1984 Denver Broncos season
Denver Broncos wordmark (1968 - 1996).png
OwnerPat Bowlen
Head coachDan Reeves
Home fieldMile High Stadium
Division place1st AFC West
Playoff finishLost Divisional Playoffs (vs. Steelers) 17–24
Broncos 1968-96 uniforms.png
Broncos running back Sammy Winder rushing the ball against the Green Bay Packers in 1984
Broncos running back Sammy Winder rushing the ball against the Green Bay Packers in 1984

The 1984 Denver Broncos season was the franchise's 15th season in the National Football League, and the 25th overall. The team finished with its then franchise-best record of thirteen wins and three losses and were champions of the AFC West. In the playoffs, the Broncos were upset by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Divisional Round, 24–17. This would be the final season for Tight End coach Fran Polsfoot, who died in April 1985.


NFL Draft

Main article: 1984 NFL Draft

1984 Denver Broncos draft
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
2 46 Andre Townsend  Defensive end Mississippi 1984-1990 (7 seasons)
3 78 Tony Lilly  Defensive back Florida 1984-1987 (4 seasons)
4 89 Randy Robbins  Defensive back Arizona 1984-1991 (8 seasons) then New England in 1992
6 159 Aaron Smith  Linebacker Utah State 1984
7 186 Clarence Kay  Tight end Georgia 1984-1992 (9 seasons)
8 207 Winford Hood  Guard Georgia 1984-1988 (5 seasons)
8 218 Scott Garnett  Defensive tackle Washington 1984 then San Diego/San Francisco in 1985, and Buffalo in 1987
9 245 Chris Brewer  Running back Arizona 1984 then Chicago in 1987
10 272 Bobby Micho  Tight end Texas
11 299 Gene Lang  Running back LSU 1984-1987 (4 seasons) then played for Atlanta from 1988-1990
12 326 Murray Jarman  Wide receiver Clemson
      Made roster  




1984 Denver Broncos staff
Front office
  • President and Chief Executive Officer – Pat Bowlen
  • Assistant General Manager – John Beake
  • Coordinator of College Scouting – Reed Johnson

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches

Special teams coaches

Strength and conditioning

  • Strength/Conditioning – IJ Gorman



1984 Denver Broncos roster

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen


Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists


Practice squad

Rookies in italics

Regular season


Week Date Opponent Result Record Venue Attendance
1 September 2 Cincinnati Bengals W 20–17 1–0 Mile High Stadium 74,178
2 September 9 at Chicago Bears L 0–27 1–1 Soldier Field 54,335
3 September 16 at Cleveland Browns W 24–14 2–1 Cleveland Stadium 61,980
4 September 23 Kansas City Chiefs W 21–0 3–1 Mile High Stadium 74,263
5 September 30 Los Angeles Raiders W 16–13 4–1 Mile High Stadium 74,833
6 October 7 at Detroit Lions W 28–7 5–1 Pontiac Silverdome 55,836
7 October 15 Green Bay Packers W 17–14 6–1 Mile High Stadium 62,546
8 October 21 at Buffalo Bills W 37–7 7–1 Rich Stadium 31,204
9 October 28 at Los Angeles Raiders W 22–19 (OT) 8–1 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 91,020
10 November 4 New England Patriots W 26–19 9–1 Mile High Stadium 74,908
11 November 11 at San Diego Chargers W 16–13 10–1 Jack Murphy Stadium 53,162
12 November 18 Minnesota Vikings W 42–21 11–1 Mile High Stadium 74,716
13 November 25 Seattle Seahawks L 24–27 11–2 Mile High Stadium 74,922
14 December 2 at Kansas City Chiefs L 13–16 11–3 Arrowhead Stadium 38,494
15 December 9 San Diego Chargers W 16–13 12–3 Mile High Stadium 74,867
16 December 15 at Seattle Seahawks W 31–14 13–3 Kingdome 64,411
Note: Intra-division opponents are in bold text.

