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These AFL Team pages were salvaged from the defunct site aflfootball.tripod.com, which inspired my AFL pages.
They are dedicated to that site's creator, Robert Phillips, who has re-created his site at afl-football.50.webs.com.

Patriots Facts

Bills Facts

Oilers Facts

Jets
Facts

Dolphins Facts

Broncos Facts

Chiefs Facts

Chargers Facts

Raiders Facts

Bengals Facts

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DENVER BRONCOS

The Denver Broncos have been one of pro football's biggest winners since the merger of the American and National Football Leagues in 1970. The Broncos¹ on-the-field success is more than matched by a spectacular attendance record of sellout crowds (except for strike-replacement games) every year since 1970. Denver's annual sale of approximately 74,000 season tickets is backed by a waiting list in the tens of thousands. The Broncos of today play on the same plot of ground on which the original AFL team performed in 1960 but that is the only similarity of Denver teams of yesteryear and today. The upstart AFL was the target of many jokes and jeers by the established National Football League in the early 1960s but the Broncos were the most laughed-at of all.

Bob Howsam, a successful minor league baseball owner who built Bears Stadium in the 1940s, was awarded an AFL charter franchise on August 14, 1959. Severely limited financially, Howsam clothed his first team in used uniforms from the defunct Copper Bowl in Tucson, Arizona. Making the uniforms particularly joke-worthy were the vertically-striped socks that completed the Broncos' dress. Two years later when Jack Faulkner took over as head coach and general manager, the socks were destroyed in a public burning ceremony.

While Denver's on-the-field experience during the 10 years of the AFL was for the most part bleak, the Broncos did have some bright moments. On September 9, 1960, they won the first-ever AFL game with a 13-10 victory over the Boston Patriots. On August 5, 1967, they scored the first win ever for an AFL team against an NFL opponent with a 13-7 triumph over the Detroit Lions. But at the end of the AFL's decade, Denver's 39-97-4 record was the worst for any of the original eight AFL teams.

Denver's current attendance bonanza can be traced to a remarkable turn of events in 1965 that first threatened and then assured the future of pro football in the city. Several minority partners formed a majority voting bloc to sell the Broncos to Atlanta interests but, at the last minute, the Phipps brothers, Gerald and Allan, who had been left out of the voting block, bought the team and 34,657-seat Bears Stadium. Excited fans showed their appreciation by purchasing almost 23,000 season tickets, compared to 7,996 the year before.

Before the 1968 season, Bears Stadium was purchased by the city and renamed Denver Mile High Stadium. It was expanded to 51,706 capacity that year, then to 63,532 in 1976 and to 75,100 in 1977. As the stadium grew, so too did season-ticket sales fill every extra seat. It was the kind of success the Broncos' founders could not, with good reason, possibly have imagined.

Broncos Facts

  • Franchise Granted:
    August 14, 1959 as Charter Member of AFL
  • First Season:
    1960
  • Stadium:
    Bears/Mile High Stadium
  • Head Coaches:
    Frank Filchock, Jack Faulkner, Mac Speedie, Ray Malavasi, Lou Saban
  • AFL Championships:
    None
  • AFL Division Championships:
    None
  • All-Time AFL Record:
    39- 97- 4
  • Retired Uniform Numbers:
    #18 Frank Tripucka, #44 Floyd Little.

Broncos' Historical Performance

REGULAR SEASON
YEAR GP W L T PF PA PCT. HEAD COACH
1960 14 4 9 1 309 393 0.321    Frank Filchock
1961 14 3 11 0 251 432 0.214    Frank Filchock
1962 14 7 7 0 353 334 0.500    Jack Faulkner
1963 14 2 11 1 301 473 0.179    Jack Faulkner
1964 14 2 11 1 240 438 0.179    Jack Faulkner, Mac Speedie
1965 14 4 10 0 303 392 0.286    Mac Speedie
1966 14 4 10 0 196 381 0.286    Mac Speedie, Ray Malavasi
1967 14 3 11 0 256 409 0.214    Lou Saban
1968 14 5 9 0 255 404 0.357    Lou Saban
1969 14 5 8 1 297 344 0.393    Lou Saban

Broncos Totals 140 39 97 4 2761 4000 0.293

POSTSEASON
NEVER MADE AFL POSTSEASON.

