Category Archives: History
The NFL season is almost upon us, and while I absolutely refuse to watch the preseason games, that doesn’t mean that I don’t like my football. I am, of course, a lifelong Broncos fan. My family moved to Denver in 1966, residing in our first home about three blocks from (what was then) Bear’s Stadium. I was three. By the time I was in Little League, I was spending Sunday afternoons sitting on my bed listening to the games on the radio.
By 1972, I was a diehard fan, and to celebrate my 10th Birthday, the 1973 team had its first winning season and first real run at a playoff spot, before losing to the Raiders in the final week of the season.
I have watched all five Super Bowl losses and both of the wins. I have watched every playoff game and virtually every regular season game since 1972 (In 1981 I was in Basic Training, so I missed Oct-Dec) and in 1983-86 I was at sea for parts of the seasons. I have attended games at Mile High and on the road, and while I’ve toured Invesco, I most probably will never be able to go to a game there.
Here then are my personal Top 5 Bronco Games, plus the Greatest Game ever, which was too big to even be listed among the regular five. These are the games that in my mind (and some on tape) I have replayed hundreds of times, savoring each moment, again and again.
#5 – 10/16/1977 Denver at Oakland
I did actually miss this game because I was on a bus deep in the Rockies travelling from Grand Junction back to Pueblo after a Church youth conference weekend. But this was the first game where the Broncos absolutely slobber knocked the Raiders. In Oakland. The defending Super Bowl Champs expected another easy run to the AFC West and AFC titles to defend the crown, but got a serious bitch slap when Jim Turner, one of the last of the straight on Place Kickers (and hero of Super Bowl III for the Jets), CAUGHT a Touchdown pass. When we finally got out of the deep canyons and could tune in the radio, it was already 30-7 Denver. The bus erupted with joy and nobody was more excited than me for Monday Night’s Half-Time Highlights (this was long before ESPN and even cable), to actually see the play. Denver sent a message that day that a return to the Super Bowl for Oakland was not going to be a given, they’d have to earn it.
#4 – 1/19/2014 2013 AFC Championship – New England @ Denver
Peyton Manning and the boys were sloppy the week before, while the Patriots looked to be peaking. It was one of those games I had really big doubts about, which turned out to be correct, just off by two weeks. The running game was incredible as the Broncos destroyed the Patriots and helped Peyton Manning join John Elway and Fran Tarkenton among the most loosing Super Bowl QB’s.
#3 – 10/191975 Cleveland @ Denver
One of the games I attended at old Mile High Stadium. I faked being not-sick (I had a kidney infection) to be able to go to the game with my best friend, Jeff. We sat near the south end of the west side of the Horseshoe, and groaned and complained as the Broncos almost scored twice, only to have Oliver Ross fumble the ball twice inside the five yard line. Still, with only seconds left, the Broncos only trailed 15-13. Problem? The Boys were 53 yards away. Enter Jim Turner (again). The ball had just enough to hit the crossbar, bounce up in the air, and then fall over for a 16-14 win. And two very happy 12 year olds went home to dream about being placekickers for our favorite team.
#2 – 1/1/1978 1977 AFC Championship – Oakland @ Denver
In some ways, this game could be #1. The third matchup of the season and the rubber match between the two teams would decide who would go to Super Bowl XII. The Raiders were still the defending champs, and fresh of the “Ghost to the Post” overtime thriller in Baltimore. Denver had manhandled the always dangerous Steelers the week before, and now it was down to two original AFL West teams to settle what many still considered to be the AFL championship. The game was not without controversy, and perhaps in today’s era with instant replay things would be different. But one image stands out to me still. Under two minutes to go, Oakland now out of time outs. Third down and 4 or so. If the Raiders hold, the get the ball back and can tie or win. They always seem to do it. Otis Armstrong takes the ball off tackle. As the dust settles in the setting sun of a Winters New Years Day in Denver, a single hand rises out of the pile… and makes the #1 sign. First down, game over, AFL/AFC Champs! Yes, we lost the Super Bowl to Dallas. But many (if not most) Bronco fans still feel that beating Oakland in that game meant more anyway.
