Red Miller
Personal information
Born:(1927-10-31)October 31, 1927
Macomb, Illinois, U.S.
Died:September 27, 2017(2017-09-27) (aged 89)
Denver, Colorado, U.S.
Career information
College:Western Illinois
Career history
As a coach:
Career highlights and awards
Head coaching record
Regular season:40–22 (.645)
Postseason:2–3 (.400)
Career:42–25 (.627)
Coaching stats at PFR

Robert "Red" Miller (October 31, 1927 – September 27, 2017) was an American professional football coach. He served as the head coach for the Denver Broncos of the National Football League (NFL) from 1977 to 1980. In his first year as Denver's head coach, he led the 1977 Broncos to Super Bowl XII, where they lost to the Dallas Cowboys. Miller was also the head coach of the Denver Gold of the United States Football League (USFL) for one season, in 1983.

Early life and career

Born and raised in Macomb, Illinois, Miller attended Macomb Public Schools and Western Illinois University, where he was later a star player and coach for the Leathernecks football team. He began his coaching career at high schools in Astoria and Canton, Illinois, and at Carthage College.

Assistant coach

Miller was an assistant coach with Lou Saban at Western Illinois in the late 1950s before joining Saban with the Boston Patriots of the newly formed American Football League (AFL) in 1960. He also was an assistant with Buffalo Bills (1962), Denver Broncos (1963–1965), St. Louis Cardinals (1966–1970), Baltimore Colts (1971–1972), and New England Patriots (1973–1976) before rejoining the Broncos as head coach.

Head coach

Denver Broncos

Miller was named head coach of the Denver Broncos on February 1, 1977, replacing John Ralston, who resigned the previous day, after his best season.[1][2][3][4] Miller took a team led by linebackers Randy Gradishar, Bob Swenson, and Tom Jackson, cornerbacks Louis Wright and Bernard Jackson, safety Billy Thompson, and defensive end Lyle Alzado— mainstays of the Orange Crush Defense— and veteran quarterback Craig Morton (acquired via trade with the New York Giants) to a 12–2 regular season record and an AFC championship.[5] The Broncos then faced the Tom Landry-coached Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl XII but lost, 27–10.

The following season, Broncos won the AFC West again at 10–6, but lost their AFC divisional playoff against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Three Rivers Stadium on December 30, 33–10. They also lost the next season to the Houston Oilers 13–7 in a classic wild card playoff in the Astrodome on December 23, 1979.

After posting an 8–8 record in 1980 and failing to return to the AFC playoffs, Miller was fired[5] by new owner Edgar Kaiser in March 1981, and was succeeded by Dan Reeves, previously the Dallas Cowboys' offensive coordinator and a former NFL running back.[6][7]

Denver Gold

In 1983, Miller became the first head coach of the Denver Gold of the new United States Football League (USFL), but feuded bitterly with team owner Ron Blanding and was fired before the completion of the league's first season.

Honors and death

On May 4, 2017, it was announced that Miller would be inducted into the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame, the only inductee that season.

Miller died at the age of 89 on September 27, 2017, from complications due to a stroke.[8] He was buried at Fairmount Cemetery in Denver.

Head coaching record

Year Team Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
1977 DEN 12 2 0 .857 1st in AFC West 2 1 .667 Lost to Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl XII
1978 DEN 10 6 0 .625 1st in AFC West 0 1 .000 Lost to Pittsburgh Steelers in AFC Divisional Game
1979 DEN 10 6 0 .625 2nd in AFC West 0 1 .000 Lost to Houston Oilers in AFC wild card game
1980 DEN 8 8 0 .500 4th in AFC West
DEN Total 40 22 0 .645 2 3 .400
NFL Total 40 22 0 .645 2 3 .400


  1. ^ Mossman, John (February 1, 1977). "Ralston quits Broncs, Miller seen stepping in". The Day. (New London, Connecticut). Associated Press. p. 18.
  2. ^ "Ralston walks out on Broncos". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. February 1, 1977. p. 13.
  3. ^ "Following best year, Ralston quits Denver". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. February 1, 1977. p. 17.
  4. ^ Dick Kreck (January 13, 2008). "Broncos' magic season comes alive in memories of its magnetic players". The Denver Post. Retrieved March 1, 2010.
  5. ^ a b Tim Lynch (January 30, 2009). "MHR Bronco's History Lesson; Know Your Coaches". Retrieved March 1, 2010.
  6. ^ "Red is out, Reeves in at Denver". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. March 10, 1981. p. 19.
  7. ^ Reid, Ron (March 10, 1981). "Miller out, Reeves in as Broncos coach". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 13.
  8. ^ "Red Miller, who coached Denver Broncos to 1st SB, dies". September 27, 2017. Retrieved September 30, 2017.

Additional sources