Friday, December 11, 2015

Mile High Magic (Mike Klis at the Broncos QB Club)

It's been quite the week for the Denver Broncos Quarterback Club.  On Wednesday we were guests of the Broncos Huddle TV show (read my report on that here).  Then the very next night we were treated to a presentation by Mike Klis, Bronco insider for Channel 9 and author of the new book: "Mile High Magic - The 25 Greatest Moments In Denver Broncos History".

Klis is a two-time recipient of the Colorado Sportswriter of the Year award from the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.  He's been covering the Broncos since 2005 - first with the Denver Post and this year for Channel 9 TV in Denver.  I always thought Klis was one of the most knowledgeable media types who cover the team.  It was great to meet him and hear his stories in person.

Klis' book will bring back pleasant memories for long time fans of the team.  On this night he shared a few stories from the book.  One was moment #21 - The Morton Miracle.  I was in the South Stands for this game (September 23, 1979).  The Broncos fell behind 34-10 to the Seattle Seahawks.  It was the 2nd half and things did not look good for the home team.  The book features current interviews with the major players in Bronco history, like Morton.  36 years after the game Morton recalls, "Red (Miller) came up to me and said, 'Craig, why don't you go in?' (in place of Bronco starting qb Norris Weese).  I said, 'You've got to be kidding me.  I'm not going in there.  It's 34-10.  What the hell do you want me to do?"  Morton was frustrated because of being benched for Weese, and because the coaches had ignored his play calling suggestions.  "They wouldn't listen to me so I said, 'I'm not going in there'. But some players started coming over and said 'Come on, lets just try it.'  I said 'All right, let's go'"  Red Miller had a play he wanted Morton to run.  Craig said "Coach, if I'm going in this game, I'm going to call the plays."  Morton proceeded to lead the Broncos to a 37-34 win, as Klis relates, the greatest second-half comeback in Broncos history and tied for the 5th largest second-half comeback in NFL regular season history.

It's the back story of games like this that make Mile High Magic a good read for members of the Broncos QB Club.  Klis graciously stayed late to autograph copies of the book for those in attendance (he easily sold out his allotment he had brought to the event)

Klis also answered questions about the current Broncos team.  I asked him what kind of contract Brock Osweiler could expect to get when his current deal runs out at the end of the season.  "If the Broncos had signed Brock in the preseason, they could have had him for two years and 10 million," Klis said.  "Now with his good play they'd probably sign him for four years and 36 million.  If Brock wins out he could get 12 million a year."  Klis also told us how it would be difficult for the Broncos to keep all the players they have on their last years of their contracts: Von Miller, Brock, Malik Jackson, Derek Wolfe, Ronnie Hillman, and Danny Trevathan.  "We better win it all this year," said a member of the audience, realizing that the Broncos could look like a very different team next season.

Klis had other little tidbits on the team that he shared (like Trevathan swallowing two teeth and likely not to play this week under the concussion protocol).  Our qb club group enjoyed picking the brain of Klis to get his real impressions of the team (you have to come to our meetings to get the inside scoop from Broncos insiders like Klis - we promise our guests the most juicy comments made at our meetings are "off the record"!)

A new feature at our meetings this year is an impressive Bronco jersey and memorabilia collection by Jamie Teumer and Tom Jacobsen.  Jamie and Tom brought jerseys this day to match the stories in Klis' book.

Like this signed game jersey by the first Broncos quarterback - Frank Tripucka!  The Broncos 13-10 first-game-ever win over the Boston Patriots in 1960 was moment #20 on the Klis list.

The Bronco memorabilia collection included present day items, too, like this signed Brock Osweiler shoe - size 17!

The Broncos QB Club is a non-profit organization supporting Denver area youth.  Club members were generous in donating gifts at this meeting to be delivered to the Children's Hospital Colorado.

If you are a Broncos fan living in the Denver area, joining the QB Club is a bargain.  Only $50 for a family membership, and $20 per person for our dinner meetings.  During the season we have ticket giveaways, too.  At this meeting pairs of tickets were given away to the upcoming Oakland, Cincinnati, and San Diego Bronco home games.

Guests are welcome to try out our meetings before deciding on membership.  We have a mix of reporters covering the team and players as speakers at our meetings.  Visit for more info.  Our next meeting will be January 12th featuring former Bronco offensive lineman Mark Cooper.

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