Back below .500

The Broncos’ late-season skid in 1993 carried over into the 1994 season, with two three-point losses to the Chargers and Jets stretching the Broncos’ losing streak to five games by the time the Raiders arrived for a Week 3 showdown.

It was a big day. To commemorate the NFL’s 75th anniversary, the teams wore throwback uniforms, and the Broncos opted to bring back their mid-1960s uniforms with orange helmets. Unfortunately, the Mac Speedie-era throwbacks saw a dismal result similar to the outcomes of the mid-1960s: a 48-16 thrashing at Mile High Stadium.

It was as frustrating a season as the Broncos had endured. The 0-4 start remains the worst after four games in club history, and a midseason revival wasn’t enough to salvage the campaign or Phillips’ job. Three consecutive losses to close the season ended the Broncos’ postseason hopes.

But when he was sacked just after the season, owner Pat Bowlen had the replacement already in mind — a former Broncos assistant still in the process of guiding the league’s most prolific offense to a world championship. After the 49ers won Super Bowl XXIX, Mike Shanahan returned to the Broncos and laid the groundwork for the franchise to rise to new heights.

1994 Schedule

Date Opponent Score
9/4 San Diego Chargers 34-37
9/11 at New York Jets 22-25
9/18 Los Angeles Raiders 16-48
9/26 at Buffalo Bills 20-27
10/9 at Seattle Seahawks 16-9
10/17 Kansas City Chiefs 28-31
10/23 at San Diego Chargers 20-15
10/30 Cleveland Browns 26-14
11/6 at Los Angeles Rams 21-27
11/13 Seattle Seahawks 17-10
11/20 Atlanta Falcons 32-28
11/27 Cincinnati Bengals 15-13
12/4 at Kansas City Chiefs (OT) 20-17
12/11 at Los Angeles Raiders 13-23
12/17 at San Francisco 49ers 19-42
12/24 New Orleans Saints 28-30

1994 Offense

Pos Player Starts
QB John Elway 14
QB Hugh Millen 2
RB Rod Bernstein 3
RB Derrick Clark 4
RB Glyn Milburn 6
RB Reggie Rivers 1
RB Leonard Russell 14
WR Jeff Campbell 1
WR Anthony Miller 14
WR Derek Russell 12
WR Cedric Tillman 3
TE Jerry Evans 9
TE Shannon Sharpe 13
C Dave Widell 16
T Russell Freeman 7
T Don Maggs 1
T Kirk Scrafford 8
T Gary Zimmerman 16
G Brian Habib 16
G Jon Melander 15
G Tom Nalen

Dec. 29, 1994: Wade Phillips and his staff are dismissed after two seasons.

1994 Defense

Pos Player Starts
DE Shane Dronett 15
DE Simon Fletcher 16
De Harald Hasselbach 1
DE Dan Williams 15
NT Ted Washington 16
LB Allen Aldridge 2
LB Elijah Alexander 16
LB Keith Burns 1
LB Mike Croel 12
LB Randy Fuller 1
LB Richard Harvey 1
LB Karl Mecklenburg 15
CB Ronnie Bradford 1
CB Ray Crockett 14
CB Randy Hilliard 4
CB Ben Smith 14
S Steve Atwater 14
S Darryl Hall 3
S Rondell Jones 2
S Dennis Smith 12