This week it’s the Broncos vs. the Tennessee Titans in the Music City, Nashville, Tenn.
Everybody knows that. But what a lot of people have not spent a lot of time thinking about is that for 51 years now, the Tennessee Titans franchise has had just one owner, Bud Adams, and the two teams have been playing one another for 51 years, though not annually.
And back when the American Football League was being formed in 1959, Denver’s Bob Howsam had signed on as one of the new league’s owners and the National Football League pushed one final time to kill the young league with a franchise promises to AFL founder Lamar Hunt, who had the Dallas franchise in the startup organization.
Bud Adams also was the kind of owner who could write his own ticket financially in the NFL.
But both Hunt and Adams stuck with Howsam and created sports history.
The Broncos have faced the Tennessee/Houston franchise in preseason, regular season, and postseason play. They even faced each other in Denver’s first ever game played with replacement players, during the 1987 player strike.
Just for the fun of it, I did a little research on exactly many venues these two combatants have faced off in, and the tally is 12.
They have played in Bears Stadium, Mile High Stadium, and INVESCO Field at Mile High.
They have played each other at Houston’s Jeppesen Stadium, Rice Stadium, the Astrodome, at Vanderbilt and at The Coliseum in Tennessee (now LP Field).
But it really gets a little unusual when you look at the early exhibition histories of these clubs.
The Oilers were Denver’s third opponents ever in 1960 exhibition play, and that was at Jeppesen Stadium.
The following year they played another preseason tilt, this time before 10,087 at Mobile, Alabama.
The next year they kicked off exhibition play in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Oilers won all three of those games, by thumpings of 42-3 (1960), 42-10 (1961) and 33-17 (1962).
In 1963 they again christened a new park, this time with the Broncos taking a 27-10 win at the University of Denver’s Hilltop Stadium. It was watched by 11,445 and it was an historic event-the Broncos’ first home preseason game in franchise history.
They had a game in one final different venue in 1965, with the Broncos absorbing another preseason pasting, 25-3 at Alamo Stadium in San Antonio.
That’s a lot of different locker rooms over the years, and a lot of competition for two AFL originals.
The only two AFL originals who still have the same owners, by the way, from 1960 to now, are the Titans and Ralph Wilson’s Buffalo Bills.