The slump continues

The Broncos had headed in the wrong direction to close the 1962 season, allowing 30.8 points per game during a late losing streak. It carried over into the 1963 campaign.

Denver’s fourth AFL season began with what is still the franchise’s worst home loss, a 59-7 throttling by the Kansas City Chiefs. It was the Chiefs’ first game with a new name after moving from Dallas in the offseason, and it set the tone for a season in which the Broncos could barely stop anyone.

Even by the AFL’s high-scoring standards, the Broncos’ 1963 defense was a sieve, surrendering 33.8 points per game. Since the Broncos’ birth, only the 1966 New York Giants allowed more points per game in a single season.

On offense, the Broncos used four different quarterbacks who threw at least 15 passes, including Frank Tripucka, who had a brief cameo before bowing out and ending his U.S. playing career. (He made one final return to CFL Saskatchewan before hanging up his helmet.) What the quarterbacks all had in common was the ability to find Lionel Taylor, who had another strong season, grabbing 78 passes for 1,101 yards and 10 touchdowns.

But the 1963 season ended with a 2-11-1 record and head coach Jack Faulkner’s once-promising tenure on the ropes.

1963 schedule

Date Opponent Score
9/7 kansas city chiefs 7-59
9/14 at houston oilers 14-20
9/29 boston patriots 14-10
10/6 san diego chargers 50-34
10/13 houston oilers 24-33
10/18 at boston patriots 21-40
10/26 at new york jets 35-35
11/3 buffalo bills 28-30
11/9 at buffalo bills 17-27
11/17 new york jets 9-14
11/28 oakland raiders 10-26
12/8 at kansas city chiefs 21-52
12/15 at oakland raiders 31-35
12/22 at san diego chargers 20-58

1963 offense

Pos Player Starts
se lionel taylor
lt harold olson
lt jim perkins
lg bob mccullough
c jerry sturm
rg ernie barnes
rt eldon danenhauer
te gene prebola
fl bob scarpitto
fl bill groman
qb mickey slaughter
qb don breaux
hb don stone
hb hewritt dixon
fb billy joe

1963 defense

Pos Player Starts
LE ray jacobs
le ron nery
lt bud mcfadden
rt gordy holtz
re chuck gavin
llb john nocera
llb tom erlandson
mlb wahoo mcdaniel
rlb jim fraser
lc john mcgeever
lc willie brown
rc charlie mitchell
ls bob zeman
rs goose gonsoulin

Record: 2-11-1
Fourth place, AFL west

Billy Joe named AFL Rookie of the Year