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Horse Tracks: Broncos ‘Uncommon’ slogan recalls history

I do not choose to be a common man; it is my right to be uncommon if I can.

broncos ring of fame plaza Photo by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Last week, the Denver Broncos unveiled their 2023 slogan that mercifully put 2022’s “Let’s Ride” to bed.

As with most things the Denver Broncos do, some of the people loved it, others derided it. MHR’s own SB Nation mothership was not a fan.

When the explanation for your weird phrase is that winning in the NFL is uncommon, then you have problems. Firstly, winning games isn’t uncommon. You have a 50 percent chance on 17 attempts. If you just rolled the dice you’d win 8-9 games. More than that, it’s immediately telling everyone “we know we’re going to suck, but we told y’all that winning is uncommon.” The very best you can hope for is that you defy expectations and have a good season, but then you’ve only told people “we were uncommon,” and that’s sad.

While this writer seems weirdly offended by the Broncos new slogan, it’s important to note how unremarkable and, dare I say it? Common the Denver Broncos have become. They haven’t been nationally significant in years. Common. When the face of your franchise is Case Keenum and Trevor Siemian? Common. The boring and unimaginative offenses of Fangio and Hackett? Irritating, infuriating, and painfully common.

This is not the first time boring football had been played in Broncos Country. During the 1960’s the Broncos struggled worse then they have during this current stretch. It was this brand of common football (and a lack of financial resources that caused it) played before the NFL merger that kept draftees from signing their contracts with the Denver Broncos.

In 1967, that all changed when Denver selected an ‘uncommon’ man in the first AFL/NFL common draft.

Floyd Little, ‘The Franchise’ changed everything. In addition to saving the team from relocation, the Broncos Hall of Fame running back provided the spark of hope from which a winning culture was born. It was uncommon in Denver.

Floyd Little can often be heard saying, “I do not choose to be a common man; it is my right to be uncommon if I can.” That’s my dad, an uncommon man.

Marc Little quoted his father at Floyd’s Hall of Fame induction on August 7, 2010.

Forget winning being uncommon (although, we know it is after the last 7-years). What the Broncos new slogan really means is that the Broncos can’t be ordinary. It’s the vanilla boring-ness of the Broncos that has brought the franchise to the constantly rebuilding mode it finds itself in today. Do I need to list the quarterbacks again?

I think Floyd Little would like the new slogan. He knew that to be something, he had to be special. It was his uncommon-ness that fueled his Hall of Fame career. How often have Broncos fans fantasized about being nationally relevant again? Fantasized about not being a “Let’s Ride” punchline? Relevance is being uncommon. The Broncos could use a a few heaping doses of that going forward.


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