Firsts, Records, and Odds and Ends

  • First Regular-Season Game:
    A 13-10 victory over the Boston Patriots in the AFL's first regular season game, 9/9/60.
  • First Regular-Season Game Attendance :
    18,372
  • First Regular-Season Touchdown:
    A 59-yard pass from Frank Tripucka to Al Carmichael vs. the Boston Patriots, 9/9/60.
  • First to Rush 100 Yards in a Game:
    Don Stone, 104 yards vs. the San Diego Chargers, 10/6/63.
  • First to Pass 400 Yards in a Game:
    Frank Tripucka, 447 yards vs. the Buffalo Bills, 9/15/62.
  • Most Career Rushing Yards:
    Floyd Little, 6,323 yards (1967-75).
  • Most Career Receptions:
    Lionel Taylor, 543 receptions (1960-66).
  • Original Uniform Colors:
    Seal brown and light gold.
Copyright 1997-2004 Robert Phillips. All rights reserved.

USA Today ~ July 8, 2009

Broncos couldn't put a sock in 'second-class' days in AFL
Broncos QB Frank Tripucka scores a touchdown against the Titans of New York in 1962. The team had worn striped socks the two previous seasons.
By Jerry Mosey, AP
Broncos QB Frank Tripucka scores a touchdown against the Titans of New York in 1962. The team had worn striped socks the two previous seasons.
 
Fourth in a series exploring the histories of all 10 AFL franchises as the NFL celebrates the league's 50th anniversary.

Just as the phoenix rose from the ashes, so have the Denver Broncos' vertically striped socks.

Considered so ugly their coach burned them publicly at an intrasquad game in 1962, the brown and yellow leggings in which the Broncos performed for their first two years in the AFL are part of the team's "throwback" look for the coming season.

Is that throwback or throw up?

Frank Tripucka, the Broncos' first quarterback, sighs at the memory. Speaking by phone from Bloomfield, N.J., Tripucka flatly says the original Broncos uniform was the ugliest thing he ever wore. And he played for three NFL teams before spending seven years in Canada.

Hideous? Horrible?

"Unquestionably," Tripucka says. "We were a very poor ballclub, financially. They took anything they could get their hands on."

Literally.

Those first uniforms came from a defunct college bowl game (the Copper Bowl). Rips and tears had to be repaired because there was no way to get more of these dandy duds. The colors were technically "seal brown and gold."

"Mustard yellow would be a more accurate description," says Jim Saccomano, the team's director of public relations, a club employee for 32 years and a lifelong Denver resident who has seen almost every game the Broncos have played.

Denver's second coach, Jack Faulkner, set fire to the old socks at the club's intrasquad game in 1962, with new ownership in place, a little more money available and new colors of orange, blue and white adopted. Yet no one who ever saw the vintage hose will forget them.

The Broncos still have one of their originals at their headquarters in Englewood, Colo. Working from photographs and memories, they've re-created the old uniforms and the leggings for the two games during which they will wear them in 2009.

They'll model the home version Oct. 11 when they play the New England (formerly Boston) Patriots, commemorating the first AFL game, which Denver won. Then they don the road suit a week later on Oct. 19 against the San Diego Chargers.

Tripucka was part of a contingent that came from the Canadian Football League to fortify the Broncos when the AFL was born in 1960. General manager Dean Griffing reached into his background to hire Frank Filchock as the first coach, and Filchock called Tripucka, who had quarterbacked for him with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, to serve as an assistant. It wasn't long before he was pressed into playing time.

Think there was some romance to this new league, to the organizing and establishing of a franchise in a city that had no major league sports?

"It was a joke," Tripucka says. "It really was a joke."

Training camp? Held in Regina, Saskatchewan.

A playbook? "They put the plays on a blackboard, and you had to copy them. That was it," Tripucka says. "There weren't any handouts."

Hitting the road? "We were like lost souls when we traveled. Everything was second-class," Tripucka says, recollecting two weeks on the road with practices at a high school in Plainfield, N.J., before the Broncos played the New York Titans (later the Jets) in New York.

