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Old 07-30-2009, 08:04 AM   #1
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Default This camp reminds me of 77

I started a new blog this week http://sportsindenver.blogspot.com/ and here's a copy of my first post:

As a denver broncos season ticket holder since 1968 I am having a strange sense of deja vu as the Broncos open training camp this week.

This 2009 Broncos season reminds me of the atmosphere just before the miracle 1977 season.

Consider in 1977 the Broncos:

fired their most successful head coach in team history (John Ralston)
hired the New England Patriots offensive coordinator as new coach (Red Miller)
were blown out in a late season game the year before to miss the playoffs (38-14 loss to new england in week 12)
entered the season with an imbalance - great defense, bad offense
entered the season with a new veteran starting quarterback acquired by trade (Craig Morton)

Fast forward to 2009, the Broncos:

fired their most successful head coach in team history (Mike Shanahan)
hired the New England Patriots offensive coordinator as new coach (Josh McDaniels)
were blown out in a late season game the year before to miss the playoffs (52-21 loss to san diego in week 17)
entered the season with an imbalance - great offense, bad defense
entered the season with a new veteran starting quarterback acquired by trade (Kyle Orton)

Both the 1977 edition and the 2009 edition of the Broncos had very difficult schedules.

1977:

St. Louis Cardinals 10 wins 4 losses in 1976
Buffalo Bills 2 wins 12 losses in 1976
@Seattle Seahawks 2 wins 12 losses in 1976
Kansas City Chiefs 5 wins 9 losses in 1976
@Oakland Raiders 13 wins 1 loss in 1976
@Cincinnati Bengals 10 wins 4 losses in 1976
Oakland Raiders 13 wins 1 loss in 1976
Pittsburgh Steelers 10 wins 4 losses in 1976
@San Diego Chargers 6 wins 8 losses in 1976
@Kansas City Chiefs 5 wins 9 losses in 1976
Baltimore Colts 11 wins 3 losses in 1976
@Houston Oilers 5 wins 9 losses in 1976
San Diego Chargers 6 wins 8 losses in 1976
@Dallas Cowboys 11 wins 3 losses in 1976

2009:
@Cincinnati 4 wins 11 losses 1 tie in 2008
Cleveland 4 wins 12 losses in 2008
@Oakland 5 wins 11 losses in 2008
Dallas 9 wins 7 losses in 2008
New England 11 wins 5 losses in 2008
@San Diego 8 wins 8 losses in 2008
@Baltimore 11 wins 5 losses in 2008
Pittsburgh 12 wins 4 losses in 2008
@Washington 8 wins 8 losses in 2008
San Diego 8 wins 8 losses in 2008
NY Giants 12 wins 4 losses in 2008
@Kansas City 2 wins 14 losses in 2008
@Indianapolis 12 wins 4 losses in 2008
Oakland 5 wins 11 losses in 2008
@Philadelphia 9 wins 6 losses 1 tie in 2008
Kansas City 2 wins 14 losses in 2008

Outside of the AFC West the Broncos faced five teams with 10 wins or more the previous season in 1977 and will face 5 teams with 10 wins or more the prior season outside the AFC West in 2009. Yes, in 1977 there was only a 14 game schedule, but the Broncos 2009 16 game schedule is comparable considering the 2009 team will also be playing two 9 win teams (Dallas and Philly) outside the division.

The 1977 Broncos had to rebuild a shaky offense. They had 3 new starters in the offensive line to start the season (Mike Montler center, Andy Mauer left tackle, Paul Howard right guard - howard had missed the 76 season with injury). The schedule started with a difficult but winnable game - against the 10-4 Cardinals at Mile High, followed by 3 games against weaker teams before the schedule got much tougher. The 77 team team struggled in the opener but had just enough to beat the Cardinals 7-0. Three wins against inferior teams put the Broncos at 4-0 heading into Oakland in week 5. That week 5 game was one of the best in Broncos history, a stunning 30-7 Denver win over the hated Raiders. Suddenly the Broncos were 5-0, with a win against the NFL's defending Super Bowl champion. The team's confidence grew game by game and they finished with a remarkable 12-2 record.

