Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Goodbye Brandon

Brandon Marshall was traded to the Miami Dolphins today for a #2 draft pick in 2010 and a #2 pick in 2011.

I am ok with the trade. For a second year in a row Denver got more for a disgruntled player than I thought they would (Cutler in 2009, Marshall in 2010). Considering Pittsburgh could only trade former Super Bowl MVP wide receiver Santonio Holmes for a #5 draft pick this offseason, the Broncos did well to get two #2's.

Money aside, Miami still got the better of the trade. Marshall is a tremendous talent. However considering that the Dolphins had to give Marshall 24 million in guaranteed money, and given his past problems in Denver, I'm not surprised the Broncos passed on giving Brandon a big contract. I hear Marshall's new Miami contract is bigger than Larry Fitzgerald's with Arizona, and Marshall is not a better receiver than Fitzgerald.

Here's a video clip of my favorite Brandon Marshall Bronco memory - his great catch and run for the go ahead touchdown vs Dallas in 2009. This one almost made my "top Bronco plays of all time" list:

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Greatest All Time Bronco Plays, #1 The Helicopter

My pick for the Greatest Bronco Play of All Time comes from the best Bronco player ever in the Greatest Bronco Game of All Time:

In Super Bowl 32 with the score tied late in the 3rd quarter, the Broncos faced a 3rd and 6 deep in Green Bay territory. Future Hall Of Famer John Elway gave it his all on this play to get the crucial first down that led to the go ahead touchdown:

This play showed why John Elway was such a great player. Elway was more than his magnificent arm. He always had the ability to confound opposing defenses with his scrambling ability, and even at age 37 in SB32 he still could run. The footage also shows Elway's amazing determination to win.

Shortly after this run the Broncos went ahead 24-17. Green Bay was to tie the score later on but the Elway "helicopter" inspired his teammates to eventually win the game 31-24. After a 38 year wait the Broncos were Champions At Last:

Next: I've received very good response to my countdown so I'll be posting more Bronco memories from the highlights I have saved over the years.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Greatest All Time Bronco Plays, #2 Floyd Little is fired, then makes a great catch!

#2 on my list of the greatest bronco plays of all time:

What happened on November 24, 1968 has become legend among longtime Bronco fans. On that day the Broncos played the Buffalo Bills. Clinging to a 31-29 lead and running out the clock, future Bronco Hall Of Famer Floyd Little fumbled. Buffalo recovered and kicked the go ahead field goal. Listen to Floyd and Bronco coach Lou Saban tell the story in this old 1980 tv special I recorded:

This catch by Floyd is #2 on my list on the greatest bronco plays of all time. You can't really see from the above video what a great catch this was. I was a 12 year old sitting in the South Stands for this game, and the long Briscoe to Little pass was coming right towards me. Floyd dived for the ball and made one of the greatest catches I have seen by a Bronco to this day.

What would have happened if Floyd had not made this spectacular play? Would Saban really have fired Floyd? Probably not, but the incident may have caused a rift between the two that would have created a Cutler like trade in the late 60's. Afterall, Saban did get rid of the quarterback who threw that pass, the amazing Marlin Briscoe, and he might have had enough with Floyd, too.

Floyd Little was an inspiration to kids growing up in Denver in the late 60's/early 70's like myself. This play showed his never give up attitude and great talent on the football field. When Floyd gets inducted into the Hall Of Fame in August this old South Stander will have a smile on his face - remembering all the thrills Floyd gave me and especially this great play.

Next: #1 on my countdown of great bronco plays - champions at last!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Greatest All Time Bronco Plays, #3 Jim Turner Scores Against The Raiders

#3 on my list of Greatest All Time Bronco Plays:

Jim Turner, high tops and all, scores a surprise touchdown against the Oakland Raiders in what I rate as the most important regular season win in Bronco history.

Going into this game the two teams were each 4-0. The Raiders were coming off a Super Bowl Championship and were at their peak. "I don't think anyone can beat the Raiders right now," veteran sportscaster Charlie Jones said before this matchup.