Game summaries

Week 7 vs. Packers

See also: 1984 Green Bay Packers season

Green Bay Packers (1–5) at Denver Broncos (5–1)
1 2 34Total
Packers 0 0 7714
Broncos 14 3 0017

at Mile High StadiumDenver, Colorado

Game information


AFC West
Denver Broncos(2) 13 3 0 .813 6–2 10–2 353 241 W2
Seattle Seahawks(4) 12 4 0 .750 5–3 8–4 418 282 L2
Los Angeles Raiders(5) 11 5 0 .688 5–3 8–4 368 278 L1
Kansas City Chiefs 8 8 0 .500 4–4 7–7 314 324 W3
San Diego Chargers 7 9 0 .438 0–8 3–9 394 413 L2


Main article: 1984–85 NFL playoffs

Round Date Opponent (seed) Result Record Venue Attendance
Divisional December 30 Pittsburgh Steelers (3) L 17–24 0–1 Mile High Stadium 74,981

AFC Divisional Playoff

AFC Divisional Game: Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos – Game summary
1 2 34Total
Steelers 0 10 7724
Broncos 7 0 10017

at Mile High Stadium, Denver

  • Date: December 30, 1984
  • Game time: 2 p.m. PDT
  • Game weather: 33 degrees, 58 humidity, 6 wind chill
  • Referee: Fred Wyant

The Broncos lost to the Steelers 24–17 at Denver's Mile High Stadium on Sunday, December 30, 1984. The game was televised on NBC. Given Denver's record and their opportunistic defense, Pittsburgh was the decided underdog. Indeed, much talk before the game centered on a possible meeting of two up-and-coming quarterbacks—Denver's John Elway and Miami's Dan Marino—in the AFC Championship Game.

The game turned into a defensive struggle. After the Broncos' first drive ended in a punt, Steelers' quarterback Mark Malone fumbled on two consecutive drives; the first ended in a missed Rich Karlis field goal, but the second was converted into a touchdown pass from Elway to receiver Jim Wright. The Steelers then answered with a scoring drive, as Gary Anderson kicked a 28-yard field goal.

With the teams trading punts, a miscue by the Steelers threatened to blow the game open. Midway through the second quarter, Steelers' punter Craig Colquitt had his punt blocked—the first of his career—and Denver set up at Pittsburgh's four-yard-line. But on third-and-goal, Elway floated a weak pass into the arms of nose tackle Gary Dunn. Now with the momentum, the Steelers were able to put a drive together at the end of the first half, resulting in a one-yard Frank Pollard touchdown run. The Broncos tried to tie the game with time running out in the half, but a long field goal attempt by Karlis fell short.

Leading somewhat surprisingly 10–7, Pittsburgh looked to grind out yards on the ground and keep Elway on the sidelines. But Denver managed two drives to take the lead in the quarter; the first ended with a Karlis chip-shot to tie the game at 10, then Elway hit receiver Steve Watson for a 20-yard strike to take a 17–10 lead. The Steelers then came back with a drive of their own, resulting in a 10-yard touchdown pass from Malone to receiver Louis Lipps. After both defenses held and forced a couple of more punts, Pittsburgh used Pollard and Walter Abercrombie to knife through a tiring Broncos defense. A key pass to Weegie Thompson put the Steelers at the 15-yard-line, where they stalled. However, Anderson missed his second field goal of the afternoon, and Denver took over with about three minutes left.

Having sustained a groin pull and a twisted knee, however, Elway was not as mobile and was experiencing difficulty with his throws. On second down, Elway threw a pass over the middle that was intercepted by Steelers' safety Eric Williams, who then ran the ball down to the 2-yard-line. After a short run and an incomplete pass, Pollard scored the go-ahead touchdown with a 1-yard run.

With a hobbled Elway not being able to lead the team to a first down, the Broncos turned the ball over on downs. They then used all their time-outs while stopping the Steelers, who, somewhat controversially, attempted a field goal on fourth down—only to see Anderson miss his third attempt of the day. Elway then threw to Watson near midfield, but by the time Elway fired the ball out of bounds to stop the clock, only one second remained. A desperation "Hail Mary" pass fell incomplete, and the Steelers won, 24–17.

The Broncos and their fans were bitterly disappointed by the loss, and finished the year 13–4. After a season-long, high-profile rivalry with their AFC West stablemates Seattle, neither team would end up in the AFC Championship Game.


  1. ^ "1984 Denver Broncos draftees". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
  2. ^ 2010 Denver Broncos Media Guide. p. 359. Retrieved March 6, 2011.