Thursday, December 21, 2000
Updated: December 22, 6:34 PM ET
Comebacks, snow and unbelievable noise
Denver fans share their memories of Mile High Stadium:
To paraphrase "Field of Dreams" The memories are so thick that you
have to brush them away. Hey, it's not baseball, but so what? Mile High
was indeed a field of dreams. I followed the Broncos
since the late 60's. In my opinion, the defining moment of the
franchise, was when Tom Jackson intercepted Bert Jones in
the year that the Broncos first went to the Super Bowl. Jackson
raced to the opposite end zone in the waning moments of a
close game. This win secured Denver's first playoff appearance
ever. But not only that. Tom Jackson epitomized the spirit of
the Mountain West. You can't talk about the Broncos as Denver's
team, or even Colorado's Team. It belongs to the people of the
west. Jackson was so appropriate to make this special moment.
Satellite Beach FL
My favorite Mile High memory was Floyd Little's last game in 1974. It was the coldest game I ever attended and the game had no playoff implications whatsoever against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Broncos played their hearts out in the farewell game for their first franchise player. Floyd had so many great seasons for the Broncos, but he had lost his starting job to Otis Armstrong for the last few years - this was his chance to go out with a bang. He had a tremendous game, with coach John Ralston showing total class by starting Floyd and letting him run back punts - I think he broke a long run on a screen pass, but I can't remember if he scored. Floyd had a huge day on the ground, catching passes and returning kicks. Even though the Broncos blew the Eagles out, and the temperature was hovering around 10 degrees, the Mile High Maniacs stayed until the very end - as the final gun sounded, the Bronco players hoisted Floyd Little on their shoulders and carried number 44 off the field into the Broncos locker room, which at that time was located under the South Stands. The South Standers, the most vocal and loyal of Bronco boosters, were waiting for Floyd, chanting his name, as he was carried off the field in his last game. For those who don't remember Floyd Little, you missed one of the great running backs of all time - definitely up there with the great running backs of his day. Before Floyd Little arrived in Denver, the Broncos were not a good team, nor a good organization. They did not enjoy the fan base they do today - but Floyd Little's arrival and subsequent great play sparked huge interest in the Broncos. Without Floyd Little, Mile High Stadium would never have been renovated to its capacity of over 70,000 and the team and the city of Denver would never have enjoyed the great successes it has experienced over the past seasons. The fans of the Denver Broncos owe a great debt of gratitude to their first true superstar, Floyd Little, a great player and a class act.
Who can forget the 1992 playoff game against the Houston Oilers - the Drive Part II ? The Broncos overcome a 21-6 deficit to defeat Houston 26-24 in an AFC Divisional Playoff Game. This game had Mile High Magic written all over it.
Trailing 24-23, the Broncos were starting the drive at their own two yard line. John hit Michael Young on the first play for a 20 yard gain. After a few nervous plays, it was fourth down. John took the snap, and sprinted off to his left side and just made the first down marker. Amazingly, we were still in with a chance. Three plays later, after Vance Johnson was mugged on a cross-field dart by John that was ruled 'uncatchable' it was fourth down again. Could we possibly do it again ?
John took the snap, stepped up through the rush, jumped over an Oilers DL attempt at a tackle and as an Oilers CB was coming up to meet him, he flicked the "most beautiful duck of a pass you'll ever see" to a wide open Vance Johnson. Vance made about 40 yards on that play and after a shovel pass to Steve Sewell the Broncos were in field goal range.
But typically, Mile High Magic wasn't done yet. On the field goal attempt, Gary Kubiak just managed to get a low snap into position for David Treadwell to kick the winning field goal. I don't think I've ever seen a more exciting drive than the "Drive Part II". Mile High was rocking that night !
I grew up in Denver, and was in the stands when the Broncos were playing the Chargers in a regular season game. I think it was in '85 or 86 (Nov. 17, 1985 - Denver 30 San Diego 24 OT). The game went into overtime, and the Chargers were lining up for a long, but very makeable field goal. The first attempt was blocked, but officials ruled that the Broncos had called a time out before the play, and players couldn't hear the whistle because of the crowd noise. The second attempt (which counted) was blocked again, but this time Louis Wright picked up the ball and ran it back the other way for a touchdown. He threw the ball into the crowd and jumped on the fence to celebrate with the fans. I've never heard such a deafening roar of joy.
Colorado Springs, CO
"The Fumble" Ernest Byner going around left end for a certain score in the 1988 AFC Championship only to be stripped of the ball in the final minute. I'm sitting on the coach, a deranged little 12 year old already accustomed to Bronco panic attacks and I jumped in the air just as Mecklenburg, Smith and Atwater did, all four of us in unison.
