34 years ago today the Broncos played their first ever game on Christmas Eve, and their first playoff game. The key play of that game:
Craig Morton throws the clinching touchdown to Jack Dolbin on December 24, 1977 to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers:
I posted this video last year as part of my "top 12 all time bronco plays" series and since then the video has had over 4,000 views. This past week a surprise visitor commented on the play on youtube:
"The catch was a thrill but the reaction of Mr. Phipps was even more rewarding" - Jack Dolbin
I was a 21 year old sitting in the South Stands for this game. 34 years later this game still is pretty incredible when you think about it. The Broncos were playing perhaps the greatest team of all time that day. The Steelers were in the middle of their fantastic run of 4 Super Bowl championships in 6 years with Terry Bradshaw as their quarterback. Yet the upstart Broncos beat Pittsburgh on what will always be a memorable Christmas Eve in Denver.
In narrating the team highlight film that year Pat Summerall said at the end "I can't imagine anything more fun than being a Denver Bronco fan in 1977." There's been no other year like it, until ... this year! The improbable run from a 1-4 start to a possible playoff berth reminds me much of that 77 team.
Here's a picture of the December 25, 1977 Denver Post sports section. Let's hope Tim Tebow and the Broncos produce a similar headline as a result of today's game with Buffalo!