1984 Denver Broncos season

1984 Denver Broncos season
Head coach Dan Reeves
Owner Pat Bowlen
Home field Mile High Stadium
Record 13–3
Division place 1st AFC West
Playoff finish Lost AFC Divisional Playoff (Steelers) 24–17

The 1984 Denver Broncos season was the team's 25th year in professional football and its 15th with the National Football League (NFL). The team finished with its then franchise best record of thirteen wins and three losses and were champions of the AFC West. The season ended in a heartbreaking Divisional Playoff loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers.


NFL Draft

Main article: 1984 NFL Draft
1984 Denver Broncos draft
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
2 46 Andre Townsend  Defensive end Mississippi
3 78 Tony Lilly  Defensive back Florida
4 89 Randy Robbins  Defensive back Arizona
6 159 Aaron Smith  Linebacker Utah State
7 186 Clarence Kay  Tight end Georgia
8 207 Winford Hood  Guard Georgia
8 218 Scott Garnett  Defensive tackle Washington
9 245 Chris Brewer  Running back Arizona
10 272 Bobby Micho  Tight end Texas
11 299 Gene Lang  Running back LSU
12 326 Murray Jarman  Wide receiver Clemson
      Made roster  




1984 Denver Broncos staff
Front office
  • President and Chief Executive Officer – Pat Bowlen
  • Assistant General Manager – John Beake
  • Coordinator of College Scouting – Reed Johnson

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches

Special teams coaches

  • Special Teams – Fran Polsfoot

Strength and conditioning

  • Strength and Conditioning – I. J. Gorman


Regular season


Week Date Opponent Result Game site Record Attendance
1 September 2 Cincinnati Bengals W 20–17 Mile High Stadium 1–0
2 September 9 at Chicago Bears L 0–27 Soldier Field 1–1
3 September 16 at Cleveland Browns W 24–14 Cleveland Stadium 2–1
4 September 23 Kansas City Chiefs W 21–0 Mile High Stadium 3–1
5 September 30 Los Angeles Raiders W 16–13 Mile High Stadium 4–1
6 October 7 at Detroit Lions W 28–7 Pontiac Silverdome 5–1
7 October 15 Green Bay Packers W 17–14 Mile High Stadium 6–1
8 October 21 at Buffalo Bills W 37–7 Rich Stadium 7–1
9 October 28 at Los Angeles Raiders W 22–19 (OT) Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 8–1
10 November 4 New England Patriots W 26–19 Mile High Stadium 9–1
11 November 11 at San Diego Chargers W 16–13 Jack Murphy Stadium 10–1
12 November 18 Minnesota Vikings W 42–21 Mile High Stadium 11–1
13 November 25 Seattle Seahawks L 24–27 Mile High Stadium 11–2
14 December 2 at Kansas City Chiefs L 13–16 Arrowhead Stadium 11–3
15 December 9 San Diego Chargers W 16–13 Mile High Stadium 12–3
16 December 15 at Seattle Seahawks W 31–14 Kingdome 13–3

Game summaries

Week 7

1 234Total
Packers 0 077 14
Broncos 14 300 17



AFC West
Denver Broncos(2) 13 3 0 .813 6–2 10–2 353 241 W2
Seattle Seahawks(4) 12 4 0 .750 5–3 8–4 418 282 L2
Los Angeles Raiders(5) 11 5 0 .688 5–3 8–4 368 278 L1
Kansas City Chiefs 8 8 0 .500 4–4 7–7 314 324 W3
San Diego Chargers 7 9 0 .438 0–8 3–9 394 413 L2


Round Date Opponent Result Game site Attendance
Divisional Playoffs December 30 Pittsburgh Steelers L 24–17 Mile High Stadium

AFC Divisional Playoff

AFC Divisional Game: Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Steelers 0 10 7724
Broncos 7 0 10017

at Mile High Stadium, Denver

  • Date: December 30, 1984
  • Game time: 2 p.m. PDT
  • Game weather: 33 degrees, 58 humidity, 6 wind chill

The Broncos lost to the Steelers 24–17 at Denver's Mile High Stadium on Sunday, December 30, 1984. The game was televised on NBC. Given Denver's record and their opportunistic defense, Pittsburgh was the decided underdog. Indeed, much talk before the game centered on a possible meeting of two up-and-coming quarterbacks—Denver's John Elway and Miami's Dan Marino—in the AFC Championship Game.

The game turned into a defensive struggle. After the Broncos' first drive ended in a punt, Steelers' quarterback Mark Malone fumbled on two consecutive drives; the first ended in a missed Rich Karlis field goal, but the second was converted into a touchdown pass from Elway to receiver Jim Wright. The Steelers then answered with a scoring drive, as Gary Anderson kicked a 28-yard field goal.

With the teams trading punts, a miscue by the Steelers threatened to blow the game open. Midway through the second quarter, Steelers' punter Craig Colquitt had his punt blocked—the first of his career—and Denver set up at Pittsburgh's four-yard-line. But on third-and-goal, Elway floated a weak pass into the arms of nose tackle Gary Dunn. Now with the momentum, the Steelers were able to put a drive together at the end of the first half, resulting in a one-yard Frank Pollard touchdown run. The Broncos tried to tie the game with time running out in the half, but a long field goal attempt by Karlis fell short.

Leading somewhat surprisingly 10–7, Pittsburgh looked to grind out yards on the ground and keep Elway on the sidelines. But Denver managed two drives to take the lead in the quarter; the first ended with a Karlis chip-shot to tie the game at 10, then Elway hit receiver Steve Watson for a 20-yard strike to take a 17–10 lead. The Steelers then came back with a drive of their own, resulting in a 10-yard touchdown pass from Malone to receiver Louis Lipps. After both defenses held and forced a couple of more punts, Pittsburgh used Pollard and Walter Abercrombie to knife through a tiring Broncos defense. A key pass to Weegie Thompson put the Steelers at the 15-yard-line, where they stalled. However, Anderson missed his second field goal of the afternoon, and Denver took over with about three minutes left.

Having sustained a groin pull and a twisted knee, however, Elway was not as mobile and was experiencing difficulty with his throws. On second down, Elway threw a pass over the middle that was intercepted by Steelers' safety Eric Williams, who then ran the ball down to the 2-yard-line. After a short run and an incomplete pass, Pollard scored the go-ahead touchdown with a 1-yard run.

With a hobbled Elway not being able to lead the team to a first down, the Broncos turned the ball over on downs. They then used all their time-outs while stopping the Steelers, who, somewhat controversially, attempted a field goal on fourth down—only to see Anderson miss his third attempt of the day. Elway then threw to Watson near midfield, but by the time Elway fired the ball out of bounds to stop the clock, only one second remained. A desperation "Hail Mary" pass fell incomplete, and the Steelers won, 24–17.

The Broncos and their fans were bitterly disappointed by the loss, and finished the year 13–4. After a season-long, high-profile rivalry with their AFC West stablemates Seattle, neither team would end up in the AFC Championship Game.


  1. "1984 Denver Broncos draftees". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
  2. 2010 Denver Broncos Media Guide. p. 359. Retrieved March 6, 2011.
  3. Pro-Football-Reference.com

External links

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