#1 – 1/25/1998 1997 Season SUPER BOWL XXII – Green Bay v Denver
All the years of frustration and end of season “Wait ’till Next Year,” finally comes to an end as John Elway literally takes the team on his back and helicopters his way to the Championship. For all of the years that he literally won games by himself, this was the day when he relied on Terrell Davis and a Defense that played so hard it (again) literally knocked itself out to get the final outcome. Davis would be the MVP, but I’ve always felt that this is Elway’s most underappreciated game. We remember the helicopter play, but do we also recall that he had a Touchdown run on the QB keeper we watched for years? He had another run for a first down as well, but the biggest thing of all was that when things didn’t go well early, he didn’t let it get to him this time. The next Super Bowl would be his showcase, but this is the one that he did as much as ever to win. And as they say, this one’s for John. He certainly earned it and we loved him even more for it.
And the “All Time Best Broncos Game Ever?”
9/30/1973 – Chicago Bears at Denver
Yes, the final score was Chicago 33, Denver 14. But this was the first game ever to which I went. With my dad. I have no idea to this day how he got the tickets. They were always sold out, and I don’t know what he did to buy them or trade for them or whatever. But for my 10th birthday, he got them for me and the next Sunday we went to Mile High for the first time. I had the time of my life. This game is even featured by NFL Films. There’s a famous scene where Abe Gibron, the coach of the Bears is singing “Jeremiah was a Bullfrog,” during the pregame. That was at this game. My dad and I cheered, booed, smacked our knees in disgust at the eleven penalties the Broncos had as they played what had to be their worst game of the year. And we stayed until the bitter end because we didn’t want to miss any part of it. We cheered for Bobby Anderson, and Lyle Alzado (my then favorite) and we had hot dogs and sodas. I still have the tickets and it is still, one of the best days of my life. You can tell me all you want about how great your team is, but on the best days of my sports fan life, my team got crushed 33-14.
Through it all, the Broncos have lost more than they have won.
And I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
Just after dawn broke over the Central Pacific atoll known as Midway Island, six brand new Grumman TBF Avengers rolled down the runway, took flight and headed northwest to find four Japanese Aircraft Carriers that had already launched their own strike against the island. These six planes were a part of a larger attack group from the island, made up of Marine Vindicator Dive Bombers and USAAC B-26’s and B-17’s. It was a mix and match force, scraped together and with little training on how to attack ships at sea.
The TBF’s were also brand new. Lt. Langdon Fieberling had stayed behind with a half of VT-8 (Torpedo Bomber Squadron 8) assigned to USS Hornet (CV-8) when the ship left Norfolk for the Pacific Ocean. He and the other pilots took possession of the new bombers, and began to train with them as they crossed the Country and later the Pacific, to meet up with the ship at Pearl Harbor. By the time they got to Hawaii, Hornet had already left to face to Japanese Fleet at Midway. Read the rest of this entry
Let me speak and I will feel relieved; I shall open my lips and speak up!
– Job 32:20
I chose to become Jewish.
What I never really counted on, although the truth is that I had always hoped for, was having a child of my own to which I could pass on my beliefs. By the time I was 46, I was pretty much resigned to the idea of not having my own child, and then on Thanksgiving Eve 2009 I learned that I was going to be a father. Read the rest of this entry
As you probably know, California has been suffering through an extreme drought, so moments like today have been few far between. The latest Pineapple Express hit this weekend, and on Sunday I headed out on the porch to enjoy the rain. A few minutes later Ben came outside with me, and then wanted his water socks so that he could run in the rain. It didn’t take long before he discovered the river of water in the street. For the next 45 minutes he “rode the log flume ride” at his favorite imaginary Amusement Park. It was a great day!
So the house is a mess as I started building my Home Office/Studio late yesterday. I have rearranged my various homes and apartments numerous times in my life, but this time it’s proving to be a challenge. With a four year old who is NOT at all happy with change, and with the idea that the other half of the space will now be his “bedroom,” to my knees and fifty-one year old back not remembering why I started getting rid of so many books a few years back, and it was not just because of the invention of the Kindle! By the by, the Kindle has now been declared bad. By bad, I mean that the Main Stream Media has decided that the device is both “uncool” and environmentally unfriendly. I’m serious. You can READ IT HERE. Read the rest of this entry
So it’s been a week since I quit my job as a Talk Radio Show Host. There were reasons why I quit that would be pretty obvious to anybody who has ever worked at a creative enterprise managed by disconnected and micro-management folks. Needless to say, it’s been an odd week, with moments of great stress and moments that feel like I dumped an 800lbs gorilla off my back. Its weird, since technically today is my first day unemployed. I have never been unemployed before, and frankly, it’s a weird feeling.
