PDA

View Full Version : 34 years ago today - first Bronco playoff win!


titan
12-24-2011, 05:43 AM
34 years ago today the Broncos played their first ever game on Christmas Eve, and their first playoff game. The key play of that game:

Craig Morton throws the clinching touchdown to Jack Dolbin on December 24, 1977 to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers:

<object height="385" width="640">


<embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/42B7ryWx_ds&hl=en_US&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" height="385" width="640"></object>

I posted this video last year as part of my "top 12 all time bronco plays" series and since then the video has had over 4,000 views. This past week a surprise visitor commented on the play on youtube:

"The catch was a thrill but the reaction of Mr. Phipps was even more rewarding" - Jack Dolbin

I was a 21 year old sitting in the South Stands for this game. 34 years later this game still is pretty incredible when you think about it. The Broncos were playing perhaps the greatest team of all time that day. The Steelers were in the middle of their fantastic run of 4 Super Bowl championships in 6 years with Terry Bradshaw as their quarterback. Yet the upstart Broncos beat Pittsburgh on what will always be a memorable Christmas Eve in Denver.

In narrating the team highlight film that year Pat Summerall said at the end "I can't imagine anything more fun than being a Denver Bronco fan in 1977." There's been no other year like it, until ... this year! The improbable run from a 1-4 start to a possible playoff berth reminds me much of that 77 team.

Here's a picture of the December 25, 1977 Denver Post sports section. Let's hope Tim Tebow and the Broncos produce a similar headline as a result of today's game with Buffalo!

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_Q9iy6hoMxAc/S6b45Vkt7wI/AAAAAAAAAIk/PUp4K_nvvOs/s320/IMG_0043.JPG (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_Q9iy6hoMxAc/S6b45Vkt7wI/AAAAAAAAAIk/PUp4K_nvvOs/s1600-h/IMG_0043.JPG)

Chris
12-24-2011, 05:49 AM
Awesome. Go Broncos.

errand
12-24-2011, 06:19 AM
That '77 team was coming off a 9-5 season, and went 12-2, losing around halfway point to Oakland and last game of season to eventual SB champion Dallas.....not sure how a 1-4 start turning into 8-6 generates the same excitement as we've not dominated anyone, nor have we beaten anyone good....let alone elite.

If this season reminds me more of the 1987 season where we needed a 4 game winning streak after our "replacement" team with Ken Karcher and Joe Dudek went 2-1 to come back and win our division

Bronco Rob
12-24-2011, 06:36 AM
I was seven years old and remember that game like it was yesterday.





:sunshine:

titan
12-24-2011, 09:15 AM
That '77 team was coming off a 9-5 season, and went 12-2, losing around halfway point to Oakland and last game of season to eventual SB champion Dallas.....not sure how a 1-4 start turning into 8-6 generates the same excitement as we've not dominated anyone, nor have we beaten anyone good....let alone elite.



For me 77 and 2011 are comparable in that no one expected us to win the division going into the season. Granted, the settings were different: in 77 we had come off a 9-5 season but that was a "soft" 9-5 (having lost to Oakland both games and getting blown out by the Patriots in a late season game with a shot to make the playoffs - broncos lost that game 38-14). After the 76 season the coach was fired and we got a new qb who was pretty much considered washed up after a bad season with the NY Giants (Craig Morton). Entering the season the prospects of that 77 team beating defending super bowl champ Oakland for the division crown were remote.

In 2011 the AFC West wasn't as strong as in 1977, but still no one really expected the Broncos to win the division this year coming off a 4-12 season, no offseason workouts, and with a new coaching staff.

The Elway years had their own thrills and disappointments, but at least with Elway at QB I always knew the Broncos had a decent chance at the division crown every year.

dsmoot
12-24-2011, 09:37 AM
For me 77 and 2011 are comparable in that no one expected us to win the division going into the season. Granted, the settings were different: in 77 we had come off a 9-5 season but that was a "soft" 9-5 (having lost to Oakland both games and getting blown out by the Patriots in a late season game with a shot to make the playoffs - broncos lost that game 38-14). After the 76 season the coach was fired and we got a new qb who was pretty much considered washed up after a bad season with the NY Giants (Craig Morton). Entering the season the prospects of that 77 team beating defending super bowl champ Oakland for the division crown were remote.

In 2011 the AFC West wasn't as strong as in 1977, but still no one really expected the Broncos to win the division this year coming off a 4-12 season, no offseason workouts, and with a new coaching staff.

The Elway years had their own thrills and disappointments, but at least with Elway at QB I always knew the Broncos had a decent chance at the division crown every year.


The superbowl wins were fantastic but 1977 was simply MAGIC. As you said, to beat the Steelers at their best followed by a Great Oakland team was unbelievable. However, I differ slightly with 1977 and 2011 comparisons. You could really see the Broncos improving the two previous years in 1977. You could see we had elite talent on the defense and we were young except for Billy Thompson (fair comparison). The defense produced a tremendous number of turnovers at key times. The offense was the suspect but had talent at RB, TE, WR and improving OL. Morton was the key piece but there was trepidation when we acquired him. He had been a turnover machine both in his later time in Dallas and with the NYG. In 1977, he transformed himself to a conservative QB protecting the ball. His experience and lack of turnovers was the difference that allowed the team to match up with anyone until the SB game.

Forward to 2011, we were 4-12 with serious questions on an defense that could not stop the run and pressure the QB. Our offense struggled to score in the redzone with a QB that could not create big plays when it counted. There was much more hope starting 1977 than 2011. The real measurement of the 2011 team will be next year when we will not be sneaking up on anyone.

broncocalijohn
12-24-2011, 10:01 AM
That year was somethingspecial and the whole Rocky Mountain region was into the Orange Crush. Painted homes, buildings, cars, etc brought excitement for the "cow town". This year has the hype of our super bowl years but the team and type of coverage cannot be compared. 1977 was my first year as a fan (at 7 years of age) and I remember the excitement more tghan certain plays.
Titan, can't wait for the next video about us beating the Raiders 34 years ago. "It's all over Fat Man!"

ol#7
12-24-2011, 10:06 AM
77' set the stage an ignited Broncomania. Too bad they didnt capitalize on early opportunities in SB XII and finish it off.

If anything, that fever has lied dormant a bit until this year.

Last week I wore my Bronco jacket out to the commissary and a young boy saw it an shouted "Look Mom, Broncos!" There is a real excitement for this team that hasnt been there for awhile, thats why I think these comparisons get made.

Rohirrim
12-24-2011, 10:39 AM
I've never experienced anything else in sports like that '77 season. I was wearing an orange afro and selling T-shirts outside of Mile High. This town was totally electric.

BroncoBuff
12-24-2011, 11:22 AM
I was seven years old and remember that game like it was yesterday.

:sunshine:

Not sure why, but I don't remember much from the Steelers game. The one I remember like yesterday was the Colts three weeks earlier. Both teams were 10-1, but it was so new to us we were waiting for the other glass slipper to drop any minute. Colts were the real power that season .... so when Tom Jackson intercepted Bert Jones for a long TD, that was a huge huge win.

The Steelers playoff game ... earlier that same day the Raiders beat the Colts in a wild-ass last second finish I think, in the other playoff. Ton of points. That one I remember.

And of course the Raiders again New Year's Day. Year of the Horse.