View Full Version : Peyton Manning will wear No. 18 with Broncos

03-20-2012, 11:53 AM
It's official...

Peyton Manning will wear No. 18 with Broncos (http://blogs.denverpost.com/broncos/2012/03/20/peyton-manning-wear-18-broncos/12674/)
Posted March 20, 2012, 11:32 am MT By Mike Klis (http://blogs.denverpost.com/broncos/author/mike-klis/)

After talking personally with Frank Tripucka in the last half hour or so, new Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning will wear No. 18 in Denver.

The number had been retired since Tripucka retired in 1963.

“”It’s perfectly OK for him to go ahead and use it,’’ Frank Tripucka said last week from his New Jersey home. “” I would be honored to have him wear it.’’
Tripucka’s No. 18 is one of three numbers retired by the Broncos. The others are Floyd Little’s No. 44 and John Elway’s No. 7. Manning wore No. 18 during his first 14 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts.
“”It’s been retired for 50 years,’’ Tripucka said. “”That’s long enough.’’
Tripucka went on to make a nice living as a New Jersey beer baron. He and his wife Randy will both turn 85 this year.
Frank and Randy had a family of six boys _ including basketball great Kelly Tripucka _ and one daughter.

One look at Frank Tripucka’s stat sheet might have the modern-day Bronco fan wondering why the team retired his number. He played just four seasons with the Broncos, albeit their first four seasons of 1960-63 and his record was 13-23-1. He threw 51 touchdown passes against 85 interceptions.

But never mind that in those days almost every quarterback threw more picks than TDs. (The theory was if a quarterback didn’t throw a couple picks, he was too conservative. Except for when the offense got close to the goal line. Then teams first tried to run it in.) And never mind that no quarterback had ever thrown for 3,000 yards in a season until Tripucka reached that mark in 1960. Tripucka’s story leaves little doubt that he deserved to have the first number retired in Broncos history.

The American Football League dared to take on the NFL in 1960. The Broncos dared to become an AFL charter member. The late Bob Howsam was the Broncos’ first owner before he later gained greater fame as the architect of Cincinnati’s “Big Red Machine’’ baseball team in the mid-1970s.

“”Bob Howsam brought Frank in to coach,’’ Randy Tripucka said. “”Frank wanted to retire. But they weren’t doing well. A lot of teams weren’t making it in that first year. Frank said after a couple practices that he would play. Mr. Howsam was thrilled that Frank would be his quarterback.’’

Tripucka started all but five games through the first three seasons, but after putting off retirement for three years, he was done. He hung around for a couple weeks in 1963. Played a little, but not much. Just enough to realize he was finished.

A forever appreciative Howsam retired his number pretty much on the spot.

“”Mr. Howsam said to Frank, “What can I do for you?’’ Randy said. “”He said. “You helped keep this franchise going. You didn’t drop out like other people.’ Frank said, “Nothing, I’m fine.’’ And then one day, Mr. Howsam said to him: “I’d like to retire your number.’ So it was a different situation than it was for Floyd Little, say. So Frank was thrilled with the honor, but he’d be thrilled the other way, also.’’

03-20-2012, 11:56 AM
Good story

03-20-2012, 12:03 PM
A public quote from Manning thanking Tripucka would be best.

03-20-2012, 12:04 PM
That's pretty cool. I wonder if this has ever been done before.

03-20-2012, 12:05 PM
A public quote from Manning thanking Tripucka would be best.

I think Manning privately asking and thanking Tripucka is better.

03-20-2012, 12:07 PM
It would be classy to have a bit more acknowledgement of Tripucka. I'm hoping Peyton says something in the presser today, at least to quiet down stuff like this:


Tripucka shouldn’t have even been asked. No player with a retired jersey ever should face that request. That’s the whole purpose of the retired jersey. It’s retired. If a jersey isn’t going to stay retired, then don’t retire it.

It’s not as if the Broncos retire jerseys recklessly. According to the Official NFL Record & Fact Book for 2011, only three have been set aside: 18, 7 (John Elway), and 44 (Floyd Little).

Some would say, “Who cares?” To that I say, “Exactly.”

It doesn’t matter which number Manning wears. Thus, he should respect the fact that Tripucka’s jersey is retired, and Peyton should pick a different number.

Like 16, the number he wore in college.

