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The 1969 Denver Broncos began to bare some teeth for a change

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The 1969 Denver Broncos again won just five games. They started the season with two wins but staggered to a 3-3 record then a 4-4 one before losing four of their next five games (the fifth game being a tie). The Broncos also recorded the first shutout of an opponent in franchise history when they defeated the San Diego Chargers 13-0 in Week 8.

However, in 1969 it seemed as if a new attitude was being formed for the franchise. It began to rise from the defensive side of the ball, while Floyd Little continued to be the focal point on office. Especially from a formerly undrafted, Oakland Raider castaway, Rich "Tombstone" Jackson, but also from rising stars like Billy Thompson and Paul Smith. The groundwork for the Orange Crush defense was in its infancy.

In fact, during that aforementioned shutout of the Chargers, the fledgling Orange Crush defense held the Chargers to just 70 total yards. In Lou Saban’s third year as head coach - the longest tenure for a Broncos coach up to that point - he had begun the long process of talent acquisition and it was turning the corner for the franchise from doormat to below average.

1969 Preseason
Aug. 9 45,916 L 26-6 Minnesota Vikings Metropolitan Stadium
Aug. 16 28,356 L 28-22 New Orleans Saints Mile High Stadium
Aug. 23 33,161 W 19-15 San Francisco 49ers Mile High Stadium
Aug. 30 18,375 L 26-10 Boston Patriots Jacksonville, Florida
Sept. 6 24,020 L 13-11 Cincinnati Bengals Nippert Stadium
1969 Regular Season
Sept. 14 43,482 W 35-7 Boston Patriots Mile High Stadium
Sept. 21 50,583 W 21-19 New York Jets Mile High Stadium
Sept. 28 40,302 L 41-28 Buffalo Bills War Memorial Stadium
Oct. 5 50,564 L 26-13 Kansas City Chiefs Mile High Stadium
Oct. 12 49,511 L 24-14 Oakland Raiders Mile High Stadium
Oct. 19 27,920 W 30-23 Cincinnati Bengals Nippert Stadium
Oct. 26 45,348 L 24-21 Houston Oilers Astrodome
Nov. 2 45,511 W 13-0 San Diego Chargers Mile High Stadium
Nov. 9 54,416 L 41-10 Oakland Raiders Oakland Coliseum
Nov. 16 45,002 T 20-20 Houston Oilers Mile High Stadium
Nov. 23 34,664 L 45-24 San Diego Chargers San Diego Stadium
Nov. 27 48,773 L 31-17 Kansas City Chiefs Municipal Stadium
Dec. 7 25,332 L 27-24 Miami Dolphins Orange Bowl
Dec. 14 42,198 W 27-16 Cincinnati Bengals Mile High Stadium

MHR MVP of 1969

Tombstone Jackson followed up his 10-sack season in 1968 with a monster 11 sack season in 1969 featuring the infamous "head slap" and "halo spinner" he used to terrorize opposing offensive linemen.

Jackson would make the Pro Bowl and first team All-NFL. His viciousness and no-quit attitude is exactly the kind of mantra that began to help turn this franchise around. For that reason, I’m giving him the nod for MVP over other worthy players like Floyd Little and Billy Thompson. Thompson had himself a 3 interception season, returning one for a touchdown.

Who gets your MVP?

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