Tripucka, now 81, put up the first 3,000-yard passing season in U.S. football history in the AFL's inaugural season, throwing for 3,038 yards, 24 touchdowns and a league-high 34 interceptions. The Broncos won their first two games but finished 4-9-1.

What a weird journey.

Tripucka was the backup at Notre Dame to Johnny Lujack for two unbeaten and untied seasons (1946-47). As a senior, he led the Fighting Irish to a 9-0-1 record, the tie with Southern California coming in the final game. The Philadelphia Eagles drafted him in the first round in 1949 and traded him to the Detroit Lions.

He left Detroit after one season for 2 with the Chicago Cardinals and part of one with the Dallas Texans (the defunct 1952 NFL version, not the AFL's Texans) and then went north of the border for, he says, better pay.

The Broncos later retired his No. 18 jersey.

In football terms, the Broncos were the equal of their original uniforms. They did not have their first winning season until 1973, though they began emerging as an NFL power in 1977, when they went 12-2 under Red Miller. They represented the AFC in Super Bowl XII, where they fell 27-10 to the Dallas Cowboys.

Billy Thompson joined the team in 1969 as a third-round pick. He played cornerback and safety and returned kickoffs and punts for 13 seasons. He was a three-time Pro Bowl pick and was enshrined in the Broncos' Ring of Honor in 1987. He is the club's director of community outreach.

The merger with the NFL was already underway when Thompson became a Bronco and then got in a year as an AFL player before the 1970 realignment left him with special memories.

"Absolutely," he says. "The old AFL teams were always trying to attract fans, so it was a wide-open league, where the NFL was more grind-it-out, more close-to-the-vest. People like defense, but they like to see scoring, and the AFL was high-scoring."

Thompson also remembers what it was like to play against the Kansas City Chiefs, coached by Hank Stram, and the San Diego Chargers, under Sid Gillman.

"Kansas City was using three- and four-receiver sets. They were really ahead of the curve. We hated to play them because we had to look at so many formations. Now that's what everybody does," Thompson says. "Sid was another one in San Diego, with a very high-powered offense, a lot of formations, a lot of motion."

The Broncos might be NFL establishment now, but once upon a time they were part of a new and different league. They had to be built from the ground up, stocked with socks and jocks.

No telling what happened to those old jocks. The socks? They just won't go away.

 
The article fails to mention that the first Professional Football player to catch 100 passes in a season was an American Football League player, Lionel Taylor of the Broncos. In a classic 38-38 AFL shootout against the Buffalo Bills in 1960, Taylor gained 199 yards on just 9 pass receptions.

In the league's first season, the Broncos had the leading quarterback, Frank Tripucka (248/478, 3,038 yds, 24 td); receiver, Lionel Taylor (92 for 1,235 yds, 12 td); interceptor, Goose Gonsoulin (11 for 98 yds); and scorer, Gene Mingo (123 total points on PAT, FG, td rushes, td receptions, and kick returns for td). The Broncos were the first AFL team ever to defeat an NFL team, on August 5, 1967 when they beat the Lions 13-7 in an exhibition at Denver.

The Broncos scored the first touchdown in AFL history in the league's first game, against the Boston Patriots. They had American Professional Football's first black placekicker, in Gene Mingo. They had the first black starting quarterback in modern Professional Football, in Marlin "The Magician" Briscoe. Hall of Famer Willie Brown spent his first three AFL seasons with the Broncos, making the All-Star team in 1964 and 1965.

Goose Gonsoulin made the first interception in AFL history, in the game against the Patriots. He had seven interceptions in his first three games, and his 11 pickoffs in 1960 are still a Denver club record. By the end of his Bronco career, he was the all-time American Football League interception leader with 43.

Seems like Mr. Weisman could have written more about the AFL's Broncos than just to describe the uniforms.
~ REMEMBER the AFL

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USA TODAY Series on the AFL:  

  How the AFL changed the NFL
   Boston Patriots
   Miami Dolphins
     CincinNati Bengals
     Los Angeles/San Diego CHARGERS
    OAKLAND RAIDERS
     Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs
    New York TITANS/JETS
    BUFFALO BILLS
    HOUSTON OILERS

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Last revision: 20 July 2012 ~ Angelo F. Coniglio, nospam.RemembertheAFL@aol.com