I had originally decided that I was going to spend “a few weeks” – however that is defined – going Mr. Mom, which would be great. Ben and I have spent the time doing things like going to Kanga Zoom, getting haircuts, and even going to Wendy’s to get chocolate Frosty’s.
I have a couple of writing projects and a home office/studio to get set up so that some projects, like CONSTITUTION THURSDAY can continue. I have been asked by some to do a regular podcast, and I have a plan for a few months from now to go into business for myself. But for now, I am going to actually relax a bit. Read the rest of this entry
2014 was a year of learning to let go of things I cannot control any longer. So it was fitting that on the second to the last day of the year, we made our way to my favorite place, Yosemite National Park. I even bought an annual pass, since I figured that if I go just two more times in the next year it will pay for itself.
This place is just indescribably beautiful and interesting and fun. I lived here for nearly 15 years before I ever went, and now I wonder what was wrong with me? The very first time, in May of last year, we went over Tioga Pass on the way to Reno, after getting lost and ending up on the Valley Floor for an hour or so too. We went back two weeks later for a family picnic at the Cathedral Picnic grounds, where Ben threw rocks in the river and the ducks quacked for him. It was fantastic, and I have been waiting for an reason to go back. Read the rest of this entry
Not to put to fine a point on the matter, but when I was in High School and on into the Navy, I was a Wargamer.
Along with my best friends, Lee, Mike and Mick, we recreated every major battle and war you can name, and even a few imaginary ones. We even had our own FRPG that involved a Wizard who was to teach us our needed skills who had a bladder control problem. It’s a long story, and basically it involved the fact that we thought ourselves “too cool for school,” as it were. We did learn a valuable lesson, but frankly I have forgotten whether it dealt with the fact that he (the wizard) managed to take a leak on all of us while laughing at us or whether or not we ever got our revenge. Which now that I am in my 50’s with the standard issue enlarged prostate I am uncertain that I would be able to help much if we ever did decide to take him on again.
Anyway, back to my point which was not to demonstrate once again how much of a nerd and geek I was at Ogden High School from 1979-1981, but that I still have a trunk full of these games which, despite the prices that some of them fetch on eBay (example), I cannot bring myself to part with because (wait for it…) the last time we were all together (circa 1984?) we had a long discussion about “getting together” in the future, renting a big hotel room and spending a vacation playing all of our old favorites.
So naturally, I have to keep them all. Read the rest of this entry
Like most boys, my son has a healthy and constantly shifting set of interests that includes, believe it or not, old MTV music videos. Luckily, we live in the 21st Century, the Age of YouTube. Since MTV no longer actually plays any videos, we can still find them on the interwebs, and there is nothing to compare to hearing my three year old son singing songs used to sing along with back when MTV actually did play music. Like me back then, he will sit here for an hour singing and watching. It’s amazing.
And like everybody else who listens to pop music, he gets one song in his head and watches it over and again, learning more and more words each time through. Eventually he is sing-shouting at the top of his lungs that Video Killed that Radio Star.
Which is oddly appropriate given that the famous Buggles hit and first video ever aired on MTV is all about how technology will eventually take over the world and instead of using our imaginations we will sit at the kitchen table and watch moving pictures of the story the artist wants to tell. We can’t rewind, we’ve gone too far. Read the rest of this entry
So the first day of 2014 is the last day of my vacation. The great thing about this time off has been that Ben and I have spent so much time together having fun, sharing the events of the Holidays and just flat out playing.
I think that he knows that it’s almost over, this morning it was as if he was trying to pack every game we’ve played into the morning. I started writing down all the things he was asking me to be and I kept saying, “No, I’m just your Daddy.”
About ten minutes before Cami got home and just as the Parade was ending, he climbed up in my lap and said, “You’re my Daddy.”