The Mile High Salute is one of the relics born out of the most successful era in Denver Broncos History--the Super Bowl years. Originally, it was created as a sign of camaraderie amongst the six Broncos RB's on the roster during the 1997 training camp. That group of backs called themselves the "No Limit Soldiers." Here's an excerpt from a short read about the gesture's history:
The salute happened spontaneously in practice one day. It was going to stay private until fullback Howard Griffith saluted running back Terrell Davis in the season opener after Davis scored a touchdown. By the time the Broncos had beaten Cincinnati for their fourth straight win, the entire team was into saluting one another. Even coach Mike Shanahan got into the act, saluting Davis after presenting him the game ball for a 215-yard rushing effort. The original name was the "No Limit Soldier's Salute." It is done after every Broncos touchdown.
Terrell Davis played his last game in 2001, but he would pass on the torch to another talented RB in Mike Anderson. During the 2000 season, Mike Anderson carved out a rookie campaign that was one of the greatest in Denver Bronco History. Mike notched 7-100 yard games en route to an amazing 1487 yard--15 TD effort. He averaged 5 yards per carry that rookie season and and was named the offensive ROY.
As Terrell Davis passed on the rushing torch so to speak, he also passed on the Mile High Salute. Mike Anderson was a former Marine and found honor in continuing the tradition as a nod not only to Broncos history, but to the service men and women serving in the Unites States Armed Forces everywhere.
Unfortunately for Mike, he would also inherit TD's injury issues and as a result played in only 24 of 48 games the next three seasons. Most frustrating perhaps was the loss of the 2004 season due to a preseason injury. Late in a game on special teams, Mike tore both of his groin muscles while blocking a punt return. He made a successful return during the 2005 season rushing for 1014 yards and 12 TD's.
That mark set NFL records for longest stretch between seasons leading a team in rushing, longest stretch between a player's first and second 1,000-yard rushing seasons, and greatest number of seasons passed between 1,000-yard rushing seasons with no intervening seasons rushing for that distance. (Wikipedia)
2005 would be Mike's last as a Bronco as he sadly finished his career as a Baltimore Raven. In his time here, Mike rushed for 3,822 yards (4.4 YPC) and 36 TD's.
Cool 38 Factoid
Mike Anderson's best game statistically came in 2000. On December 3rd in the Superdome against the Saints, Mike rushed for a team record 251 yards on 37 carries (6.8 YPC) and 4 TD's.
Notable Broncos to wear #38:
Reggie Rivers (1991-1996)
Mike Anderson (2000-2005)
Current Bronco wearing #38: