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Published on 05/25/2012 at Fri May 25 11:30.
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Super Bowl XXXII

The greatest sports moment of my life occurred on my oldest daughters birthday – January 25th. She wasn’t born yet, but the year was 1998 and the Denver Broncos were in the fight of their lives against the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXII. I was 19 years old and living a stones throw from Jack Murphy Stadium where my sports heroes were about to become part of NFL lore.

Up until this play I felt the Broncos were controlling the game, but failing to capitalize at key moments when they could have iced it. When John Elway took off on third down inside the red zone, I felt the anxiety of the riskiness of the move, since it was hardly third and short. When he dove and helicoptered for the first down I screamed my head off. That was the moment when I felt there was no way the Broncos could lose this game now – of course, the nail biting final 3 minutes of the game made that feeling seem prematurely absurd.  However, there was no denying the significance of this play and it would become the defining moment of Super Bowl XXXII and it was easy to put it number 1 on my all-time list.

Situation: Late Third Quarter in the Super Bowl.  Third down near the end zone with the score tied at 17.

The Play: When Elway made that diving first down it energized the entire Broncos team and help keep Brett Favre and the Packers at bay until late in the fourth quarter when Elway and the Broncos would march down the field to score the winning touchdown with less than two minutes to go in the game.

Any Broncomaniac older than 20 will recognize this game as the single greatest moment of their fandom.  For us older fans who had to suffer through three or four Super Bowl disasters, it was vindication for all of the trials and tribulations from August 14, 1959 to the day Pat Bowlen hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in triumph.

Go Broncos!

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  • Monty

    The only pick, and the greatest play in Denver Broncos history. A picture of Elway’s helicopter face, right before going airborne, is framed and on my living room wall. 

  • Tim Lynch

    It really has become the most iconic play in Broncos history.  

  • Jon

    That was an easy choice.

  • Anonymous

    I was hoping this would be the #1 play.  I tell you what when he helicoptered like that a tear came to my eye.  Still gives me the chills watching that play.  Hopefully we will have another play to add after this year.  Go Broncos!!!

  • Tom9798

    I felt that this play would be #1 when the thread started.  It is the most iconic play in Broncos history.  Although I do not have it framed on my wall, I can still see the intensity in Elway’s eyes in my mind forever.

  • Tom9798

    The play defined the moment . . . but the game defined Bronco’s history. 
    Winning Super-Bowl XXXII was the greatest moment in a Bronco fan’s life.
    When Romo knocks the pass down, and the hope becomes reality, there are no words to describe the complete and total elation.
    I screamed and yelled and ran and jumped up and down, and kept doing that, until my former friend, a Packer fan, had to ask me to leave.
    So I ran jumping up and down and screaming to my car, and drove to Wal-Mart on 8th st. where they have 40 big TV’s showing the highlights, and I jump up and down and scream, and they ask me if I’m alright  . . .
    And I say, “yea, just need a pizza and a case of Natural Light,” . . .
    went home and screamed and celebrated and ate pizza and drank . . .
    and cried my eyes out I was so happy.

  • Anonymous

    I experienced that play just like you did, Tim:  feeling very good about the game, and suddenly from the moment Elway got up from that hit and shot his fist in the air triumphantly, I KNEW they were going to win.  I could FEEL it, in the same way that during one of Elway’s comebacks there was this palpable sense that it was just going to happen–a feeling that never fully erases the logic of “Oh hell no they won’t complete 4th and 10,” or whatever, but the feeling’s still there, WILLING him and the Broncos to another victory.  

    I can still remember, like it was yesterday, the stratospheric elation when Mobley knocked down that last pass, and myself and everyone in my dorm room piled out into the corridors (we refused to watch it in the common room out of superstition), jumping, hugging, whooping and crying.  What a moment.

  • Tim Lynch

    I lived in a condo a few blocks from Jack Murphy Stadium….I too went ape shit. :)

  • Tim Lynch

    I am unashamed to admit I cried that day.

  • Anonymous


    I was fortunate enough to be at SB XXXII.  I will never experience another moment in my lifetime that will come even remote close to the feeling I had when Mobley batted down that last pass.  Cried like a baby!!!  OHHHH MAAAAANNNN.

  • Monty

    Testing mobile comment on excellent new mobile theme….