Just like thier 1977 counterparts, I think if the 2009 Broncos can get off to a good start in the soft early part of their schedule they can surprise. The 2009 Broncos have to rebuild a shaky defense and it's going to take a few games to get that unit performing at an acceptable level. The Cincinnati opener is going to be difficult but winnable (just like the 77 opener against the Cardinals) followed by two easier games (Cleveland, Oakland) before the schedule gets really tough.

No one predicted the 1977 Broncos would have a winning record, much less a Super Bowl season. "Red Miller's going to need at least a year to get his system in place", "No way the Broncos make the playoffs with that schedule", was heard around town.

I'm hearing the same barbs about Josh McDaniels and the 2009 Broncos. This long time fan has hope for 2009. I hear McDaniels saying the Broncos were too much of a finesse team last season, and he plans to implement a more physical, hard nosed style of play. Red Miller implemented a similar change in team chemistry in 1977.

Can history repeat itself? The patched up 77 Bronco offense started shaky but by December scored 34 points in a playoff win against one of the best defenses of the decade (Pittsburgh's Steel Curtain). Maybe a shaky 2009 Denver defense will gel as the season progresses, just like that '77 offense. Even with a new quarterback the 2009 Denver offense will be fine. I expect lots of points scored with the addition of rookie rb Knowshon Moreno to an already impressive set of skill players and a solid offensive line. While I don't anticipate the 2009 Broncos to reach the Super Bowl, I think it's far too early to write off the season. Just remember what happened in 77!

=====

You can also follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/sportsindenver
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Old 07-30-2009, 08:10 AM   #2
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Pretty cool how the two teams mirror each other heading into their respective seasons (77 & 09). Great article/nice post!!
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Old 07-30-2009, 08:13 AM   #3
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Great post but to make the two teams a mirror image we would have to of traded Randy Gradishar.

Last edited by Lev Vyvanse; 07-30-2009 at 08:21 AM..
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Old 07-30-2009, 08:20 AM   #4
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wow! excellent observations
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Old 07-30-2009, 08:22 AM   #5
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well, the fans weren't spoiled whiney pansies back than, so it is a bit different.
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Old 07-30-2009, 08:24 AM   #6
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I applaud all the work that went into that post. If only things worked like this. I'll have to dig my 1977 orange afro out of that trunk in the basement.
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Old 07-30-2009, 08:25 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTrueOne View Post
Great post but to make the two teams a mirror image we would have to of traded Randy Gradishar.


comparing jay cutler and randy gradishar. even teh effect they on the field was no where near comparable.
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Old 07-30-2009, 08:28 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsiguy96 View Post


comparing jay cutler and randy gradishar. even teh effect they on the field was no where near comparable.
Yea I felt dirty writing it but is was as close a comparison as I could think of.

Last edited by Lev Vyvanse; 07-30-2009 at 08:34 AM..
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Old 07-30-2009, 08:37 AM   #9
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Great post....but 1977 was magic for a reason. They over came a ton of obstacles...and it rarely comes together like it did that year.

Do you really expect lightning to strike twice to a team just because you found some similarities in the extreme challenges they face entering the season?

However, I agree. A fast start is the most important thing for this team. Start well and the season could snowball. In a good way.
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Old 07-30-2009, 08:45 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTrueOne View Post
Great post but to make the two teams a mirror image we would have to of traded Randy Gradishar.
Do not compare that pansy Cutler to the greatness and toughness that was Gradishar. You should be ashamed.
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Old 07-30-2009, 08:46 AM   #11
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A couple of key differences that makes this a team facing even greater challenges than the '77 squad entering the season:

A championship level D in '76 > good O '08
Craig Morton '76 > Kyle Orton '08
Mile High Magic '76 > Invesco Magic '08
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Old 07-30-2009, 08:49 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orangeandblueblooded View Post
well, the fans weren't spoiled whiney pansies back than, so it is a bit different.
A-F-ing-men!

