The next victory recorded by the Denver Broncos will be the team’s 400th, a significant number by any standard but one that truly has to be regarded as monumental by those who have watched the team since its inception.
And if you have not, as is presumably the case with most readers, I can only say, you had to be there.
You simply could never believe it otherwise.
This franchise truly was the poster child for the worst imaginable team in pro sports.
Members of the expansion American Football League, “The Foolish Club,” as the eight owners were dubbed, the Broncos played their first two seasons in second hand uniforms.
Roster cuts sometimes were made as players got on the bus after a game, as in, “Get on,” or “Not so fast . . .”
Players lived barracks style in their first training camp.
There were no weights, so the team equipment man poured cement in some buckets and put a bucket at the end of a metal pipe for weight training.
If you had told the team’s few season ticket holders, back in the day, that the game and league would grow like this, and that when it did, the Broncos would be at the forefront of that growth, you would have been considered a candidate for mental assistance.
This is a team that used to record its annual wins on the fingers of one hand, and usually did not have to utilize the thumb.
Counting that way, it’s a long haul to 400.
But now the math shows that of the eight original AFL franchises, only the Oakand Raiders have won more games than Denver.
Of all the teams in football, only the Dallas Cowboys have been to more Super Bowls–Dallas has played in seven and the Broncos in six.
The Broncos have the best home record in the NFL from 1974 to the present.
The Broncos have more home wins in that time frame, 35 years, than any other pro, college, or high school team has amassed in any consecutive 35-year period in the history of the sport of football.
And where are we now?
The Broncos are 4-1 and certainly appear to be a franchise with a very strong foundation for continued success, the long term record that any team would desire.
So while that 400th win, when it comes, likely will be breezed over as barely a footnote in the sports section, it is a lot more than that to those who remember the day.
Lest we forget.