Then, if he delivers a couple of Super Bowl wins as a Bronco, he could become the first NFL player who has two different numbers retired, with two different teams.

And no one should ever ask him to unretire either of them.

03-20-2012, 12:08 PM
Didn't Steve Largent do the same thing for Rice when he went to Seattle?

✡✡ JOSHUA ✡✡
03-20-2012, 12:13 PM
“”It’s been retired for 50 years,’’ Tripucka said. “”That’s long enough.’’

It wasn't retired for 50 years. The Broncos issued No. 18 to WR Grant Mattos in training camp of 2005.

03-20-2012, 12:15 PM
Hopefully Frank is enjoying the attention that he is getting from all this now...




1960: Broncos Defeat Patriots as AFL Debuts

As for Denver (http://fs64sports.blogspot.com/2010_09_09_archive.html), Head Coach Frank Filchock, a former NFL quarterback who went to the CFL, had been coaching with Saskatchewan and followed his general manager, Dean Griffing, to Colorado. Filchock recruited Frank Tripucka, a product of Notre Dame who had also played in the NFL and CFL, as an assistant coach but by the time the season rolled around Tripucka was the starting quarterback. As was the case with several of the AFL teams, money was tight and the Broncos wore uniforms that had been discarded by a defunct college all-star contest known as the Copper Bowl and became the joke of the league: mustard yellow (charitably called gold) jerseys with brown pants and helmets and vertically-striped brown and yellow socks.

The Broncos wasted no time in showing off some razzle-dazzle in returning the Patriots’ opening kickoff as HB Bob McNamara handed off to HB Al Carmichael, who had once returned a kickoff 106 yards for the Packers, on a reverse; Carmichael made it to his 17 yard line. Denver kept the ball on the ground, with Carmichael running five yards on the first play from scrimmage, and had to punt.

36-year-old QB Ed “Butch” Songin, a local product from Boston College who had also played briefly in Canada, completed the AFL’s first pass, to end Jim Colclough. There was no scoring until late in the period when Gino Cappelletti, who had played collegiately at the University of Minnesota and briefly in the CFL after going undrafted by the NFL, kicked a 35-yard field goal that put the Patriots up by 3-0.

Denver got on the board in the second quarter when Tripucka threw a swing pass to Carmichael who dashed 59 yards for a touchdown and the score stood at 7-3 at halftime.

The Broncos scored on another big play in the third quarter as HB Gene Mingo returned a punt 76 yards for a TD; however the exhausted Mingo, who also was the team’s placekicker, missed the ensuing extra point attempt.

Both defenses played well, and the Patriots made a big play defensively in the fourth quarter when DB Chuck Shonta intercepted a pass and returned it 52 yards to set up a 10-yard touchdown pass from Songin to Colclough. The Broncos held on, however, and won by a final score of 13-10.

03-20-2012, 12:24 PM
Our first #18 made the Polish-American Hall of Fame...


Frank Tripucka

Inducted June 12, 1997

A strong-armed, drop-back passer, the New Jersey native, after three years at Notre Dame (1946-1948) where he led the Irish to a 9-0-1 record in 1948, moved on to a 15-year career in professional football (1949-1963): four in the NFL (Detroit Lions, Chicago Cardinals), seven in the Canadian Football League (Saskatchewan Roughriders) and four in the AFL as QB for the Denver Broncos. He held all of the Broncos’ passing records until John Elway came along – except one that will never be broken: Tripucka threw the first touchdown pass in AFL history.



Starred in Three Pro Leagues

By: Buck Jerzy

When Frank Tripucka played football he was simply known as “The Trip.” And what a trip it’s been, from his days as a skinny high school quarterback in Bloomfield, New Jersey, to college and pro football and then the business world.

Today, he and his wife, Randy (Jewkes) live in semi-retirement in Essex Fells, NJ, play golf, garden, travel a lot, and enjoy their seven children and eight grandchildren. Tripucka owned a Miller beer distributorship for 23 years, retired and then got back in business running a plastics company.

One of his children is well known to Detroit area sports fans. Kelly, a former Notre Dame All-American basketball player, played five seasons for the Detroit Pistons.

The first stop for “The Trip” back in 1945 was South Bend, Indiana. He played four years at Notre Dame and was a member of two Fighting Irish national championship teams in 1946 and 1947. During Tripucka’s collegiate career, Notre Dame compiled a 33-2-3 won-lost-tied record.

