98 has so much meaning in Broncos history. It represents the calendar year in which the Broncos won their first world championship. It also kicked off the run to Super Bowl 33 and included historical milestones such as Terrell Davis' 2K rushing season as well as John Elway's 300th and final TD pass in the regular season. In fact both of those milestones occurred in the very same game.
Sunday December 27th, 1998 - Mile High Stadium
Going into the game, Terrell Davis stood at 1830 yards, 170 away from joining a very exclusive club that at that time only had 3 other members: O.J. Simpson, Eric Dickerson, and Barry Sanders. By halftime Davis was about halfway there with 82 yards on 14 carries. By the end of three quarters his total stood at 133, just 37 yards shy. On the culminating drive of his record breaking season, TD ripped off consecutive runs of 10, 10, and 4 respectively to bring his total to 163, just 7 yards shy of immortality. Bouncing an outside zone off left end, Terrell Davis got 15 to push his final total to 2008 on the season.
There were many times that season where TD was pulled for a quarter because the Broncos had such big leads. Hindsight tells us he could be the record holder had he played out the full length of every game.
While 170 yards was a tough milestone to reach on the final day of the regular season, 4 TD's seemed almost out of reach for John Elway to attain 300. Elway had thrown for 4 or more TD's just 9 times in his previous 233 games as a starting quarterback. On this day, in what would become a recurring theme, Elway managed to end his regular season career at the top.
In the first half, Elway managed scoring strikes to Rod Smith and Shannon Sharpe of 33 and 17 yards respectively. His next one (299) occurred right out of halftime on the Broncos first offensive possession. The recipient was fellow history-maker Terrell Davis who converted a 2-yard check down.
His final regular season touchdown came with a bit of drama, as the Broncos elected to go for it on 4th and goal from the 1 yard line early on in the 4th quarter. Elway competed a beautiful fade route to Shannon Sharpe in the corner of the endzone for #300.
This regular season game, meaningless in the standings, perhaps holds some of the greatest sentimental value amongst Broncos fans as we got to witness our two best players achieve history. Though the proliferation of the passing game has since shattered records and raised the bar of QB statistical output, Elway was only the 3rd QB in NFL history at that point to throw for 300 or more passing TD's.
Super Bowl XXXII - January 25th, 1998
"THIS ONE'S FOR JOHN" we all know the story behind it. 13.5 point underdogs.....0-4 in the big game--0-3 under Elway. Blowout after blowout after blowout on football's biggest stage with the NFC having dominated their way to 13 consecutive victories. No other game in franchise history meant so much as this one. This was the night the Broncos re-wrote history to become world champions.
Cool 98 factoid
John Elway registered a 98.4 passer rating in week 3 of the 1995 season. The game was September 17th against the Washington Redskins at home. A skinny undrafted rookie caught Elway's game winning TD pass in Hail Mary fashion as time expired. His name? Rod Smith.
Do you have any cool Broncos memories or connections with the number 98? Let us know!