Greatest Bronco Game Tournament

As promised, I wanted to help us pass the Month of July by doing a bracket style tournament to determine the greatest Broncos game, similar in style to the greatest player bracket Nick facilitated in March. The format will be pretty much the same. In the same way Nick used objective criteria to seed the players, I tried to do the same with greatest games. This turned out to be a lot more difficult than I thought, and it probably left some good games off the list.  Here’s the process I used.

The Ground Rules

  • Only Bronco wins are eligible.
  • In the same way Elway and Bowlen were exempt, I exempted the three super bowl victories, since we know nothing can compete with those.
  • We are going to start with a 64-game regular season bracket, and whittle our way down to 8 games.
  • Once that is complete, we’ll add the 20 playoff games, give the top 4 playoff seeds a bye, and continue on in tournament style until we’ve picked a greatest Bronco game.
  • I split it up regular season and playoffs so that we could have some time to focus on the great regular season games, as I know the playoff games might overshadow otherwise.
  • Playoff games will be seeded by round, but we’ll get to that next week
  • Seeding regular season games was a lot trickier, as there were potentially 456 to weed through for the 64 seeds. I was able to use Pro Football Reference to fairly easily assign a point value to each game, depending different criteria.  The full scoring matrix can be found below, but in short, I rewarded games that featured comebacks, games against good teams, games where the Broncos were underdogs, games in seasons the Broncos did well, and games in prime time, among other factors.

I fiddled with these criteria for a long time before finally deciding to just go with it.  This was no doubt inexact, and was a lot less clear cut than the criteria for best Bronco player.  However, I didn’t know any other way to do this, and I wanted an “objective” criteria.  Unfortunately, there was little way to factor in how important the game was to that season, what milestones occurred in the game, and just the overall awesomeness of the game.


To make it a little easier, I’m going to split the 1st round into two days.  Tuesday will be the left side of the bracket, and Wednesday will be the right side.  After that, we’ll go one round per weekday.  I’m posting this today, and will plan on kicking it off Tuesday. I plan to keep the suggested criteria for voting as vague as.

I really want this to be a fun experience, with people remembering and sharing their favorite games.  Feel free to share any memories you have, or campaign for your favorites by posting any highlights, stories, etc.  Also, feel free to comment on some of yours that did not make the cut.  I also think this is a great way for some of the younger fans (like myself) to learn about some of the great games from years past.

Denver Broncos Greatest Games

Note on the 2nd tab of the spreadsheet there is some data in a sortable table about each game, including score, margin after each quarter, how large the comeback was, whether the opponent made the playoffs that year, etc. I did not link to the box score of each game, but I encourage you to check it out.  I used the same spreadsheet as Nick, so thanks to him for developing it.

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Lifelong Broncos fan and current Engineer living and working in Denver.