“Unfortunately for me, I played behind some great quarterbacks at ND,” he explained. “Namely Frank Dancewicz, George Ratterman and fellow Polish Hall of Famer Johnny Lujack.”

After Lujack won the Heisman Trophy and moved on to the National Football League, Tripucka became the No. 1 signal caller and led the Irish to a near-perfect season in 1948.

“We finished second in the Associated Press poll to Michigan by only two votes because we tied Southern California 14-14 in the last game of the season after nine consecutive victories,” he said.

Notre Dame had a controlled offense and Tripucka threw only 91 times that season, completing 53 for 660 yards and 11 touchdowns. His favorite target was another Polish Hall of Famer, Leon Hart, who caught four TD passes.

Hart remembers Tripucka as one of the first great drop-back quarterbacks. “Frank was an amazingly accurate passer,” the former Heisman Trophy winner and All-Pro end said. “He possessed great mechanics and was an outstanding student of the game.”

The Trip’s next stop was professional football after playing in the East-West Shrine and Chicago All-Star football games. The Philadelphia Eagles made him their No. 1 choice in the NFL draft, but traded him to the Detroit Lions before the 1949 season began. After starting at quarterback as a rookie, Tripucka played in the next three seasons for the Chicago Cardinals.

Next came seven years in the Canadian Football League as the star passer for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, coached by Frank Filchock.

When the American Football League was founded in 1960, Filchock was hired as the first head coach of the Denver Broncos. He took Tripucka with him to Denver, not as a quarterback, but as an assistant coach. That didn’t last long as Tripucka recalls, “We were playing a pre-season game and both our quarterbacks couldn’t hit the side of a barn. So at halftime, Filchock says to me ‘Trip, you know the plays, you’re in shape, your arm is okay, so how about going in and giving the fans their money’s worth?’ I went in the second half, got the team moving and ended up playing for four seasons.”

Tripucka was the first pro quarterback to throw for more than 3,000 yards in a season and his exciting aerial style was perfect for the new AFL. He was referred to as a “grizzled veteran.”

The 6-foot-2-inch quarterback also was renowned for his ability as a coach on the field. This skill served him well as the early Broncos had no organized system of offense. No playbooks existed, there never was a game plan, and sometimes Tripucka would take a small stick and draw a play on the ground in the huddle. His offensive line also wasn’t very experienced. Tripucka described some of the linemen up front as “watch-out blockers.” As the enemy tacklers drove through, his linemen would yell, “watch out!”

The “Trip” retired from football in 1963 after 15 pro seasons and held all the Denver passing records until John Elway came along and started to break them one by one. One accomplishment that can never be broken is that Tripucka threw the first touchdown pass in the history of the AFL.

The Broncos thought so much of Tripucka’s contributions to the franchise that they later retired his uniform No. 18. The only other Denver player at the time to have his number retired was great running back Floyd Little (No. 44).

Tripucka’s father left Poland in 1910 at age 14 and settled in New Jersey. “Our name originally was spelled Trypuczka, but got changed somewhere along the way,” he explained. “Also, my first name is Francis.”

In addition to his family and business, Tripucka has been very active in community affairs for years. He is a past president of the Lions Club, Boys Club, Essex Chapter of the National Football Foundation and Bloomfield Basketball Boosters, plus being an active member of the NFL and Notre Dame alumni clubs.

Being elected to a Hall of Fame is nothing new to Tripucka. He has already been enshrined in the following halls: New Jersey Sports, Colorado Sports, Denver Broncos Ring of Fame and Bloomfield NJ Sports.

The latest stop on Trip’s trip is here, in the Detroit area, at the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame.

03-20-2012, 01:28 PM
Wow, he began his speech thanking Tripucka! That's more than I hoped. Manning is off to a good start.

03-20-2012, 01:30 PM
A public quote from Manning thanking Tripucka would be best.

It's in the press conference

Bronco Yoda
03-20-2012, 01:36 PM
Classy statement from PM regarding Tripucka & Tebow.

03-20-2012, 01:45 PM
That's pretty cool. I wonder if this has ever been done before.

Jerry Rice did it with Seattle and Steve Largent.

Pony Boy
03-20-2012, 02:24 PM
Maybe in 30 years they will be asking John Elway the same question and he will ok with it.....