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Sports Then and Now



Classic Rewind: Broncos Block Chargers Chance at Victory 15

Posted on October 15, 2009 by Dean Hybl

Each week, Sports Then and Now picks one NFL matchup and looks through the history books to find an intriguing past meeting between the two teams. We recap the game and hopefully help reintroduce (or introduce for you younger readers) you to some of the greats (and in some cases not so greats) from the history of professional football.

As two original members of the AFL, the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers twice annually on the field since 1960 and will face off for the 100th time when they meet November 22nd in Denver. Since 1977, the two teams have been the most dominant squads in the AFC West, combining for 19 of the last 32 division titles. Denver has won 10 titles, while the Chargers have claimed the division crown nine times, including each of the last three years.

There have been some high-scoring meetings between the two teams.

In just the second-ever meeting between the teams in 1960, Jack Kemp threw three touchdowns and the Los Angeles Chargers scored the final 14 points of the game to win 41-33. In that game, Gene Mingo of the Broncos kicked four field goals, scored a rushing touchdown and returned four kickoffs for 99 yards.

In 1963 the two teams took turns running up the score. Denver defeated San Diego 50-34 on October 6 and then the Chargers returned the favor with a 58-20 beat-down of the Broncos on December 22.

Perhaps one of the most exciting games in the series occurred in 2000 when the then-winless Chargers used three touchdown passes from Ryan Leaf to grab a 37-24 lead before Gus Frerotte tossed two touchdown passes in the final five minutes to lift the Broncos to a 38-37 victory.

Our pick for the Classic Rewind is a 1985 battle that features a pair of Hall of Fame quarterbacks in John Elway and Dan Fouts. Neither quarterback had a career day, but they both made the big plays down the stretch. The overtime battle finished with a dramatic twist that helped propel one team toward future success and the other toward a long period of futility.

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      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is the only football player ever to capture college football’s top individual award twice.

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