I thought it might be fun to have a series of blogs (and, since it’s my blog, whatever I think might be fun seems pretty likely to find its way into print) on Broncos by the numbers.
The team has just completed 50 years of play, a milestone in any franchise history, and over that time a lot of players have made contributions, large and small, to what the Broncos are. It’s like family members, some more accomplished than others but when you are in a family, you are in for keeps. So too for the Broncos. Once a Broncos, always a Bronco.
Those players have worn a lot of numbers over the years, and we are going to take a look, over time, at various uniform numbers.
Ten Broncos have worn number “30″ in team history.
Let’s take a quick anecdotal look at them.
Clarence Walker (halfback) started things off in 1963, with no distinction whatsoever, but it picked up from there.
Hewritt Dixon was a hard running fullback for Denver from 1963-65 before being traded to the Raiders , who converted him to ticket end, where he really was a prominent member of a very tough team. Tough guy.
But not as tough as Cookie Gilchrist, who wore “30 for Denver in 1967. I have described Cookie as The Terminator in shoulder pads, but really, Cookie was a lot tougher than that. The Pro Football Encyclopedia describes him as one of the 250 greatest players to ever play the game. When he got into the backfield, defensive backs backpedaled away to set up a better angle for the hit. I would say he was a man among boys, but more like a man among men. I have blogged about him before, and you can check out the archives if you want to read more.
Oliver Ross wore it from 1973-75 and really fumbled a lot. Good back, but had a fumbling problem.
Jim Jensen wore “30″ when the Broncos went to their first Super Bowl in 1977 — an Iowa product, he was a smooth running back. It seemed so easy for him. JJ sustained a knee injury in 1978, was not the same after, still lives in Denver and is a successful businessman. Players called him “The Machine” because he had a great physique and executed the drills so routinely, but the knee injury shortened his career.
Remember Steve Sewell? One of the best all-purpose running backs in Bronco history, who once threw a touchdown pass to John Elway, wore “30″ from 1985-92, including as a key member of three Super Bowl teams. Steve now is a coach at Colorado State University-Pueblo. Very versatile player, wonderful guy in community relations for the Broncos, a real class act.
Then came TD.
Not much you can say about Terrell Davis, and if you watched him play you knew you were watching greatness. A Hall of Fame candidate, NFL regular season MVP, Super Bowl MVP, 2,000-yard rusher, and pro football’s all-time leader with consecutive 100-yard games in consecutive postseason wins (seven). The only player ever to have accomplished all four of those things. He was a genuinely great player in every way.
Free agent running back Mike Bell wore it in 2007, and most recently earned his own Super Bowl ring as a member of the New Orleans Saints.
Most recently, running back Cory Boyd wore it in 2008 and then current safety and fine special teamer David Bruton was assigned the number last year and of course continues in it, a young man with his whole career ahead of him.
Lots of Bronco history in number 30, with “TD” setting an especially high standard for everyone else to follow. One of the interesting things about history is that there is as much of it in the future as there is in the past!