If you remember when MTV actually played music videos, or when Eddie Murphy still made good movies, you probably have a life-long hatred of the Denver Broncos. Sure, this was somewhat based on the fact that they were our divisional rivals through the 2001 season, but mostly it was because for about a decade and a half, John Elway TORMENTED all of us. Elway won more games, threw more TDs, and passed for more yards against Seattle than any other NFL team. No single enemy player broke our hearts more often than Mr. Ed. He's our equivalent of how Red Sox fans loathe Derek Jeter, or how Cavs fans detest Michael Jordan. Even though that horse-faced goon is long gone, Bronco-hatred still flows freely through my veins, and this Sunday is more than just another regular season game, at least to me.
You know what our all-time record is against these Rocky Mountain Oysters? 18-33. That's a .353 winning percentage, WORSE THAN THE 2010 MARINERS! But whether they were festooned in orange like a prison work detail, or wearing nike unis with huge sweat stains... every once in a while Seattle would rise up and take a piece out of these jokers. A while back on my home blog I wrote up a top-10 list of Bronco beatdowns... here's a shiny, fresh, updated list:
This one has special personal significance for me: My first Broncos game at the Kingdome. I was 12, I had a "Bronco-Busters" T-shirt, and I screamed so loud and so long that my voice was gone for the better part of the next week. The memory-burn moment for me? In a tie game late in the 3rd, CHUCK KNOX CALLED FOR A FLEA-FLICKER, and Krieg hit a wide-open Ray Butler for a 40-yard TD bomb. It was orgasmic, and the Hawks held on for a memorable win over the eventual AFC Champions. Without this win, Seattle also would have missed the playoffs for the 3rd straight season.
The Broncos came into the Kingdome knowing this: at 10-4, they'd win the AFC West with wins in their last two games... one against the 7-7 Seahawks (who had never beaten the Broncos before), and the MNF finale at the mighty San Diego Chargers. In a weird scheduling quirk, Denver was ending the season with three road games. Coming off a win at Buffalo, the Broncos just needed to defeat Seattle to set up the big showdown with Air Coryell. They looked past Seattle. Jim Zorn torched the NFL's 5th best defense for 308 yards and two TDs, including the game-winning bomb to Largent in the 4th. Denver would back into the playoffs and lose in the Wild Card game at Houston.. Not bad for our first win against Denver, huh?
You'd think the first-ever playoff win in team history would be higher on the list, but this one is overshadowed by the upset win at Miami the following week. In addition, the game was a snoozer blowout. Steve DeBerg led the Broncos to their doom that day, before being replaced by the rookie Elway in garbage time. Dave Krieg only threw 13 passes that day, but he completed 12 of them for 200 yards and 3 touchdowns.
The first of only two Seattle season sweeps of the Broncos... If Denver had won either of these games, they win the AFC West and Seattle has one less banner hanging from the Qwest Field rafters. The Broncos were two-time defending AFC Champions, and huge favorites over Seattle at Mile High on Opening Day 1988... Krieg was mistake free while Mr. Ed barfed up three turnovers, and the Hawks escaped with a 21-14 win. The rematch in Seattle three months later was no contest: Warner and JLW both rambled for over 100 yards rushing, and Dave Krieg was 19/22 with two TDs and no picks. In a four year span the Broncos went to three Super Bowls. In 1988, the Seahawks rose up and smote they asses right out of postseason contention. Of course, there was also Largent's hit on Mike Harden in the late-season crushing of Denver (which I originally placed in '87, but was set right by a loyal Field Gull):
The capstone to the maddening but memorable 1986 season... Curt Warner was Buck Whylin' like Terminator X that day, racking up 192 yards and 3 touchdowns in his best post-ACL tear performance. Krieg was 17/24 for 238 yards and two more scores... Seeing a trend here? Back in the 80s, when Mudbone had a great day, the Broncos were screwwwwed.
4. 12/3/06 Seahawks 23, Broncos 20 As I wrote at the time:
Whew. Another amazing win for the flawed, ferocious, fundamentals-challenged, kevlar-willed Seattle Seahawks. In a town that had seen only four Seattle victories in 30 seasons, the Hawks ONCE AGAIN found a way to overcome adversity, whether caused by the opposition or themselves… What a strange game… Even more than usual, I was cursing the Hawks one moment, only to declare my eternal devotion the next.. Look! The defense caused five turnovers and scored a touchdown! Fuck! Those idiots just missed four tackles and let the Broncos tie the game! Shit! This offense couldn’t move the ball down a ski jump! Holy balls! They put up 16 points in the 4th quarter, including a 2-minute drill to set up JB’s game winner! Goddamn it, Josh! You missed two field goals! Woo-hoo! JB laid out Denver’s kick returner and made his SIXTH game winning kick since October 2005! (Brown’s 4th game-winning FG this season tied that NFL record)
You should just go read this, but here's the best part...
Both offenses flailed about like two drunk sorority girls in a cat fight, and the Hawks were somehow only down 13-6 in the final minutes... A face-mask penalty on a punt return set us up at the Denver 35, but it still felt like it would take a miracle to put 7 on the board. Somehow Stan Gelbaugh got us inside the 10, and on 4th and goal he hit Brian Blades for the tying TD. Blades did some stupid early-90s celebration dance and the Kingdome crowd erupted like it was 1984 all over again. In OT John Kasay booted Seattle to only its 2nd win of the season, and Denver spiraled to a 8-8 collapse and an Xmas at home just like the pathetic Seattlites. It was one of the only bright spots of 1992; I remember running out onto my front yard and screaming "SEAAAAAAHAWWWWWKKKKKSSSSSS!" into the night after that win.
This one gets overshadowed a bit by our loss to Denver at the dome a month later with the division title on the line, but what a win! This was the one that started with an 80-yard Krieg-to-Turner bomb on the FIRST PLAY for a 7-0 Seattle lead... Krieg would incinerate the Broncos, accumulating 406 passing yards, tossing three TDs and nary an INT. This was also the best regular season game of Steve Largent's Hall of Fame career: 12 catches for 191 yards and a score. The Hawks built up a 27-17 lead in the 4th, but it looked like young Elway would pull off a soul-crushing comeback. Denver scored to pull within three, and had a chance to send the game to OT on the final play. Rich Karlis booted the ball with his bare foot... it looked good... then faded... faded... CLANG! the upright. NO GOOD! Seahawks win! That SHOULD be #1, but what happened at Mile High in 1995 topped this.
The mid 90s are mostly a grey blur of mediocrity, but this one stands out... bolded, italic, underlined. Not only was it another Seattle win that kept Denver out of the playoffs, but it was the greatest comeback in team history, against our most despicable rivals and chief tormentor. I was going to Western at the time, and living in the Fairhaven dorms. It was final exam time, and instead of cramming I was glued to the Hawks/Broncos throwdown. As the game went on, my textbooks started to look more appealing than witnessing another Elway-administered beatdown. Denver led 20-0 at one point, and even after a Peterson FG, it was 20-3 at the half. Denver was deep in Seattle territory early in the 3rd, about to make it 27-3. The Hawks gambled on D, sending Robert Blackmon on a safety blitz. Blackmon obliterated Mr. Ed and Antonio Edwards scooped up the fumble and rambled 83 yards for a TD that completely shifted the momentum. I leaned out my dorm window and brayed like a farm animal after that one... Seattle still trailed 27-17 in the 4th, but rallied for two late touchdowns, leading to more out-the-dorm-window screaming. What do you think, sirs?