Biography: Frank Tripucka, QB

Frank Tripucka
Former Denver Broncos quarterback Frank Tripucka is inducted into the team’s Ring of Fame during halftime of an NFL game against the New England Patriots in Denver, Sept. 28, 1986. The Broncos defeated Patriots 27-20. (AP Photo/Eric Lars Bakke)
Frank Tripucka, who joined the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame in 1986, is one of the “original Broncos,” playing for the team from 1960-63.

Tripucka led the Broncos to their first-ever .500 season in 1962 (7-7) and represented half of the Tripucka-to-Lionel Taylor passing combination as the duo (both Ring of Famers) went on to set various records together.

Tripucka, who joins John Elway and Floyd Little as one of three Broncos whose jersey number is retired, recorded his best statistical season in 1960 when he completed 248-of-478 passes (51.9%) for 3,038 yards with 24 touchdowns. His 3,038 passing yards led the AFL that year while his 24 touchdown passes tied for the second-highest total in the league.

The signal-caller was selected to play in the AFL All-Star Game following a 1962 season in which he threw for 2,917 yards to lead Denver to a 7-7 record and a second-place finish in the AFL West. Tripucka’s 7,645 passing yards and 51 touchdown passes from 1960-62 marked the second-highest totals in the AFL during those three seasons.

Tripucka currently ranks eighth in Broncos history in career passing yards (7,676), sixth in pass attempts (1,277), eighth in completions (662) and eighth in touchdown passes (51). His 447 passing yards against Buffalo (9/15/62) stood as the Broncos’ single-game record until 2000 and currently tie for sixth in club annals.

A former star at Notre Dame, Tripucka joined the Broncos after playing for Detroit (1949), the Chicago Cardinals (1950-52) and the Dallas Texans (1952).