My favorite memory at Mile High Stadium was the 1998 AFC Championship game against the New York Jets. I attended the game with three of my best friends -- we all met in college and instantly bonded because of our love for the Broncos. The Broncos came back to beat the Jets on their way to a second Superbowl victory. The most memorable part of the game, however, was watching John Elway take a victory lap around Mile High carrying the AFC Championship trophy. We all realized, along with the other 76,000 fans, that this was the last time we would ever see Elway play in Mile High. I don't think there was a dry eye in the stadium. No one could have scripted a finer ending for Elway's career at Mile High.
Having attended numerous games at Mile High, I have enjoyed many exciting moments. The first time I had the pleasure of attending a Bronco game was in 1977. It was a pre-season game against the Dallas Cowboys after they had beaten Denver in Superbowl XXII. I remember walking from the parking lot to the stadium and hearing a loud roar from the fans. They were so loud in fact that I thought I had missed a big play. Once I arrived at the stadium I was shocked to find out they were just introducing the starting lineup. My favorite memory, however, has to be the day I waited behind the south stands after a game, attempting to get autographs from players. Almost everyone had left and as I started walking to the gate John Elway came walking out of the stadium. It was so late after the game that there wasn't anybody around. Elway stopped and took the time to sign my program and asked how I enjoyed the game. I was very impressed with his down to earth personality. That was very early in his career (the year after the infamous drive in Cleveland) and since that time he has provided countless memories for me and my family!
Before a game against the Chiefs in December with the temps in the low teens and the wind blowing. The barrell man in the southstands wearing nothing but his Barrell getting the fans roaring as Thunder (the horse) dragged a stuffed dummy dressed in a Chiefs uniform (#12 I think) around the field at a full gallup.
I believe, on Jan. 1, 1978, The AFC Championship Game. Maybe Rob Lytle did fumble, maybe he didn't, but what I'll remember is the first of Haven Moses two touchdown passes. He skirted the sidelines and just kept going, leading the Broncos to their first Super Bowl. The fans went wild and rushed onto the field at the end of the game.
I grew up in Denver and started going to Broncos games when I was three, my favorite memory is a recurring one. I would be standing on top of seat in the east stands where my family had season tickets, late in the fourth quarter, when the broncos were coming back. I couldn't see anything, because I was little and I couldn't hear anything except enveloping roar of people stomping their feet and cheering as the broncos came back. It gives me chills to think about it, greatest fans in the NFL.
I've grown up with every fall sunday afternoon television set fixed on the orange and blue classics. I entered into my school days with Rich Karlis barefoot kicks, Elway's bullet passes, Atwater's tremendous hits, and a sense of wonder for why Pat Bowlen wears that fur coat.
But attending my first game changed my life, literally. The 1998 matchup versus the Jacksonville Jaguars in Mile High would make any fan of football a lifelong Bronco. Terrell enter the record books for one of the fastest backs to reach 1000, Shannon Sharpe became the all time leading receiver, and Elam tied the record kick. Even though I now reside in Dallas, I will make it to at least one home game every year. So therefore, all of my memories are hopefully yet to come!
1998. The first meeting between CU and CSU at Mile High, billed as the Rocky Mountain Showdown. The atmosphere was one of the most electric I've been a part of, and that was just in the parking lot before the game. Inside the stadium, the feeling was surreal. The excitement generated by the pre-game hype was unprecedented in the history of the series, and it seemed that all the fans knew they were a part of something special. Despite CU's dominance of the all-time series, CSU went into the game as the favorite. But in CU QB Mike Moschetti's debut, the Buffs scored early and often on their way to a rousing 41-14 victory.
Against the Houston Oilers in January of 1992 in the division playoffs. The Oilers punt the ball to the 2 yard line with about a 1:50 on the clock. John Elway scrambles for eight yards on 4th down and then on 4th and 10 scrambles and hits Vance Johnson down the sidelines to set up a field goal attempt. On the field goal attempt it skipped and the whole stadium gasped and Gary Kubiak handled it beautifully and David Treadwell knocked it through the uprights. It was the absolute loudest noise I have ever heard. The second most enduring memory is the look on Marty Schottenheimer's face after all the comebacks.
It was in December of 1969, I was 14 years old, and my family had just moved to Denver from Newport News, VA. I was homesick and missed my friends. My father, sensing this, got tickets to the last Bronco game of the season against Kansas City, also, I think, the last AFL game played in Denver. We had seats in the west stands on the 35 yard line on a sunny and moderate December day. The east stands were temporary so they could be taken down during baseball season. I just remember the fans stomping on those metal decks--the noise was deafening and the stadium actually shook. I've been a Bronco fan ever since.