How The Broncos Almost Weren't (and More Reasons Every Broncos Fan Should Dislike the Bears):

With all the mock drafts eating up the fanpost feed, I thought I'd take a moment to document a few reasons why every Bronco fan should dislike the Bears. The animosity of recent years over you-know-who is only the most recent a in history of events between these two franchises. The bad blood dates back to before the Denver Broncos existed. Stick with me after the fold and I'll tell you why being a Broncos fan means that you shouldn't like the Chicago Bears.



REASON #1 - George Halas



While good ol' "Poppa" Halas did so many wonderful things for pro-football, he went out of his way to make sure that Denver never got an NFL franchise.

Prior to the formation of the Broncos as an AFL franchise, Bob Howsam - the founder of the Broncos - had petitioned the NFL to buy the Chicago Cardinals and move them to Denver.

Back then, the Chicago Bears reigned supreme as the only quality franchise from the Illinois border (essentially the eastern one) to San Francisco/Los Angeles (with a brief exception being the first Dallas Texans team (not owned by Lamar Hunt and never became the Chiefs - it folded rather swiftly - see below. Also note that the 49ers at that time only recently (1950) came from the AAFL (along with a the Browns & Colts) and were the new kids on the block along with the newly relocated Cleveland Rams in Los Angeles).



As you can see there was this huge expanse in the middle of the country where no NFL team existed. In the late 1950's, the Bears were essentially the only grounded NFL team that western states could follow. Remember football on television was largely a regional affair and since the Bears were it, they were essentially all anyone out west ever saw. The Cardinals of that time were essentially the NFL version of today's LA Clippers, but with a little more success - but not much.

Bob Howsam's request to buy the Cardinals was opposed primarily by Halas who viewed a team in Denver as a threat to the Bears' Western Empire (there were other considerations like stadium size among other things, but the threat was the main reason). Considering the size of Broncos Country seen here in pictographic form (thanks to whoever posted this a few weeks ago-btw), the Bears had quite a bit of territory to fear losing. (Here's wikipedia's history of the AFL - fascinating read for sure)



When Lamar Hunt moved to launch the AFL with the aid of Houston's Bud Adams and other owners , NFL ownership opted to allow Adams and Hunt into the NFL provided that none of the other franchises (LA Chargers, Minnesota (Oakland had yet to be an option), Buffalo Bills , New York Titans, Denver Broncos, Boston Patriots) were allowed to join. Thankfully, Hunt never accepted the deal and went forward in founding the AFL. As Broncos fans, we owe a great deal to this man.



Years later when Hunt and Adams (outside of knowledge of then AFL Commissioner Al Davis -



yes, that Al Davis) were in negotiations to merge the AFL with the NFL, George Halas again flexed his muscle and requested that Denver, along with another team not be allowed to join the NFL. Again, Hunt held his ground and the all AFL franchises were allowed entry into the NFL and the rest is history.

Though Halas was a great figure in the history of football, he was an enemy of the Broncos since before their inception.

REASON #2 - Dick Butkus



In 1965 the hapless Broncos drafted Dick Butkus. Like fellow HOFer/Little House on the Prairie sidekick Merlin Olsen did with the Rams in 1962, Butkus rebuffed the Broncos -- to sign with the Chicago Bears of the NFL. Such was Denver's luck back then. We didn't sign any of our high profile picks until we became a part of the NFL - the first being HOFer Floyd Little (feels good to say that). Granted, I can kind of understand (emphasis on kind of) why Butkus went the way he did. The Broncos were about as disheveled an orginazation as one could be during that time. However, what could have Butkus have been had he come to Mile High (or Bears Stadium as it was known then - wait a minute?!) The fact remains that Butkus could have been one of the early great Broncos, instead he played it safe and became a Bear. Ick.

To be honest, I'd take Gradishar and Mecklenburg over this guy every day of the week. If you don't want to be a Bronco, we don't want you to be either... Which brings me to....

REASON #3 - Jay Cutler



I don't need to rehash this. You all know the deal.


So now you know. Think about these reasons when the Broncos play host to the Chicago Bears later this year. When you see the GSH on Bears' sleeve remember that George Halas didn't want you to have a team. Had he gotten his way, we'd be rooting for someone else. When you see Butkus think about the Bronco great that could have been and not the guy who regularly gets mistaken for Webster's dad...



Heck, if Halas got his way, Webster's dad would never have walked back to Detroit after we whupped their butt in the first AFL/NFL game (here's a bit on that)...

Okay, I'm digressing here delving into the Lions, but seriously take a moment and think how fortunate we are to be in a position where we can not only dislike the Bears, but play against them as well.

AFL Forever.


Additional Sources (and highly recommended):

FULL COLOR FOOTBALL (SHOWTIME/NFL FILMS) - Links to youtube - The entire series is on there and worth watching.

GOING LONG (BY JEFF MILLER (c) 2003) - Available on Amazon

THE NFL'S OFFICIAL ENCYCLOPEDIC HISTORY OF PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL (NFL PROPERTIES, INC. (c) 1977 - Available on Amazon (priced at $0.06 used - it's worth $60 - amazing book)

This is a Fan-Created Comment on The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR.