The Denver Broncos are an American football team based in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league’s American Football Conference (AFC) West division. The team began play in 1960 as a charter member of the American Football League (AFL) and joined the NFL as part of the merger in 1970. The Broncos are owned by the Pat Bowlen trust. The Broncos have played at Sports Authority Field at Mile High since 2001, after previously playing at Mile High Stadium from 1960 to 2000.
The Broncos were barely competitive during their 10-year run in the AFL and their first seven years in the NFL. They did not complete a winning season until 1973. In 1977, four years later, they qualified for the playoffs for the first time in franchise history and advanced to Super Bowl XII. Since 1975, the Broncos have become one of the NFL’s more successful teams, having suffered only six losing seasons. They have won eight AFC Championships (1977, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1997, 1998, 2013, 2015) and three Super Bowl championships (1997 (XXXII), 1998 (XXXIII), 2015 (50); sharing the record for second most Super Bowl appearances with the Dallas Cowboys, and Pittsburgh Steelers, right behind the New England Patriots record nine Super Bowl appearances. However, the Broncos have the NFL record for most Super Bowl losses (5). They have five players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame: John Elway, Floyd Little, Gary Zimmerman, Shannon Sharpe, and the most recently elected member, Terrell Davis.
The Denver Broncos were founded on August 14, 1959, when Minor League Baseball owner Bob Howsam was awarded an American Football League (AFL) charter franchise. The Broncos won the first-ever AFL game over the Boston Patriots 13–10, on September 9, 1960. On August 5, 1967, they became the first-ever AFL team to defeat an NFL team, with a 13–7 win over the Detroit Lions in a preseason game. However, the Broncos were not successful in the 1960s, compiling a record of 39–97–4 in the league.
Denver came close to losing its franchise in 1965, until a local ownership group took control and rebuilt the team. The team’s first superstar, “Franchise” Floyd Little, was instrumental in keeping the team in Denver, due to his signing in 1967 as well as his Pro Bowl efforts on and off the field. The Broncos were the only original AFL team that never played in the title game, as well as the only original AFL team never to have a winning season while a member of the AFL during the upstart league’s 10-year history.
The Denver Broncos mascot is Miles who is a white, horse-like anthropomorphic figure wearing an orange jersey; Thunder II is a live Arabian horse.