1983 Denver Broncos season
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The 1983 Denver Broncos season was its 24th in professional football and 14th in the National Football League (NFL). The team finished the year with nine wins and seven losses, giving them 3rd place in the AFC West and their first playoff berth in four seasons. It was the third season under head coach Dan Reeves.
|1983 Denver Broncos season|
|Head coach||Dan Reeves|
|General manager||Hein Poulus|
|Home field||Mile High Stadium|
|Division place||3rd AFC West|
|Playoff finish||Lost AFC Wild Card Playoff (at Seahawks) 7-31|
Before the season, the Broncos traded with the Baltimore Colts for the rights to first overall pick in the 1983 draft, quarterback John Elway. He started ten games for the Broncos as a rookie, and the team won four of them. In his first two starts, both road wins, Elway left the game trailing, relieved by veteran Steve DeBerg.
After three straight losses, Elway was benched by Reeves in early October; and DeBerg led the team to four consecutive victories and a 6–3 record. A shoulder injury in a loss in Seattle sidelined him and Elway again became the starter. In the rematch with Seattle two weeks later in Denver, Elway was out with the flu and third-string rookie Gary Kubiak led the Broncos to a win.
Elway's finest game as a rookie came in Week 15, the Broncos' second game against Baltimore, the team that drafted him. Denver trailed 19–0 at the start of the fourth quarter, until Elway threw for three touchdowns in the final period to win 21–19 and kept their playoff hopes alive. The following week was a lopsided road loss at Kansas City in −30 °F (−34 °C) wind chill, but the Broncos made the playoffs, gaining the final AFC berth over Cleveland, also at 9–7, whom they defeated in Week 14.
The Broncos' wild-card playoff loss to the Seahawks marked the team's only playoff appearance during the tenure of the team's then-owner Edgar Kaiser Jr.. Pat Bowlen bought the team from Kaiser in the offseason.
|1983 Denver Broncos draft|
|1||1||John Elway * †||Quarterback||Stanford||traded to the Broncos by the Colts, 1983–1998 (16 seasons), HoF, 2x Super Bowl Champion, Super Bowl MVP, NFL MVP, 9x Pro Bowl, 3x All-Pro|
|1||4||Chris Hinton||Guard||Northwestern||traded to the Baltimore Colts along with Quarterback Mark Herrmann and the Broncos' first round pick in the 1984 NFL Draft for John Elway|
|2||31||Mark Cooper||Tackle||Miami (FL)||1983-1987 (5 seasons) then Tampa Bay from 1987-1989|
|3||60||Clint Sampson||Wide Receiver||San Diego State||1983-1986 (4 seasons)|
|5||116||George "Weedy" Harris||Linebacker||Houston|
|5||125||Bruce Baldwin||Defensive Back||Harding|
|6||143||Victor Heflin||Defensive Back||Delaware State||not signed by the Broncos, but went on to play for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1983-1984|
|7||172||Myron Dupree||Defensive Back||North Carolina Central||1983|
|8||197||Gary Kubiak||Quarterback||Texas A&M||1983-1991 (9 seasons)|
|9||228||Brian Hawkins||Defensive Back||San Jose State|
|10||254||Walt Bowyer||Defensive End||Arizona State||1983-1984, 1987-1988 (4 seasons)|
|11||283||Don Bailey||Center||Miami (FL)||not signed by the Broncos, but went on to play for the Indianapolis Colts from 1984-1985|
|12||310||Karl Mecklenburg *||Linebacker||Minnesota||1983-1994 (12 seasons), 6x Pro Bowl, 4x First Team All-Pro, Denver Broncos Ring of Fame|
|Pro Football Hall of Fame Made at least one Pro Bowl during careerMade roster|
|1983 Denver Broncos staff|
Special teams coaches
Strength and conditioning
|1983 Denver Broncos roster|
|1||September 4||at Pittsburgh Steelers||W 14–10||Three Rivers Stadium||1–0|
|2||September 11||at Baltimore Colts||W 17–10||Memorial Stadium||2–0|
|3||September 18||Philadelphia Eagles||L 10–13||Mile High Stadium||2–1|
|4||September 25||Los Angeles Raiders||L 7–22||Mile High Stadium||2–2|
|5||October 2||at Chicago Bears||L 14–31||Soldier Field||2–3|
|6||October 9||at Houston Oilers||W 26–14||Astrodome||3–3|
|7||October 16||Cincinnati Bengals||W 24–17||Mile High Stadium||4–3|
|8||October 23||San Diego Chargers||W 14–6||Mile High Stadium||5–3|
|9||October 30||Kansas City Chiefs||W 27–24||Mile High Stadium||6–3|
|10||November 6||at Seattle Seahawks||L 19–27||Kingdome||6–4|
|11||November 13||at Los Angeles Raiders||L 20–22||Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum||6–5|
|12||November 20||Seattle Seahawks||W 38–27||Mile High Stadium||7–5|
|13||November 27||at San Diego Chargers||L 7–31||San Diego/Jack Murphy Stadium||7–6|
|14||December 4||Cleveland Browns||W 27–6||Mile High Stadium||8–6|
|15||December 11||Baltimore Colts||W 21–19||Mile High Stadium||9–6|
|16||December 18||at Kansas City Chiefs||L 17–48||Arrowhead Stadium||9–7|
|Los Angeles Raiders(1)||12||4||0||.750||6–2||10–2||442||338||W1|
|San Diego Chargers||6||10||0||.375||4–4||4–8||358||462||L1|
|Kansas City Chiefs||6||10||0||.375||2–6||4–8||386||367||W1|
|Wild Card Playoffs||December 24||at Seattle Seahawks||L 7–31||Kingdome|
- Pro-Football-Reference.com: 1983 Denver Broncos
- "Elway hurt; DeBerg directs Broncos win". Gadsden Times. Alabama. Associated Press. September 5, 1983. p. B4.
- "Denver's DeBerg keeps rescuing $5 million man". Palm Beach Post. wire services. September 13, 1983. p. D6.
- "Struggling Broncos bench Elway, DeBerg starter for rest of season". Montreal Gazette. UPI. October 6, 1983. p. D-14.
- Harris, John (November 7, 1983). "Warner shows off for grandfather". Spokane Chronicle. p. 21.
- "Elway back as starter after Broncos lose DeBerg". Montreal Gazette. news services. November 8, 1983. p. D10.
- Mossman, John (November 21, 1983). "Broncos romp behind reserve QB". Spokane Chronicle. Associated Press. p. C1.
- "Broncos center ball to DeBerg for playoff against Seahawks". Pittsburgh Press. Associated Press. December 23, 1983. p. C2.
- Pro-Football-Reference.com: Baltimore Colts 19 at Denver Broncos 21; Sunday, December 11, 1983
- "NFL roundup". Spokane Chronicle. Associated Press. December 12, 1983. p. 15.
- "NFL roundup". Spokane Chronicle. Associated Press. December 19, 1983. p. 28.
- Cour, Jim (December 23, 1983). "Broncos to bench Elway, start DeBerg". Evening News. Newburgh-Beacon, New York. Associated Press. p. 2B.
- Hewitt, Brian (December 26, 1983). "The laughing stops". Spokane Chronicle. (Chicago Sun-Times). p. 21.
- 2010 Denver Broncos Media Guide. p. 361. Retrieved March 6, 2011.