It was here that Howsam agreed to own the Denver franchise in what would eventually become the American Football League. From only four franchises, the AFL grew to the point of merger with the NFL and the game football as it is known today. It was a royal beginning for the Denver Broncos!
Among those who helped to lay the Broncos foundation include iconic ball players including Frank Bernardi, Chuck Gavin, Gene Mingo and Bob Stransky as well as assistant coach Dale Dodrill. So what does Gene Mingo remember most about his tenure with the Broncos? “The Broncos gave me my first chance,” he recalls in a past interview with The Denver Post. Mingo is responsible for the first punt return for a touchdown in the American Football League when he played for the Broncos in 1960. That same touchdown won the first-ever American Football League game, as the Broncos defeated the Boston Patriots (now the New England Patriots) 13-10.
This Sunday, January 19 at 1:00 p.m. MST, the Denver Broncos will once again face off against the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Sunday’s game marks the fourth post-season match-up between New England and Denver since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.
If Sunday’s game is the last primetime showdown between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, it will certainly be one to remember as these football powerhouses faceoff for the right to play in Super Bowl XLVIII.