Snow fun? ‘Broncos Blizzard’ not in forecast
Vail, CO Colorado
DENVER ” Around the city, it’s known as the “Broncos Blizzard.”
Schools and highways were closed because of the sudden snow storm that hit on Oct. 15, 1984. The airport was shut down and there were power outages all over the Mile High City.
Yet, the Monday night game between the Green Bay Packers and Denver Broncos went on.
According to the National Weather Service, more than 10 inches of snow fell before, during and after the game. The wind gusts reached 55 mph, whipping the snow into drifts that piled up as high as four feet.
“I can’t believe how much it snowed,” Packers historian Lee Remmel said from his Wisconsin home Monday. “It just snowed and snowed.”
That won’t be the case this time around when Green Bay plays Denver on Monday night. Todd Dankers, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said it’s not going to dip lower than 50 degrees.
“It will be so clear you can see the stars and the moon,” he said. “It will be a perfect night for football.”
They still talk about that storm in his Boulder weather office.
“It’s a little bit of a legend around here,” Dankers said. “It comes up from time to time. It was quite a storm.”
Former Broncos general manager John Beake has no trouble recalling that night.
“It really was unbelievable,” said Beake, who now lives in Winter Park. “We had to keep shoveling the lines so you could see the yard markers. The conditions were that bad. But we couldn’t have asked for a better start to the game, though.”
No, the Broncos couldn’t have scripted a better beginning. Steve Foley returned a Green Bay fumble 22 yards for a touchdown just 16 seconds into it. Then, on the Packers’ next play from scrimmage, Louis Wright scooped up a fumble and ran 27 yards for a score.
Denver was up 14-0 in the first quarter with 14:23 still showing on the clock. The Packers tried to climb back into the game, but Denver held on for a 17-14 win. Green Bay outgained Denver 423-193, but fumbled seven times, losing four of them.
“We had a disastrous beginning,” Remmel said. “The game, as it turned out, was decided in that first minute.”
Beake sat up in owner Pat Bowlen’s box for the game, but it was far from comfortable.
In his first year in control of the Broncos, Bowlen insisted on keeping the windows open so he could hear the crowd noise.
“What the fans were feeling, we were feeling,” Beake said. “Mr. Bowlen likes to get a feel for the game. If you’re sitting there with the windows closed, in a vacuum, you don’t get that feeling. It was cold and the snow was coming in.”
“But I bet it was great for the Colorado ski industry,” he said. “All that snow? I bet they got a lot of skiers out of that.”
The Broncos have become fixtures on Monday night, appearing in the prime-time game at least once every season since 1992. It’s the longest active Monday night streak in the NFL.
Denver almost had to share the spotlight with the Colorado Rockies, who were scheduled to play Game 5 of the World Series on Monday night at Coors Field.
However, the Boston Red Sox swept the Rockies, and a conflict was avoided.
Still, in the eyes of Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler, just the possibility confirms one thing ” Denver is a premier sports town.
“One of the best in the country,” he said. “This clarifies that.”
Beake certainly won’t argue. Not after what he saw out of the crowd during the ’84 game against Green Bay in blizzard conditions.
“It was amazing that anyone was in the stands,” he said. “That shows you the toughness, loyalty and enthusiasm of the fans here in Denver. It really was an amazing game, especially if you like the snow.”