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The 1964 Denver Broncos were not a very good team, but never quit

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos decided to repeat 1963 by going 2-11-1 again. This time their defense stepped things up, but their offense collapsed instead. Thanks for that one! The offense scored just 24 offensive touchdowns and would lose plenty of close games that year. Head coach Jack Faulkner was replaced by receivers coach Mac Speedie. Speedie ended the Broncos’ four-game losing streak but would go 1-7-1 the rest of the way.

Thanks to the worst trade ever, the Broncos also traded away a chance to draft Joe Namath in 1965 (for what amounted to a two-year rental on quarterback Jackie Lee). That trade was just one of four made by the Broncos with their first five picks in the 1964 AFL Draft. It’s like there couldn’t have been a bigger stooge of the AFL than the Denver Broncos back then. It’s okay though. The greatest of champions often rise from the lowest of origins. If you look at the Broncos of the last 30 years you see a polar opposite of the franchise that existed in the 60s. Hard trials must come before glory.

An interesting historical footnote to this season came from the Chicago-Sun Times which published a claim that Chicago White Sox owner Arthur Allen was going to purchase the Broncos and move the team to Chicago. Broncos President Carl Kunz and Allen claimed the report was false.

For this team, there were two standouts and their names were Willie Brown and Austin "Goose" Gonsoulin. Willie Brown nabbed 9 interceptions for 140 yards, while the Goose snatched 7 interceptions for 125 yards.

1964 Preseason
Aug. 8 26,293 L 34-20 San Diego Chargers Balboa Stadium
Aug. 14 13,545 L 20-7 Oakland Raiders Bears Stadium
Aug. 20 32,127 W 32-20 Houston Oilers Jeppesen Stadium
Aug. 28 19,500 L 14-10 Kansas City Chiefs Fort Worth, Texas
Sept. 5 20,568 W 27-17 Boston Patriots University of Denver Stadium
1964 Regular Season
Sept. 12 45,665 L 30-6 New York Jets Shea Stadium
Sept. 20 28,501 L 30-13 Buffalo Bills War Memorial Stadium
Sept. 27 22,651 L 38-17 Houston Oilers Bears Stadium
Oct. 4 15,485 L 39-10 Boston Patriots Bears Stadium
Oct. 11 16,285 W 33-27 Kansas City Chiefs Bears Stadium
Oct. 18 23,332 L 42-14 San Diego Chargers Balboa Stadium
Oct. 25 17,858 L 40-7 Oakland Raiders Frank Youell Field
Nov. 1 15,053 L 49-39 Kansas City Chiefs Municipal Stadium
Nov. 8 19,670 L 31-20 San Diego Chargers Bears Stadium
Nov. 15 11,309 W 20-16 New York Jets Bears Stadium
Nov. 20 24,979 L 12-7 Boston Patriots Fenway Park
Nov. 29 15,958 T 20-20 Oakland Raiders Bears Stadium
Dec. 13 14,431 L 30-19 Buffalo Bills Bears Stadium
Dec. 20 15,839 L 34-15 Houston Oilers Jeppesen Stadium

MHR MVP of 1964

I’m giving this MVP award to Goose Gonsoulin, because he was a Denver Bronco through and through. Willie Brown would move on to the Oakland Raiders and would never top his 1964 season as a Raider, yet he would be inducted into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. How is that for some bullcrap?

Anyway, Goose Gonsoulin averaged seven interceptions a season as a Bronco, setting the single season record in 1960 at 11 that still stands today. He’s getting one of my MVP awards during this decade. Period.

Who gets your MVP?

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