The NFL is one of the biggest and most popular sports leagues in the world. Like any of those sports leagues, there are a few teams at the top that help make the league what it is. In the NFL, there are a that stand a cut above the rest. In Colorado, there is one team that has been there among the best of the best.
The Denver Broncos are one of those franchises. For more than 60 years, the Broncos have been at the forefront of the NFL. In terms of both on-field success and cultural relevance, the Broncos continue to be one of the NFL’s most successful franchises.
All Colorado State Football Teams
Some states are fortunate enough to have multiple teams. California, for instance, has three (Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, and San Francisco 49ers). New York has three, though two of them (New York Giants and Jets) play in New Jersey while most forget that the third (Buffalo Bills) are even in New York.
Colorado, meanwhile, has only had one team in the NFL. Let’s take a close look at that team and find out about the impact the Denver Broncos have had not only on the local community but the league on the whole.
The Denver Broncos (1960-Current)
Beginning with the 1960 NFL season, the Denver Broncos became the first team from Colorado to join the professional football league. At that time, the NFL was far from what it is now. As a matter of fact, the NFL was in competition with a rival league known as the American Football League (AFL).
The two leagues would merge ahead of the 1966 season, with the merger being officially finalized in 1970. The Broncos would remain part of the NFL, becoming part of the newly formed American Football Conference.
The Broncos have become one of the most successful franchises in NFL history since then. They are tied for the second-most Super Bowl appearances ever at eight with the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers. They are tied for seventh with three Super Bowl wins, three behind the all-time leaders (the Steelers and New England Patriots).
Valued at more than $4.8 billion, the Broncos are in the upper half of the most valuable NFL franchises. As we will see below, that has to do with a number of important factors.
The Importance of the Denver Broncos on Colorado’s State Culture/Economy
NFL teams can’t simply be measured by wins and losses. Though Super Bowl victories are a great way to measure on-field success, the biggest and best NFL franchises make an even bigger impact when it comes to the local and state economy.
According to Britt Diehl of the Downtown Denver Partnership, downtown Denver sees as many as 300,000 people in a single game day. The impacts on the local economy from that kind of turnaround have a sizable impact, to say the least.
According to the Boulder Chamber of Commerce, every weekend of football – be it the Colorado Buffaloes or Denver Broncos – brings in an estimated $17 million in economic impact. For every game, especially sellouts, those kinds of numbers can wind up having massive benefits for local business owners.
Denver Broncos: Team Highlights and Achievements
Entering the NFL in 1960, it didn’t take long for the Broncos to become a major player. Beginning with the Orange Crush defense of the late 1970s, the Broncos would be one of the most talked-about teams every single year.
The Broncos made their first Super Bowl in 1977, though it was in a losing effort. During the 1980s, the Broncos may have been the AFC team of the decade. They made three Super Bowls in four seasons (1986, 1987, & 1989). Unfortunately for the Broncos, those three would be losses as well, bringing the tally to 0-4.
With aging franchise quarterback John Elway in search of a championship, things would change in 1997. The Broncos would cap off a fantastic season by winning one of the best Super Bowls ever. As if that weren’t enough, the team would come back the next year to dominate the Atlanta Falcons for their second straight Super Bowl. Elway rode off into the sunset in epic fashion, capturing his first two championships.
During the 2010s, the Broncos would see a resurgence. After signing legendary quarterback Peyton Manning, the team would become a contender during the four years “The Sheriff” wore the orange and blue. He capped off his tenure by helping the team win Super Bowl 50, the third in franchise history. Though The hunt for #4 is still ongoing, the Broncos continue to be a talked-about NFL franchise.
Comparative Analysis: Denver Broncos vs. Other NFL Teams
When it comes to on-field success, the easiest way to gauge how a team is doing is how they stack up against other teams. When measuring the success of the Broncos against the rest of the NFL, it is easy to see that the Broncos are one of the best out there.
Though we traditionally think of franchises like the Steelers, Cowboys, and Green Bay Packers – as well as recent runs like that of the Patriots – the Broncos are not far off. There are still 12 teams that have yet to win a Super Bowl and the Broncos have three of them. There are even a few who have yet to make an appearance while the Broncos have been to The Big Game eight times.
With 15 AFC West titles under their belt, the Broncos have displayed consistency throughout the years. The last few years have been something of a rebuilding effort. As time has shown, however, the Broncos don’t stay long. When they are good, they are among the best of the best that the NFL has to offer.
If you think that the Denver Broncos fan base is limited to Colorado, think again. Though they have not had major success in almost a decade, the Broncos are still in the top 20 when it comes to the largest fan bases in the league.
There are more than 1.4 million Broncos fans across Broncos Country. With die-hard fans, the team will always have its share of backers. When there is success, it becomes a major day for the litany of fans across the country and, as the game expands, the world.
It is tough to find very many franchises that are more successful than the Denver Broncos. Though it took some time – the team wasn’t very good from its inception in 1960 through the mid-1970s – the Broncos have managed to climb the ranks during more than 60 years in Denver.
The team has 22 playoff appearances, which is incredible considering they didn’t make it in their first 16 years and haven’t in the last nine. During that span, the Broncos won the AFC West – the division in which they have remained nearly their entire tenure in the NFL – a whopping 15 times. From 1990 to 2005, they won the division crown an impressive nine times.
But the biggest barometer of success is in making it to The Game – the Super Bowl. Beginning with their first appearance in 1977 (a losing effort), the Broncos would make it to the biggest stage in the NFL an incredible eight times. That is tied for the second-most in NFL history behind only the New England Patriots (who achieved the feat over just 19 years).
Though the first four Super Bowls did not go as planned, the franchise made up for it. They would send the legendary Elway into the sunset with two Super Bowl championships in a row, adding a third under the equally legendary Manning in 2015. The team is still searching for their fourth Super Bowl win which would put them in a tie for the third-most in NFL history. The list of accolades can be matched by very few, making the Broncos one of the best franchises ever.
Another way to gauge how successful an NFL franchise has been is through the impact made outside of the local community. Then again, when part of the local community winds up being involved in one of the most legendary television shows ever, that can be a beneficial thing.
The creators of the historic television show South Park are well-known Broncos fans. They have been involved in promo packages for the team, and even part of in-stadium promotions and messages. The duo of Matt Stone and Trey Parker can be found saying “Go Broncos” in many public settings.
Even some of the episodes have featured the Broncos. In one hilarious episode, the children of the town have chased away the adults. In the center of town, a statue erected for Elway becomes their savior, the deity they ask for good tidings. The Broncos will forever be in the consciousness of the public so long as it is backed by what is an all-time television show.
That doesn’t cover the number of famous celebrities who cheer for the blue and orange. Comedian and TV star Tim Allen was born in Denver and supports the Broncos. Famous actresses Pam Grier, Jessica Biel, and Kate Hudson count themselves among the members of Broncos County. There are even other sports stars that love the Broncos. NASCAR driver Kyle Busch and Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn, a native of Vail, and a huge Broncos fan.
That kind of dedication throughout the entertainment and sports world goes to show just how successful and popular a franchise can be. The Broncos continue to be among the best of the best and have the celebrity firepower backing them up.
How many NFL Teams are in Colorado?
There has only been one NFL team in the state of Colorado. The Broncos are still the only NFL representative from the Mile High State. There are no known plans of adding another team to the state anytime in the near future.
When were the Denver Broncos founded?
The Broncos were initially founded ahead of the 1960 NFL season. It has called Denver home for 63 years, remaining part of the league even after the NFL and AFL merged in 1966. They are among the longest standing franchises in professional football.
Have the Denver Broncos won any Super Bowls?
The Broncos have been to a whopping eight Super Bowls, including three in a four-year span in the late 1980s. They found their first success by winning the Super Bowl in 1997 and 1998. They would later add a third Super Bowl victory by taking Super Bowl 50 over the Carolina Panthers.
How many Denver Broncos are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
You don’t get to be a great franchise without some tremendous, legendary players. The Broncos have sent 15 members to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Additionally, there are 34 members in the team’s Ring of Fame. Nine of the players in the Ring of Fame are also in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Who is considered the greatest player in Denver Broncos history?
When talking about the greatest Denver Bronco of all-time, the conversation usually begins and ends with one name: John Elway. Elway, a former NFL MVP, is one of the most recognizable quarterbacks to ever play. The back-to-back Super Bowl victories in the late 1990s can be punctuated with just one line: “This one’s for John!”
Where do the Denver Broncos play?
The famed Mile High Stadium has undergone a few facelifts throughout the years. Currently, the stadium is known as Empower Field at Mile High. Its tremendous altitude is often considered to be a home-field advantage for the Broncos. The crowd is also one of the most raucous in the NFL, making it a hostile environment for any opposing team.