ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — There were six lunar landings that brought 12 men to a walk on the moon.
The most historic stroll, though, and the only one most remember, was made by Neil Armstrong from Apollo 11.
The Denver Broncos have played in eight Super Bowls and won three. The one most worth celebrating?
The franchise’s first title that capped the 1997 season with a 31-24 upset victory against the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXII.
The Broncos will honor arguably the most significant moment in franchise history this season with the 25-year anniversary reunion of their first Super Bowl team from 1997.
Entering the Super Bowl in San Diego, the Broncos were 11-point underdogs against the Packers largely because the NFC had whipped the AFC in 13 straight finales. The Broncos did their part during that AFC skid, losing three Super Bowls by a combined 96 points.
But thanks to Terrell Davis overcoming a migraine to run roughshod through a large, but ever-tiring Packers’ defensive front, the John Elway “Helicopter” play that kept a touchdown drive alive, and John Mobley knocking away a Brett Favre fourth-down pass in the final seconds, the Broncos came through as AFC wild cards to usher the NFL into a new era of parity.
“This one’s for John,’’ Broncos owner Pat Bowlen boomed on the Super Bowl stage as he handed over the Lombardi Trophy to a beaming Elway.
With more than 50 players and coaches expected to attend the 1997 Super Bowl reunion, which will be held during the week of Jets game Oct. 23, the Broncos will not crowd the spotlight with a Ring of Fame induction ceremony this year, a source told 9NEWS.
Broncos CEO said in a statement: “The 25th anniversary of the Broncos’ first Super Bowl championship is a special occasion deserving of a tribute that celebrates how much the 1997 team means to our organization and fans.
“During an unforgettable season, that iconic team overcame tremendous adversity to deliver a long-awaited World Championship to our fans as double-digit underdogs in Super Bowl XXXII. Along with all of Broncos Country, we’re excited to honor the many great players, coaches and staff from the 1997 Super Bowl-champion Broncos to highlight this year’s Homecoming Weekend.”
With up to 50 players and coaches expected to attend the 1997 Super Bowl reunion, which will be held during the week 7 home game against the New York Jets on Oct. 23, the Broncos will not crowd the spotlight with a Ring of Fame induction ceremony this year, a source told 9News. The team had inducted at least one person into its Ring of Fame in 9 of the past 10 years, 13 members overall.
In the previous decade from 2002-2011, the Broncos only inducted four new Ring of Famers (Gary Zimmerman, Steve Atwater, Davis and Shannon Sharpe) so after consulting with members of the Ring of Fame committee, the team felt it made sense to pause the ROF election for a year, especially with the team going through an ownership transition and the ’97 team deserving its own party.
Among the 1997 Broncos still living in the Denver-area: Elway, Davis, Rod Smith, Ed McCaffrey, Alfred Williams, Mark Schlereth, Steve Atwater, Harold Hasselbach, Tyrone Braxton and coach Mike Shanahan.
Among the players and coaches who have passed away from that team: Starting offensive tackle Tony Jones, and assistants coaches Alex Gibbs, Greg Robinson, Mike Heimerdinger and John Teerlink.
The Broncos went back-to-back by winning the Super Bowl again to finish the 1998 season, which turned out to be the last in Elway’s 16-season Hall of Fame career as a quarterback. Elway was the team’s general manager when the Broncos won their third Super Bowl title as part of their 2015 season.
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