I've been making comparisons between the 1977 and the 2009 Broncos since training camp. What struck me this week is how similar many of the coaches and players are between these two teams.
77 Red Miller/09 Josh McDaniels - Many of the similarities I already wrote about: first nfl head coaching job, both replaced the most successful coach in Bronco history up until that time (77 Ralston, 09 Shanahan), both were New England Patriots offensive coordinators before coming to the Broncos. Now add both got off to a 6-0 start in their first Bronco season!
77 Joel Collier/09 Mike Nolan - These two were both known to be among the best defensive coordinators in the game, but both failed as a head coach (Collier with Buffalo, Nolan with San Francisco). After the head coaching failure each man came to the Broncos to once again to be a defensive coordinator, with spectacular success.
QB 77 Craig Morton/09 Kyle Orton - Veteran quarterbacks who were given up by their former teams (Morton - Giants, Orton - Bears)
RB 77 Rob Lytle/09 Knowshon Moreno - Rookie early round draft picks who played an important part of the Broncos running back by committee. Each had a bit of a fumbling problem (ask Al Davis about Rob Lytle).
RB 77 Otis Armstrong/09 Correll Buckhalter - veteran running backs considered past their prime yet excelling in the Broncos running back by committee.
RB 77 Jon Keyworth/09 Peyton Hillis - big running backs used in short yardage with good receiving skills
WR 77 Haven Moses/09 Brandon Marshall - each was the "go to" man for his bronco qb. Each used his size to get an advantage on smaller cornerbacks.
WR 77 Rick Upchurch/09 Eddie Royal - speedy wide receivers who also had a big impact in the kick return game
WR 77 Jack Dolbin/09 Brandon Stokely - white man can run! Deceptively fast receivers with good hands
TE 77 Riley Odoms/09 Daniel Graham - veteran tight ends winding down their careers but still with something left to give the Broncos
Center 77 Mike Montler/09 Casey Wiegmann - nfl veteran centers from other teams whose careers were revived with the Broncos
LB 77 Tom Jackson/09 Elvis Dumervil - young impact linebackers who graduated from LOUISVILLE
DB 77 Billy Thompson/09 Brian Dawkins - Grandfathers of the defense. Veteran safeties that stabilized their defenses.
DB 77 Louis Wright/09 Champ Bailey - All pro "shutdown" corners.
DB 77 Bernard Jackson/09 Renaldo Hill - veteran safeties acquired from other NFL teams. 77 was Jackson's first year with the Broncos, 09 was Hill's first year with the Broncos.
Will the 2009 Broncos reach the Super Bowl like the 1977 team? Time will tell but after this week's win at San Diego I think they have a legitimate shot. The 2009 team is more balanced than the 77 team (better offense than 77 team, very good defense but not quite as good as the 77 Orange Crush D).