ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Former Head Coach Red Miller, who led the franchise to its initial three postseason appearances and the first of its eight Super Bowls from 1977-80, has been unanimously elected as the 32nd member of the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame, the team announced on Thursday after the selection committee held its annual meeting. He will be inducted during a half time game to be announced at a later date.
For many of Broncos Country who were alive before John Elway was drafted, have a special place in their heart for Red. He put Denver on the map, brought the team to national prominence. Before him, the Broncos were a team that toiled in relative anonymity for those living outside the west. The NFL was powered by the Steelers and Cowboys and Bear and Giants and Dolphins. Denver games were rarely shown in the east coast markets. Red and his Orange Crush changed that.
He spawned a new fan group, one that also reached every corner of the world. I’ve done fans pieces and have talked with those from as far away as Australia. Red and Crush are why they became and still are, Broncos fans. For those under 40, it wasn’t John Elway who started a lifelong long affair, but Red Miller. Three cheers for this long overdue accolade.
“Hearing that great news from Joe and the rest of the committee brought back so many memories from those special seasons with the Broncos,” Miller said. “Looking back, it was a ragtag operation with where we were at the time. We had to build it up and get it going. All of our players and coaches carried us to a lot of success and brought so much excitement to the fans during those years.
“I’m honored to join the Broncos’ all-time greats in the Ring of Fame, and I look forward to celebrating with the many people who helped make this possible.”
Miller joins Dan Reeves as the only head coaches in the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame, which was created by Owner Pat Bowlen in 1984 to honor former players and administrators who played significant roles in the franchise’s history.
“The Broncos have a proud championship history, and the person who helped start that winning tradition was Red Miller,” Ellis said. “So many of our franchise’s “firsts” happened with Red as our head coach, most notably our first Super Bowl appearance back in 1977. It’s the 40th anniversary of that Super Bowl XII team coached by Red, and that makes his Ring of Fame selection this year even more special.
“When you talk to the players and coaches from that period, they’ll tell you how Red pushed those teams, led by the historic Orange Crush defense, to a championship level. On behalf of Owner Pat Bowlen and our entire organization, we congratulate Coach Miller and look forward to honoring him as the newest member of the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame.”
Hired as the eighth head coach in Broncos history on Feb. 1, 1977, Miller compiled a 40-22 (.645) regular-season record and a 2-3 (.400) playoff mark from 1977-80. He never had a losing record in his four seasons with the Broncos, tying for the fourth-most regular-season wins (40) in the NFL during his head coaching tenure—a figure that ranks fourth in Broncos history.
Miller’s 1977 squad posted a 12-2 record and won Denver’s first-ever the AFC West title, wrestling it away from the defending Super Bowl-champion Oakland Raiders. After earning their first-ever playoff berth, the Broncos went on to beat the Raiders in the AFC Championship Game and advanced to their first Super Bowl.
Despite losing to the Dallas Cowboys 27-10 in Super Bowl XII, Miller was named 1977 NFL Coach of the Year by the Associated Press and K.C. 101 Club.
The Broncos finished the 1978 season with a 10-6 record and won its second consecutive AFC West crown before losing in the divisional playoffs to the eventual Super Bowl-champion Pittsburgh Steelers. Denver finished 10-6 in 1979 to qualify for the playoffs for a third consecutive year before posting an 8-8 mark in 1980, Miller’s final season.
Miller’s teams were fueled by the famed Orange Crush defense, which allowed an NFL-low 15.0 points per game from 1977-80. The defense featured several future Broncos Ring of Famers, including defensive end Paul Smith, linebackers Randy Gradishar and Tom Jackson, cornerback Louis Wright, and safety Billy Thompson.
A member of the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame (Class of 1988), Miller also served as offensive line coach for the Broncos from 1963-65. During that time, he coached a pair of AFL All-Stars in center Jerry Sturm (1964) and tackle Eldon Danenhauer (1965).
The Denver Broncos Ring of Fame is displayed on the Level 5 façade of Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Additionally, inductees of the distinguished membership are featured on 8-foot bronze and steel pillars in Ring of Fame Plaza outside the south end of the stadium.
The Denver Broncos Ring of Fame Committee consists of Broncos President & CEO Joe Ellis; former Broncos General Manager John Beake; former Broncos Assistant Head Coach/Defense Joe Collier; former Broncos wide receiver and current radio play-by-play announcer Dave Logan; Broncos historian Jim Saccomano; and former Broncos radio play-by-play announcer Larry Zimmer.