New colors, new hope

Jack Faulkner became the Broncos’ second head coach, and he immediately tightened the ship. The brown-and-yellow uniforms and vertically-striped socks that drew derision from fans and foes alike were ditched in favor of orange-and-blue attire. The “touch-football” practices of the Frank Filchock era vanished. Curfews were enforced. Players wore coats and ties on road trips and could not smoke in public. Football was on his mind nearly every moment of the day.

No one was more impressed than incumbent quarterback Frank Tripucka.

“We always had the talent,” he said early in the 1962 season. “But we never had organization. We used to make up plays in the huddle: ‘OK, who wants to run out for a pass?’ And on blocking assignments at the line of scrimmage I was up there pointing to the guys on the other team: ‘Somebody better get him. Somebody better take him.’”

All that changed under Faulkner, and that got the Broncos to .500 for the first time.

“Now here is an organizer,” Tripucka said. “This team will go now.”

By November, the Broncos were 7-2 and sprinting toward a berth in the AFL Championship Game, leading the Western Division. And even if they fell short, all they needed for their first winning season was one more win or tie. But a 33-29 loss at Boston knocked them off-kilter, and the next week, they were throttled by West rivals Dallas 24-3.

Still, no loss was more crushing than a 46-45 defeat to the New York Titans on Thanksgiving Day at Bears Stadium. Leading 45-32 with less than five minutes remaining, the Broncos collapsed, allowing a 65-yard touchdown march, then fumbling on their next play from scrimmage. The Titans scored three plays later to take a one-point lead that held up when Gene Mingo’s desperation 52-yard field-goal attempt was short and wide.

In spite of the late Broncos’ late fade, Faulkner’s work earned him AFL Coach of the Year honors.

But the Broncos had allowed 30.8 points a game in the losing streak. It was a harbinger of what was to come the following season.

Jack Faulkner hired as Broncos head coach

1962 schedule

Date Opponent Score
9/7 san diego chargers 30-21
9/15 at buffalo bills 23-20
9/21 at boston patriots 16-41
9/30 at new york titans 32-10
10/5 oakland raiders 44-7
10/14 at oakland raiders 23-6
10/21 houston oilers 20-10
10/28 buffalo bills 38-45
11/4 at san diego chargers 23-20
11/11 boston patriots 29-33
11/18 dallas texans 3-24
11/22 new york titans 45-46
12/2 at houston oilers 17-34
12/9 at dallas texans 10-17

1962 offense

Pos Player Starts
le lionel taylor
lt jerry sturmn
lt jim perkins
lg ken adamson
c jim barton
rg bob mccullough
rt eldon danenhauer
te gene prebola
fl bob scarpitto
fl al frazier
qb frank tripucka
qb george shaw
hb don stone
hb gene mingo
fb bo dickinson

Sept. 15, 1962: Frank Tripucka hits Al Frazier for a 96-yard touchdown pass at Buffalo. At the time, the reception marked the longest play from scrimmage in Broncos history.

Jack Faulkner named coach of the year in AFL

Gene Mingo sets professional field goal record of 27 in a season

1962 defense

Pos Player Starts
de chuck gavin
dt bud mcfadin
dt ike lassiter
dt gordon holtz
dt john cash
llb jim fraser
mlb wahoo mcdaniel
llb bill roehnelt
llb jerry stallcup
lcb john mcgeever
rcb jim mcmillin
ls bob zeman
rs goose gonsoulin

Record: 7-7
Second place, AFL west