The Denver Broncos are a professional American football team based in Denver, Colorado. They are currently members of the West Division of the American Football Conference (AFC) in the National Football League (NFL). The Broncos began play in 1960 as a charter member of the American Football League and joined the NFL as part of the AFL–NFL merger of 1970.
The team is one of the most successful teams in NFL history, having won two Super Bowls and six AFC Championships. They play at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, and have four players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame: John Elway, Floyd Little, Gary Zimmerman, and Shannon Sharpe.
When the Broncos debuted in 1960, their original uniforms drew as much attention as their play on the field. It featured white and mustard yellow jerseys, with contrasting brown helmets, brown pants, and vertically striped socks.
Two years later, the team unveiled a new logo featuring a bucking horse, and changed their team colors to orange, royal blue and white. The 1962 uniform, designed by Laura North-Allen, consisted of white pants, orange helmets, and either orange or white jerseys.
In 1968, the Broncos debuted a design that became known as the "Orange Crush." Their logo was redesigned so that the horse was coming out of a "D." Additionally, the helmets were changed to royal blue, with thin stripes placed onto the sleeves, and other minor modifications were added. From 1969–1971, and again from 1978–1979, the team wore orange pants with their white jerseys.
The Broncos wore their white jerseys at home throughout the 1971 season, as well as for 1980 home games vs. the San Diego Chargers and Dallas Cowboys, the latter in hopes to bring out the "blue jersey jinx" which has followed the Cowboys for decades (it worked, Denver won 41–20). Denver wore its white jerseys for 1983 home games vs. the Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals, but would not wear white at home again for two decades (see below).
In 1994, in honor of the 75th anniversary season of the NFL, the Broncos wore their 1965 throwback uniforms for two games—a Week 3 home game against the Los Angeles Raiders, as well a road game at the Buffalo Bills the following week.
The Broncos then radically changed their logo and uniforms in 1997, a design that the team continues to use to this day. Navy blue replaced royal blue on the team's color scheme. The current logo is a profile of a horse's head, with an orange mane and navy blue outlines. They began wearing navy blue jerseys, replacing their longtime orange jerseys that had been the team's predominant home jersey color since 1962. This new uniform design also features a new word mark, numbering font and a streak that runs up and down the sides of both the jerseys and the pants. On the navy blue jerseys, the streak is orange, with an orange collar and white numerals trimmed in orange, while on the road white jerseys, the streak is navy blue, with a thin orange accent strip on both sides, a navy collar and navy numerals trimmed in orange. When they debuted, these uniforms were, once again, vilified by the press and fans, until the Broncos won their first ever Super Bowl in the new design that same season. The navy blue jerseys will remain as the team's primary home jersey until the end of the 2011 season (see next paragraph).
In 2002, the Broncos introduced an alternate orange jersey that is a mirror image of the aforementioned navy blue jerseys, but with orange and navy trading places. Like the road white jerseys, the white pants with the navy blue streaks running down the sides are worn with this uniform. This jersey was used only once in the 2002 and 2004 seasons, and were used twice per season from 2008–2011, most recently in an October 30, 2011 game vs. the Detroit Lions. Former head coach Mike Shanahan was not a big fan of the alternate orange jerseys. The Broncos previously wore orange jerseys as a throwback uniform in a Thanksgiving Day game at the Dallas Cowboys in 2001. Beginning in 2012, the modern orange jerseys will become the team's new primary home jersey, while the aforementioned navy blue jerseys will be designated as the new alternate jersey. The move was made due to overwhelming fan support to return to orange as the team's primary home jersey color.
The team also introduced navy blue pants in 2003, with orange streaks to be worn with the navy blue jerseys. These pants are primarily used for select prime-time and late-season home games. Though they were part of the uniform change in 1997 and most players wanted to wear them, the only player who vetoed wearing them was John Elway, thereby delaying their eventual introduction.
On November 16, 2003, the Broncos wore their white jerseys at home for the first time since 1983, in a game vs. the San Diego Chargers. This was compensation for a uniform mix-up, after the teams' first meeting at San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium in Week 2 earlier that season, when the Chargers were the team that was supposed to declare their uniform color. The Chargers were planning to wear their white jerseys, but the visiting Broncos came to the stadium in white, and were fined $25,000 by the NFL as a result. When the two teams met at INVESCO Field at Mile High later that season (Week 11), the NFL allowed the visiting Chargers to choose their uniform color in advance, and they chose navy blue, forcing the Broncos to wear their white jerseys at home.
In 2009, in honor of their 50th anniversary season as one of the eight original AFL teams, the Broncos wore their 1960 throwback uniforms (brown helmets, mustard yellow and brown jerseys) for games against two fellow AFL rivals—a Week 5 home game vs. New England Patriots, as well as the following week at the San Diego Chargers.