professional football in 1960 as part of the American Football League (AFL), before eventually making the move to the National Football League (NFL) in 1970. Since their inclusion in 1960, the Denver Broncos have won three Super Bowl Titles, eight Conference Titles, and 15 Division Championships.
Here are five fun facts about the Denver Broncos, who today play in the NFL’s AFC West Division with the Los Angeles Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs and Las Vegas Raiders.
- Despite being a professional franchise in 1960, the Denver Broncos didn’t have their first winning season until 1973. (source) The Denver Broncos had originally entered the American Football League (AFL) for the 1960 season, however, it would be a long time until the Broncos had their first winning season. The franchise would endure losing seasons for their entire time in the AFL, and would eventually join the National Football League for the 1970 season, where the Broncos went 14-26-2 from 1970 through 1972. It was in 1973 that the Denver Broncos finished the season 7-5-2. While this wasn’t a good enough record to qualify for the postseason, it still marked the first time in franchise history that the Broncos finished the year with a winning record.
- The first-ever African American placekicker in the history of professional football first played for the Denver Broncos. (source) Gene Mingo was the first African American kicker in the storied history of professional football, and while he played for five different franchises over his career, his first stop was with the Denver Broncos. Mingo, who also played as a running back and kick returner, played for the Broncos from 1960 through 1964, followed by stints with the Oakland Raiders, Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins and Pittsburgh Steelers. Another fun fact about Gene Mingo is that he holds the record for the most touchdown passes in the game by a running back with two!
- The Denver Broncos are one of only nine NFL franchises to win at least three Super Bowls. (source) The Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl in 1997 and 1998 over the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons respectively, with their most recent victory for the Lombardi Trophy coming in 2015 with a win over the Carolina Panthers. The Broncos are one of only nine teams that have won the Super Bowl at least three times. The Las Vegas Raiders and Washington Football Team have also won three, the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers have won four, and the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys have won the big game on five occasions. The Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots are the only two NFL franchises with six Super Bowl wins.
- There are only three Denver Broncos jersey numbers that have been retired by the franchise. (source) The only retired numbers for the Denver Broncos are #7 for quarterback John Elway, #18 for quarterback Frank Tripucka and #44 for halfback Floyd Little. As an exception, when Peyton Manning signed with the Denver Broncos to play quarterback starting with the 2012 NFL season, he was allowed to wear the #18 that he wore for many years with the Indianapolis Colts.
- Terrell Davis was the first Broncos play to rush for more than 20 touchdowns in a single season. (source) The 1998 NFL season ended up being the last for legendary quarterback John Elway, who had superstar running back Terrell Davis in the backfield that year. That season, Terrell Davis ran had 21 rushing touchdowns and 2,008 rushing yards, helping to bring another Super Bowl to the Broncos franchise, as the Denver Broncos would go on to defeat the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII by a score of 34-19. Terrell Davis played his entire NFL career with the Denver Broncos (1995-2001), finished his career with 7,607 yards and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017.
The Denver Broncos have been one of the more successful franchises in the National Football League over the past few decades, and if you’re a fan that has more fun Denver Broncos facts to share, drop them in the comments below!
Featured image photo credit: Jeffrey Beall, 2013. Originally found on Flickr.com. Image was resized and cropped. Creative Commons 2.0.