10 Denver Broncos Jerseys You Likely Rocked During Your Childhood
The Denver Broncos were born in 1960 in the old AFL and have always had one of football's most rabid fanbases. In their existence, the Broncos have sported four different uniforms.
The team started out with mustard yellow and brown uniforms, complete with vertically striped socks. This look only lasted two years before the team adopted orange and blue as its colors.
The look changed again in 1968 to the uniform John Elway made most famous, but in 1997, the look of the Broncos changed drastically again as the team switched to predominantly navy blue jerseys with some orange highlights. The team carries this look to this day, and many of you may have some of these jerseys in your closet.
Whether they be shirts from Orange Crush days or replicas of the jersey that the players currently wear when they take the field, you often see thousands of fans wearing them at home games.
The purchase of an NFL jersey is usually based on the popularity of a player and that can include things he does off the field as well as on it. While Tom Jackson was a huge contributor to the Broncos defense in his playing career, a guy like Ed McCaffrey played in an era when buying a player's jersey was much more common.
So who are some of the players whose jerseys you have purchased? Did they make the list?
Karl Mecklenburg, No. 77
Karl Mecklenburg was not just one of the best defensive players in team history, he was also one of the most popular.
Playing his entire 12-year career with the Broncos, he was one of the most personable players on the team and still makes appearances at charity events in the area.
Earning six trips to the Pro Bowl, Mecklenburg finished his Denver career ranked second on the team's all-time list for sacks with 79.5. That helped earn him a place on the team's Ring of Fame.
He still lives in Colorado and will always be a favorite amongst Broncos fans who knew him as the "Albino Rhino" and "Snow Goose."
Ed McCaffrey, No. 87
Denver fans loved Ed McCaffrey's enthusiasm when he played. Always willing to risk his body to make a play, he seemed to take at least one vicious hit every game but almost always came down with the catch.
McCaffrey still has ties to Colorado and works as a radio color analyst for the Broncos. He was an integral part of both of the Broncos' Super Bowl-winning teams.
Bill Romanowski, No. 53
Though Bill Romanowski may be remembered for some negative things, he spent six seasons as a member of the Broncos and was a key piece of two teams that won the Super Bowl.
Fans appreciated the toughness and intensity that he brought to the field. Fans of other teams often deemed his play dirty.
As a Bronco, Romanowski came up with 23 sacks and 11 interceptions. Yet people hear more about the spitting incident with J.J. Stokes and a hit on Kerry Collins that broke his jaw than his numbers.
But go to a Denver game and you'll still see someone wearing his No. 53 jersey.
Rod Smith, No. 80
Rod Smith may be the greatest wide receiver in team history, and he wasn't even drafted. Coming out of Missouri Southern State, Smith faced long odds to make it in the NFL.
The Broncos signed him in 1994 after he was released by the New England Patriots. Buried on the depth chart, Smith had to earn his way onto the team. Not only did he do that, he did a lot more.
Smith finished his career with 849 receptions for 11,389 yards and 68 touchdowns, which are franchise records by a comfortable margin. Smith was inducted into the team's Ring of Fame in 2012 and should get serious NFL Hall of Fame consideration.
Dennis Smith, No. 49
Dennis Smith is not a name often heard anymore, but he defined the safety position for 14 seasons in Denver. He earned the reputation of being one of the league's most feared hitters.
Smith finished his career by playing in three Super Bowls with the team and registering more than 1,100 tackles. He came a member of the Broncos' Ring of Fame in 2001.
Smith hasn't played since the 1994 NFL season, but he left a lasting impression amongst fans in Denver due to his hard-hitting nature.
Randy Gradishar, No. 53
Randy Gradishar was one of the best defensive players in the history of the Denver Broncos and the key cog of the famed "Orange Crush" defense. For many Broncos fans, it's a crime that he isn't in the NFL Hall of Fame.
His list of career accolades is extensive. He was a seven-time selection to the Pro Bowl and the 1978 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He was drafted in the first round of the 1974 NFL draft and played his entire career in Denver.
Gradishar was as complete a linebacker as the league has ever seen, and fans in Denver were privileged to have had him in blue and orange.
Shannon Sharpe, No. 84
If you were to list the greatest tight ends to play the game, you wouldn't come up with five better than Shannon Sharpe. When he retired from the NFL following the 2003 season, his numbers were as good as anyone who played the position.
Save for two years in Baltimore, fans were lucky enough to watch Sharpe play in Denver for most of his career. He could get under the skin of his opponents with his mouth, but he could back it all up with his play.
Sharpe, who was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2011, is one of the most popular players to play for the Broncos.
Steve Atwater, No. 27
Steve Atwater was the Broncos' first-round selection in the 1989 NFL draft. He went on to become everything they hoped they were getting and more.
Known for his game-changing hits, Atwater was one of the toughest players to play safety in the NFL, and Denver fans loved him for it. He was named to the Pro Bowl eight times and was a member of the All-Decade Team of the 1990s.
Atwater also had 24 career interceptions to go along with his collection of bone-jarring tackles. He did this while helping the Broncos earn two Super Bowl victories.
Speaking of his hitting power, Atwater's name will be forever attached to this hit on Kansas City Chiefs running back Christian Okoye. Known as the "Nigerian Nightmare," Okoye was one of the league's most feared runners at 260 pounds. Atwater changed all of that in September 1990 on Monday Night Football.
While guys like Darrent Williams and Knowshon Moreno have also worn No. 27 for Denver, Atwater wore the number best.
Terrell Davis, No. 30
Maybe you had a Terrell Davis jersey because every person you knew had a John Elway one. Or maybe you just wanted to own the jersey of the guy who—for a brief period of time—may have been the best player in the NFL.
Davis came out of nowhere to join some exclusive lists before his career was over. Those lists include rushing for 2,000 yards in a season and being Denver's all-time leader in rushing yardage.
A sixth-round draft pick out of Georgia, Davis wasn't even supposed to make the team unless he could play special teams. After showing he could do that, he began to climb the depth chart and never looked back.
Injuries cut Davis' career short, or his accomplishments would have been even more impressive. Still, the images of him running the ball in Denver and performing the Mile High Salute after each score will live with fans forever.
John Elway, No. 7
John Elway is without a doubt the greatest player in Denver Broncos history, and he could be the best player to ever wear the No. 7 jersey. What he did for the team during his playing days is immeasurable.
Elway ranks among the greatest quarterbacks of all time and always had the Broncos in a position to win. He has reached iconic status in Colorado and will likely forever be the first name associated with the team.
Fans were treated to 51,475 passing yards, 300 touchdown passes and 148 wins during his career. Because of that, you likely wore the same No. 7 jersey, right? Perhaps it is still hanging in your closet to this day.
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