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Published on 05/21/2012 at Mon May 21 12:00.
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Craig Morton throws a pass in the 1977 AFC Championship Game (Getty Images)

Seventeen years of being a doormat to the Oakland Raiders seasonal drive to the AFC Western Divisional Title grated hard on Denver Broncos fans. Then came the most magical season in Broncos history, 1977. It tops the 1997, 1998 and even the 2011 season to this day. The best defense ever assembled in franchise history steamrolled to a 12-2 record, which included a 30-7 beatdown of the Raiders in their home stadium early in the season.

However, the demons would never be exorcised until the reborn franchise beat their hated rivals when it mattered the most – in the playoffs.  The most pivotal offensive play of the game came with the score 3-0 in in the first quarter and it set the tone for the Broncos for the rest of the game.

Situation: 1977 AFC Championship Game, Broncos down 3-0 in the first period

The Play: Craig Morton play faked and launched a perfect pass to Haven Moses who took it to the house to break the game wide open for the Broncos. They would go on to win the game 20-17 to earn the franchises first Super Bowl berth.

There was much controversy in this game, mostly coming from Raiders fans whining over a blown call that ended in a Broncos touchdown in the third quarter that should have been a Raiders fumble return for a touchdown. However, what Raiders fans tend to ignore is that the refs blew another call in that game that would have resulted in a Broncos touchdown catch.  Denver won this game outright and exorcised its demons.  To this day, they are still the only franchise to reach a title game in their first playoff appearance.

It would be the greatest win in Denver Broncos history until January 11, 1987 at The Drive.  Though this team would lose the following week to the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl XII, the Cinderella season was one for the ages.

Previous posts in this series:

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  • Monty

    Great series, thanks Tim.