View Full Version : South Standers Welcome Back "Half A Loaf" Lou in a Bills/Broncos 1973 Preseason Game

08-18-2011, 07:09 PM
On my sports blog at http://www.sportsindenver.blogspot.com/ remembering a 1973 visit by Lou Saban and the Buffalo Bills in a preseason game. Copy below.


http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_Q9iy6hoMxAc/SouArV5K_sI/AAAAAAAAAGc/94APOrqAcPs/s320/saban.jpg (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_Q9iy6hoMxAc/SouArV5K_sI/AAAAAAAAAGc/94APOrqAcPs/s1600-h/saban.jpg)
As I look forward to attending the Bills/Broncos preseason game Saturday night I think back to a memorable moment in a Bills/Broncos preseason game in 1973.

On a Saturday night ex-Bronco coach Lou Saban returned to Denver for the first time as Buffalo's coach after 4 1/2 years of losing seasons as the head man in Denver. I grew up going to games in the South Stands (http://sportsindenver.blogspot.com/2009/08/growing-up-in-south-stands.html), and on this night the South Standers had a special "welcome back" surprise for Coach Saban.

The game Lou Saban was most known for in his Denver tenure was a 10-10 tie with the Miami Dolphins during the 1971 season's opening weekend. In that game the Broncos got the ball with less than 2 minutes to go on their own 20 with the score tied. Rather than try to win the game, Saban called three plays on the ground to run out the clock. I heard the boos all around me in the South Stands as the fans were not happy with Saban's conservative play calling. After the game Saban was asked why the Broncos did not try to win the game. "Half a loaf is better than none," was Lou's reply, satisfied with the tie.

That remark was the beginning of the end for Lou Saban in Denver, who thereafter was always known as "half a loaf" Lou to the Denver fans. Saban resigned as Broncos head coach mid-season in 1971.

Back to that 1973 Bills/Broncos preseason game. South Standers tend to hold a grudge. When Lou Saban and the Bills took the field that Saturday night suddenly I saw half loaves of bread flying out of the South Stands from all around me onto the field. I'm not talking one or two loaves - it was hundreds! I did not get word of this mass South Stand protest myself, otherwise I would have invested $1 in a loaf and joined in the fun!

Sadly, I don't see the same spirit as those old South Standers had at Bronco games today. When I was at a Bronco QB Club meeting earlier this week (http://sportsindenver.blogspot.com/2011/08/visit-with-four-bronco-old-timers.html) the four retired Bronco vets commented how the team had lost its home field advantage moving from the old Mile High. The crowd noise and fan fervor just isn't the same at the new place.

I read this week that the Broncos home field is going to be renamed "Sports Authority Field At Mile High". As the Denver Post reports (http://www.denverpost.com/search/ci_18696458), one of the first interior changes will be to paint many of the interior pillars with:


Are you kidding me??!! I can imagine Al Davis and Raider Fans are laughing at what the once mighty Bronco home field advantage has become. This phrase sounds like something dreamed up by a marketing executive rather than a true Bronco fan.

While we can't throw stuff on the field anymore, like those 70's South Standers used to do, when the Raiders visit on opening weekend I say a loud "Boo!!!!!!" will suffice.

PS Those days when Lou Saban coached the Broncos weren't all bad. Read about the top 5 Bronco wins I remember from the Saban days (http://sportsindenver.blogspot.com/2009/08/remembering-lou-saban.html) in a blog post I wrote a couple of years ago.

PSS Trivia question: Without looking it up, who scored the only touchdown for the Broncos in that 1971 Dolphins game? This player was later traded for one of the greatest Broncos of all time, a Ring of Famer.

08-18-2011, 07:13 PM
just post the link, well go to your site and drive your traffic up a bit.

08-18-2011, 10:59 PM
As always, thanks for the history lesson.

08-19-2011, 12:09 AM
As a South Stander from the old stadium, it is nothing like the metal floors of yesteryears. Sure I have my individual seat and cup holder but I pay double now and the noise is nothing like it was. THAT was home advantage!

08-19-2011, 01:17 PM
Dwight Harrison scored the TD a year before pulling a gun on Alzado

bronco militia
08-19-2011, 01:53 PM
good stuff


ooof! I wonder if the same guy came up with "broncos country"

08-19-2011, 02:01 PM
God damn I love old timey nicknames.

08-19-2011, 02:05 PM

08-19-2011, 03:36 PM

08-19-2011, 03:37 PM
My goodness that is pathetic

08-19-2011, 07:51 PM
Dwight Harrison scored the TD a year before pulling a gun on Alzado

Right! I think it was his only one as a bronco. He was traded to the Bills for haven Moses & Buffalo switched him to cornerback.

08-19-2011, 08:04 PM
Dwight Harrison scored the TD a year before pulling a gun on Alzado

this intrigued me, so i googled it. found a guy who has a lot of old timer stories (calls it B.E-before elway) on his blog.


from the blog, list of key dates:
June 8, 1966. The AFL and NFL reach a merger agreement. Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell voted against the merger, saying, “Can you imagine a team like the Denver Broncos playing in my stadium?” Twenty-one years later, John Elway turned that prospect into a nightmare. The first AFL-NFL World Championship Game would be played in January 1967 and the merger would be complete by 1970.

holy ****,can you imagine something like this happening now?
1976. The Broncos finish 9-5, their best record yet, but they fail to make the playoffs and Coach John Ralston is blamed. The players believe he did a good job of assembling a quality team but a poor job of coaching that team and they mutiny. After the season, the so-called Dirty Dozen hold a press conference denouncing Ralston as coach. The Dirty Dozen included Lyle Alzado, Billy Thompson, Tom Jackson, Paul Smith, Haven Moses, Otis Armstrong, Rick Upchurch, Louis Wright, and punter Billy Van Heusen. At least 37 other Broncos signed an anti-Ralston petition circulated by the Dirty Dozen. Owner Gerald Phipps refused to fire Ralston but Ralston quit. Red Miller was hired to replace him.