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Denver Broncos Countdown to Kickoff: 73 Days

73 represents a few things for the Denver Broncos, 1973 was their first winning season as a football team, but also the number of one of their greatest players that you may have forgotten about.

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

I turn to a word from my mentor and life coach Jim Saccomano who pointed out a few months ago that in 1973 the draft was 17 rounds. The Broncos had 19 picks, as Mr. Saccomano went on to explain, this was the draft that laid the ground work for Denver to become winners.

That '73 draft brought in Otis Armstrong, Barney Chavous, Lyle Alzado, Paul Howard, John Grant and of course Tom Jackson. Ultimately this is the foundation that led to the Broncos crushing their way to their first Super Bowl in 1978.

1973 was a good year to be a Denver fan, check out this highlight reel of the Broncos snapping the Pittsburgh Steelers 13 game home winning streak:

1973 wk 10 Broncos at Steelers (via Panthers11222)

Surprisingly it wasn't Floyd Little who led Denver to victory in that one.

Of course you can't mention the number 73 and Broncos to me without getting a diatribe on the greatness that is Simon Fletcher.

"There are a lot of guys who aren't in the ring of fame, Barney Chavous who coached me here, Simon Fletcher a guy who I played with, pretty good players within the Broncos organization that aren't in the ring of realistically I didn't think [that I would be inducted]." Tom Nalen

Fletcher currently holds the record in Denver for most career sacks (97.5), seven of his ten seasons in the NFL (all as a Bronco) he had seven sacks or more. Stat for stat he can match anyone of today's defensive elites in sacks and tackles.

Fletcher was so good that John Elway mistakenly congratulated him on his Ring of Fame induction in April 2012. He was even too good to make the Pro Bowl, in his career year he had 16 sacks, yet Bryan Cox (14 sacks) and Derrick Thomas (14.5 sacks) got the invite.

So, really why would Fletcher be in the Ring of Fame? The Denver media couldn't even get him in the Pro Bowl... A good friend of mine whom the MHR Community knows as Kaptain Kirk said it best, "Nothing against Tom Nalen, who will be inducted into the Broncos Ring of Fame, but I believe Rick Upchurch and then Simon Fletcher, in that order, should precede "Nails" on the Level 5 facade of Sports Authority Field at Mile High."

Well, let me mention that if you're in or near Denver, be sure to check out his great barbeque joint in Greeley, it's called Whistle Blowers Grill & BBQ. Go like them on Facebook and show the man some love.

Notable Broncos to wear #73:

Simon Fletcher 1985-1995

Chris Kuper 2006-Current

Current Bronco wearing #73:

Chris Kuper

Read More: Denver Broncos by the Numbers: #73 (Kaptain Kirk)