The Denver Broncos have become one of the more exceptional and storied franchises in the NFL. Perhaps they are not on par with teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers or the San Francisco Forty Niners, but there are still many iconic moments in the Broncos’ history since 1960. With the offseason going on for another month or so, here are some of the very best Broncos moments narrowed down to the top five while football fans await the start of the 2022 season.
Five: Tim Tebow Touchdown To Demaryius Thomas In 2011 Divisional Game In the Playoffs
The “Tim Tebow Era” was definitely not the most successful time for the Broncos; however, many fans may admit that it was the most fun and entertaining era for Denver Football. Tim Tebow was a unique phenomenon that will never really be replicated. He was famous for being a very unconventional quarterback, struggling with mechanics but somewhat making up for it with great athleticism. He was also known for being clutch and playing at his best when it really counted. It was like watching a fictional football movie (except in the end the Broncos don’t win). The games were consistently dramatic. Tebow and company would make sure they were losing by the end of the game and miraculously come back. The pinnacle of this era was when Denver was playing the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs in 2011. Two fan favorites, Tebow and receiver Demaryius Thomas connect for a eighty yard touchdown pass in overtime for the win. I remember watching this game with my family and not believing my eyes. This is a rare type of football moment. Demaryius ran a simple drag route across the middle, finding himself wide open and running after the catch to the endzone. This moment perfectly captured possibly the most exciting couple of seasons in Denver Broncos history. Unfortunately they lost in the next round in the playoffs that year to the New England Patriots.
Four: Von Miller Gets Two Strip Sacks and a Touchdown In the Broncos Third Super-Bowl Victory
What really solidifies Denver as one of the great franchises in the NFL is their third Super Bowl victory in 2016 as only nine of thirty two NFL teams have three or more Super Bowl victories. As opposed to the other moments on this list, this moment is all about defense. Many consider the 2015-2016 Broncos to be one of the best defenses of all-time. This was perfectly represented in the Super Bowl where Denver’s defense dominated the offensive powerhouse Carolina Panthers, holding them to just ten Points. The star of the show was legendary pass-rusher Von Miller who managed to get two and a half sacks on quarterback Cam Newton (who was the NFL MVP that year) forcing fumbles on two of them. He also scored a touchdown on one of them. This was an epic victory, bringing a championship to a newer generation of Bronco fans.
Three: The Drive
Before the theatrics of Tim Tebow, there was the great John Elway. Besides being one of the best quarterbacks of all-time, Elway had a knack for pulling off late game heroics. The most memorable instance of this was during the 1987 AFC divisional playoff game against the Cleveland Browns where Elway led his team to a game-winning touchdown going over eighty yards with less than two minutes left. This was very early in his career, and this game can be looked at as the first defining moment of the John Elway era in Denver where he went on to win two Super Bowls and appear in five.
Two: Peyton Manning Breaks the Single Season Record For Most Touchdown Passes
Peyton Manning being traded to Denver late in his career marked a new era of winning for the Broncos. They would appear in two Super Bowls, winning one with him as the quarterback. In 2013, Manning had one of his best seasons and one of the greatest seasons any quarterback has ever had. Manning broke the record for most passing yards and most touchdowns in a single season. Watching this offense was an absolute show. One could never be bored seeing the Broncos score touchdowns at will. When Manning broke the passing touchdown record with fifty five touchdowns (the previous record was Tom Brady’s fifty in 2007) it was surreal, as this is one of the most prestigious accomplishments a quarterback could have. It perfectly represented the incredible season the Broncos had.
One: The Broncos First Superbowl Victory In 1998
It’s hard to put into words what the first championship means to a sports oriented city. As a person born in the nineties, the first Broncos Superbowl in 1998 feels like mythological folklore. John Elway is the legend in Denver because of this game. Sure, he had been to three super bowls before this and the Broncos won it all the next year, but this game is by far the most important. Before Super Bowl thirty two The Broncos and John Elway were looked at as a team who worked so hard to get so close to winning it all, just to lose in the end. They went to three super bowls and had many deep playoff runs in the last ten years. They had a historical loss in the super bowl to the Washington Redskins, losing 55-10. This all changed after they won the Superbowl against the Green Bay Packers in 1998. The entire 1997-1998 season was one to remember in Denver, but this game is symbolic of it. Specifically, the most memorable moment of the game was Elway’s “helicopter play” where he leaps into a defender, spinning his thirty eight year old body into the end-zone. There are plenty of great moments in the history of the Denver Broncos, but none have yet been more important than this one.