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Published on 05/26/2012 at Sat May 26 12:00.
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Denver Broncos Super Bowl XXXII Ring

In the eyes of most Denver Broncos fans, John Elway and his helicopter leap in Super Bowl XXXII is the greatest offensive play in Broncos history.  The significance of that play is lost when the backdrop of 38 years of Broncos football up until that point.

From averaging less than four wins per season throughout the 1960’s, to losing 20 consecutive games to the hated Oakland Raiders during the same period. Then the long arduous rise from that embarrassing beginning to the explosive arrival to relevance during the 1977 season.  From that point on, the Denver Broncos organization would have just six losing seasons (two of which have occurred in the last five years) – which also included a strike shortened year in 1982.

The biggest factor in making this helicopter play the most significant play in Broncos history is the previous Super Bowl appearances.  A loss to the Dallas Cowboys 27-10.  A loss to the New York Giants 39-20.  A loss to the Washington Redskins 42-10.  A loss to the San Francisco 49ers 55-10. Each appearance got progressively worse and embarrassing.  In many cases – maybe even all of them – the Denver Broncos beat more talented teams to reach the Super Bowl.

For those of us fans who lives through that time, the helicopter play was the turning of that tide.  A collective shout out saying, “We are here and we’re not going to be steamrolled any longer”.  Or something to that effect.  I doubt any offensive play in the future will mean more to a franchise than this play did, so the competition instead will be for #2.

I will begin my search for the greatest defensive plays in all of Broncos history this weekend and get it out for next week!

Go Broncos!

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What is your #1 offensive play in Denver Broncos history?

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  • Anonymous

    Very good move!! #BroncoCountry!!

  • Fabio Thailandes

    Loved this series Tim

  • Anonymous

    I hope Atwater leveling Okoye makes the top defensive play

  • Anonymous

    Good job, as usual, Tim. I enjoyed the series and am looking forward to your defensive series.

  • Tom9798

    Jim, that was a great hit, and will always be at the top of my list.  I have often confused Dennis Smith and Steve Atwater because of their ferocious mind-numbing hits.
    Here is a personal favorite of mine.  This comes at the birth of the NFL Broncos and the “Orange Crush” defense.
    I am at Mile High Stadium (which it will always be) on November 27, 1977.
    The Denver Broncos are 10-1.  So are the Baltimore Colts.  Close game.
    Late in the game, Tom Jackson, OLB, intercepts a pass at midfield and runs it back for a touchdown!
    This will always be the most exhilarating play I have ever seen.
    We go on to beat the Colts 27-13.  Beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Divisional and the ultra hated Oakland Raiders in the AFC Championship; we unfortunately lose to the Dallas Cowboys in Super-Bowl XII.
    But under Coach Red Miller, and quarterback ‘Crazy legs’ Craig Morton, the Denver Broncos are officially ‘born’.
    I still wear the 25th Anniversary T-shirt signed by Randy Gradishar and Haven Moses.
    I still have the autographed pennant signed by Bob Swenson.
    Just some personal trivia . . . I’m sure every Bronco fan has their own.

  • Anonymous

    I love that play and still remember the Bob Martin call verbatim.

    “Jones is back, quick pass.  Intercepted Tom Jackson…forty, fifty, forty, to the thirty, Tom Jackson returns it for a touchdown.”

    I remember Floyd Little’s last home game.  I was there when he took that screen pass 66 yards for a TD.  It was colder than anything and you could hear the pounding thud of gloves during the play.

  • Tom9798

    Way cool spaceman . . . Floyd Little is felt in that special essence of Bronco lore . . .

  • Anonymous

    I gotta think Champ Bailey’s 100 yard interception return of Tom Brady is right up there.  

    Tim, you going to do a special teams version of this series?  I can think of many TD and punt returns that would be up there, and obviously huge kicks–Prater’s 59 yard kick last year, Elam’s record-tying 64 yarder, any number of other clutch kicks; heck, maybe even a Mitch Berger or Mike Horan punt, eh?  :)  

  • Anonymous

     or Reggie Rivers punt block against the chiefs

  • Tim Lynch

    There are a myriad of plays for every side of the ball.  I think the biggest hampering I have is finding video of the plays as it makes little sense to profile a play that I can’t show the youngsters out there! ;)

    But yeah, Matt Prater’s performance is on my short light and obviously Champ Bailey’s studliness is as well. ;)

  • Aaron McFarland

    I am thinking the helicopter play is the best offensive, the best defensive would have to be from the same game, when Mobley knocked down a 4th down effort from Favre that gave the Broncos their first Super Bowl victory.

  • Aaron McFarland

  • herc_rock

    I think John to Shannon on 3rd and 15 to basically clinch the ’97 AFCCG should have been on there somewhere.