The Denver Broncos have a long history as one of the better teams in the National Football League. The Broncos were a charter member of the old American Football League (AFL) and were not very successful for their first decade in professional football. The Broncos joined the NFL in the 1970 AFL-NFL merger and by the mid-1970s had developed into one of the teams that other teams had to worry about. Like most teams in professional football, the team’s successes are somewhat reflective of who their starting quarterback was at the time.
By far, the best quarterback that the Denver Broncos have ever had is John Elway. Elway joined the team in the mid-1980s and quickly established himself as one of the most successful quarterbacks in the league. He was the primary starting quarterback for the team from 1983 through the 1998 season, never playing for any other franchise. He retired from the league holding every significant team quarterback record in the Broncos record book including most career completions, most career attempts, most passing yards, most touchdown passes, and more. He also held many single season team passing records including most touchdown passes in one season. John Elway took the Broncos to five Super Bowls as their quarterback, losing the first three before winning back to back titles in his last two years in the league. During his career, Elway would be named the league MVP once, the Super Bowl MVP once, and would also be a nine time Pro Bowler.
After spending the bulk of his career with the Dallas Cowboys, followed by a little over two seasons with the New York Giants, Craig Morton joined the Denver Broncos as their starting quarterback in 1977. He was immediately successful, leading the Broncos to a 12-2 record, two playoff victories and an appearance in the Super Bowl which they ended up losing to the Cowboys. Morton would go on to lead the Broncos for the next four seasons as well, and only one time during his time as the team’s starting quarterback did they finish the season with fewer than ten victories. In reward for the amazing season he contributed to for the Broncos in 1977, Morton was named the NFL Comeback Player of the Year. At the time he retired from the league, one season before the Broncos acquired John Elway, Craig Morton held many of the team’s passing records.
After being one of the better quarterbacks in the league for a number of years even though he was playing for a team considered to be one of the less impressive, the Arizona Cardinals, Jake Plummer joined the Denver Broncos to be their starting quarterback in 2003. During his four seasons with the team he would put up an impressive record of 39-15 as a starting quarterback. He is listed third or fourth overall in many career passing categories in Broncos history and he also put up a number of impressive single season statistics too like being tied with John Elway for most touchdown passes in a season at 27. Until outdone by Jay Cutler in 2008, Jake Plummer also held the record for most passing yards in a season by a Denver Broncos quarterback.
The Denver Broncos have had a fascinating history in the league, from upstart franchise in the AFL to Super Bowl champions, and more. Through the years the Broncos have had a number of notable players, and that is especially true at the position of quarterback where John Elway, Craig Morton and Jake Plummer have been the cream of the crop. Some of the other players to play the position of starting quarterback in Denver include Jay Cutler, Brian Griese, Steve DeBerg, Steve Ramsey, Charley Johnson, Pete Liske, Steve Tensi, Marlin Briscoe, Max Choboian, John McCormick, Jacky Lee, Mickey Slaughter and Frank Tripucka. What the future holds for the quarterbacks of the Denver Broncos is anyone’s guess.