The Raiders scored on their first possession of the game, but Denver battled back to take a 14-7 lead. Just before halftime the Broncos lined up for a long field goal when they pulled off the key play of the miracle 1977 season:

This play, and this game, changed the Oakland/Denver rivalry forever. The Broncos humiliated the Raiders this day. The Broncos laughed at them. "It's all over fat man!" Tom Jackson taunted Raider Coach John Madden as the Broncos won 30-7.

As a long time Raider hater this play is my favorite in the Denver/Oakland rivalry, and that's why I rate it so high on my list. The headline in the Denver Post tells the story of how big a victory this was for the Broncos:

Next: The only play on my list from the 1960's, and my 2nd best Bronco play ever at that.

Greatest All Time Bronco Plays, #4 Elway to Rod Smith Super Bowl 33

#4 in my countdown of all time Bronco plays:

The Atlanta Falcons had played the Broncos tough in the first quarter of Super Bowl 33. With Denver holding a 10-3 lead Atlanta threatened to tie the game early in the 2nd quarter, driving inside the Denver 10 yard line. The drive stalled and then Morten Anderson missed a 26 yard field goal. The next play pretty much decided the game:

The Elway to Smith td gave the Broncos a 17-3 lead and they never looked back, defeating the Falcons easily 34-19. I really enjoyed this Super Bowl for a couple of reasons. Having sat through the four Bronco Super Bowl losses by big scores it was great for me to see the Broncos on the right side of a dominating Super Bowl win. Also this was John Elway's last game and his exit was impressive: 336 passing yards and named Super Bowl MVP.

Trivia: you'll notice the above highlight starts with Elway going back to pass. Fox almost missed this play because they were late coming out of a commercial. What movie commercial almost preempted this big play? Answer: The commercial was for The Matrix.

Next on my countdown: back to the 1970's for a play that changed the course of Bronco history.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Greatest All Time Bronco Plays, #5 Elway to Jackson finishes The Drive

Resuming the countdown of my all time great Bronco plays:

"The Drive" is one of my favorite Bronco memories. Trailing 20-13 with 5:32 left in the 1986 season's AFC Championship game, John Elway and the Broncos got the ball on their own 2 yard line. While there were several great plays in The Drive (including a clutch 3rd and 18 conversion from midfield), I picked the concluding touchdown as my 5th greatest all time Bronco play:

This TD was the last of three 3rd down conversions during The Drive.
It's easy to forget sometimes that after Denver tied the game Cleveland won the overtime coin toss and the Bronco defense still had to do its part in forcing the Browns to punt. Elway then led the Broncos to the winning field goal on their first overtime possession.

Next in the countdown: another great play by Elway in a Super Bowl

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Greatest All Time Bronco Plays,Terrell Davis Big Run

Before getting to my top 5 bronco plays of all time, here's another "honorable mention" play. I can't compile a list of all time great Bronco plays without some mention of Terrell Davis.

It was a windy day January 17, 1999 when the Broncos hosted the NY Jets in the AFC Championship game. 50 mile-per-hour winds neutralized the Broncos and John Elway's great passing attack, so this game clinching run was the key play in a Bronco victory:

Davis had so many big runs in the playoffs, it was difficult to pick just one. In eight career playoff games he accumulated 1,140 yards rushing on 204 carries and 12 touchdowns. The Broncos victory over the Jets was also the last playoff game at Mile High Stadium, and John Elway's last home game.

Next: resuming the countdown with the #5 play on my list against an opponent who was victim to many great bronco plays over the years (the Cleveland Browns)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Greatest All Time Bronco Plays, Steve Watson's 3 TD Game

Before we get to my top 5 bronco plays of all time it's time for some more "honorable mentions". Today:

Steve Watson was an undrafted free agent out of Temple who saw very little action with the Broncos in 1980 (6 receptions). The 1981 season started the same way, under new coach Dan Reeves, until Watson broke out with an incredible three td game in week 3:

Watson went on to score 13 touchdowns that year. Watson was one of the best Bronco wide receivers ever - he had an uncanny ability to make a catch if the football was anywhere in his vicinity. Look at this clip later in his career with Watson making a great catch from John Elway:

Next: another honorable mention play from an AFC Championship game