PS: don't let the Jay nuthuggers see this thread.
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Old 07-30-2009, 08:51 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rohirrim View Post
I applaud all the work that went into that post. If only things worked like this. I'll have to dig my 1977 orange afro out of that trunk in the basement.
...and I'll get my "old D" garb out. It wont fit anymore, but WTH.
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Old 07-30-2009, 08:53 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TailgateNut View Post
...and I'll get my "old D" garb out. It wont fit anymore, but WTH.
Would the D be stretched out to an O?
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Old 07-30-2009, 08:55 AM   #15
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That is pretty wild the way the two teams match up. I wasnt around in '77, but Im excited for the '09 season non the less
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Old 07-30-2009, 08:56 AM   #16
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Great observations, I hope happens but feel it would be better to have the imbalance in the defences favour. It sounds/feels like the atmosphere at Broncos headquarters is very positive.
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Old 07-30-2009, 08:57 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCMElway View Post
Do not compare that pansy Cutler to the greatness and toughness that was Gradishar. You should be ashamed.
I am very ashamed.
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Old 07-30-2009, 09:05 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by worm View Post
Mile High Magic '76 > Invesco Magic '08
huge
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Old 07-30-2009, 09:12 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by worm View Post
A couple of key differences that makes this a team facing even greater challenges than the '77 squad entering the season:

A championship level D in '76 > good O '08
Craig Morton '76 > Kyle Orton '08
Mile High Magic '76 > Invesco Magic '08
Talk about a buzz kill!
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Old 07-30-2009, 09:15 AM   #20
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I admit 2009 isn't EXACTLY like 1977 but I was struck by some of the similarities anyway. I remember in 1977 going to a preseason game with my brother and Craig Morton looked absolutely awful - an immobile quarterback behind a shaky offensive line. "It's going to be a long season," my brother said.

The 1977 team had the advantage of a soft early schedule where the defense carried the offense a few games. I'm hoping the 2009 offense, even with the changes, can carry the defense until the tougher part of the schedule.

I saw the 2008 Bronco highlight film a few weeks back with shots of McDaniels getting into it with the defensive backfield in the OTAs - stiff arming a receiver to show a db the proper technique. It reminded me of Red Miller getting into it with the 1977 offensive line (acting as a dlineman rushing Claudie Minor). So far I like McDaniels hands on approach and his intent to make the team more physical (just like Miller in 77)
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Old 07-30-2009, 09:18 AM   #21
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Very interesting post.

Gradishar=Porsche 911
Cutler=Dodge SRT4
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Old 07-30-2009, 09:19 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by worm View Post
Craig Morton '76 > Kyle Orton '08
You can't possibly be referring to the 9 TD vs 20 INT Craig Morton '76 can you?
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Old 07-30-2009, 09:22 AM   #23
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Great post. Sure, it's unlikely to happen again but it just goes to show you that it can. Personally I think it's a lot more fun to be a fan who believes in the team, even if that means erring on the side of foolishness or naivete, rather than a fan who predicts failure and b****es about everything that's wrong with the Broncos.

IF we do well this season, I don't want to be grudgingly pleased about it, I want to be stoked!!
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Old 07-30-2009, 09:25 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by titan View Post
I admit 2009 isn't EXACTLY like 1977 but I was struck by some of the similarities anyway. I remember in 1977 going to a preseason game with my brother and Craig Morton looked absolutely awful - an immobile quarterback behind a shaky offensive line. "It's going to be a long season," my brother said.

The 1977 team had the advantage of a soft early schedule where the defense carried the offense a few games. I'm hoping the 2009 offense, even with the changes, can carry the defense until the tougher part of the schedule.

I saw the 2008 Bronco highlight film a few weeks back with shots of McDaniels getting into it with the defensive backfield in the OTAs - stiff arming a receiver to show a db the proper technique. It reminded me of Red Miller getting into it with the 1977 offensive line (acting as a dlineman rushing Claudie Minor). So far I like McDaniels hands on approach and his intent to make the team more physical (just like Miller in 77)
It was a great, well thought out post. Something that is lacking these days on the Mane from the cut, paste and bold a Florio article crowd.

Even thinking about that '77 team and that season makes me happy.
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Old 07-30-2009, 09:29 AM   #25
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Quote:
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You can't possibly be referring to the 9 TD vs 20 INT Craig Morton '76 can you?
Ouch.

Um. It wasn't his fault. It was that horrible Giant O he was on!
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