A Win to Close A Season
December 21, 1997 - Denver finished the 1997 regular season in the same fashion they started it: with a win. The 11-4 Broncos were hosting the 4-11 San Diego Chargers. The results were predictable. The Chargers opened the scoring with a field goal in the first quarter and held Denver scoreless in that quarter. The last three quarters belonged to the Broncos. Rod Smith and John Elway connected for two touchdowns in the second quarter -- an 11-yard completion and a 15-yarder. Then Elway connected with Ed McCaffrey in that same quarter. Jason Elam closed out the scoring in the first half with a 25-yard field goal, giving Denver a 24-3 advantage at half-time. The Broncos added a touchdown in the third quarter (a 68-yard Elway to Shannon Sharpe pass) and another in the fourth quarter (a 6-yard run by Derek Loville).
Despite a 12-4-0 record, Denver finished 2nd in the AFC West. They won their Wild Card matchup 42-17 over the Jacksonville Jaguars. A 14-10 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs put the Broncos into the AFC Championship game where they defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 24-21. Then, on January 25, 1998, Denver won its first Super Bowl by defeating the Green Bay Packers 31-24.