It was 1972. Forty-six years ago. The year is now emblazoned into the psyche of Broncos fans — because that’s how long it’s been since the beloved Denver football team had back-to-back losing seasons. It’s not the kind of record one wants to break, but break it the Broncos did, under the tutelage of the local quarterback-legend-turned-GM John Elway and head coach Vance Joseph.
Forty-six years. It’s a heck of a long time ago. To put it in perspective, here are some of the world events that were happening — along with the Broncos’ losing records — circa 1972:
Richard Nixon was president.
The Watergate scandal was just getting started. The Vietnam War was still waging.
Israeli athletes were murdered by Black September terrorists at the Munich Olympics.
Bloody Sunday, in which 14 unarmed Catholic protesters were killed, took place in Londonderry/Derry, Northern Ireland.
Of the historic events mentioned, only one continues. Richard Nixon resigned in 1974. The Vietnam War officially ended in 1975. Legal actions related to Watergate concluded in 1977. The Troubles in Northern Ireland, while not totally eradicated, overall came to an end with the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.
Tragically, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has not come to an end, and Palestinian terrorists — though no longer under the umbrella of Black September — continue to murder innocent Israelis.
For the sake of the Denver Broncos and Broncos Country, we hope that in 46 years these two last years will feel as far off as do those of ’71-’72. But for that to happen, the Broncos will have to face a lot of tough questions. There are the easier ones, like needing a new head coach. But the tougher ones go straight to the top: Is John Elway still the right person for general manager? Is an unstable ownership situation infecting this team?
Are the Broncos ready to answer?