Updated: December 18, 2009 at 12:00 am
During the Broncos’ 50th season, The Gazette will take a look back at some of the most memorable moments, players, games and plays over the team’s history, counting down a top 10 list every Sunday during the season.
This week: Greatest wins in Broncos history:
10. 1991 AFC Divisonal Playoff. Denver 26, Houston 24. John Elway led one of the most memorable comebacks of his career, converting two fourth downs on a drive for the game-winning field goal.
9. 1977 regular season, Denver 27, Baltimore 13. A win in this game, between two 9-1 teams, set up the rest of the magical ’77 season. Without this win, Denver wouldn’t have had home-field advantage in the playoffs.
8. 1987 AFC Championship Game. Denver 38, Cleveland 33. “The Fumble” game was exciting and it put the Broncos back in the Super Bowl. This was before repeated Super Bowl failures made Broncos fans wince.
7. 1973 regular season. Denver 23, Oakland 23. The headline from this game should have paraphrased a classic: “Denver beats Oakland 23-23.” This half-win on “Orange Monday” was a watershed event for a previously downtrodden organization.
6. 1997 AFC Championship Game. Denver 24, Pittsburgh 21. Shannon Sharpe’s third-down catch clinched a conference title and silenced Three Rivers Stadium.
5. 1997 AFC Divisional Playoff, Denver 13, Kansas City 10. This win ranks a bit above the win at Pittsburgh the next week because of the rivalry, the Broncos’ issues at Arrowhead and the tense nature of the game.
4. Super Bowl XXXIII. Denver 34, Atlanta 19. While this win put the Broncos in a rare class of repeat champions, it seemed a bit anticlimactic after the Vikings lost in the NFC title game. Still, the Lombardi Trophy still shines in the Broncos’ offices.
3. 1977 AFC Championship Game. Denver 20, Oakland 17. It takes quite a win to trump a Super Bowl, and this qualifies. This set off Broncomania in a city that had been craving a winner. And, it came against the Raiders.
2. 1986 AFC Championship Game. Denver 23, Cleveland 20, OT. There’s a reason this game is on the NFL Films’ “Greatest Games” loop. This had it all - a trip to the Super Bowl and Elway’s first transcendent moment.
1. Super Bowl XXXII, Denver 31, Green Bay 24. There could be no other choice. This was Denver’s first championship, Elway’s “finally” moment and a classic game as well.