DENVER — After last season’s heartbreaking losses, and the Broncos current losing streak, it’s easy for fans to become disheartened. But take heart: it could be worse. Much, much worse.
Just ask Gene Mingo.
He’s part of Broncos history. He was on very first Broncos team, he was the very first African-American placekicker in pro football history, and the first person to return a punt for a touchdown in the American Football League. He played seven different positions for the Broncos, and his name is even on the Ring of Fame at Mile High.
“It was joy, happiness, whatever you want to say about being able to play football,” Mingo told FOX 31.
But he’s part of Broncos infamy too. He was on the very worst team in Denver Broncos history. The 1963 squad. They only won two games all year.
“The Broncos don’t like to lose. And in those early years we had players coming from NFL, straight out of college that didn’t make the pro ranks that joined the Broncos, and everybody wanted to win. And when we lost, we felt it, we didn’t like losing, and I personally did everything that I could do,” Mingo said.
In 1963, those 11 losses, one tie and two victories made them the worst team in the American Football League. It was bad. The start of a decade-long dry spell.
In other words, things could be worse.
“Fans come up and ask me, ‘What’s wrong with the Broncos?’ I don’t really know what’s wrong with the Broncos. All I can is, each player has to look within themselves,” Mingo said.
Some introspection by the players might be the answer, according to Mingo – who just turned 80. And he would know. He knows a lot about winning.
And he remembers the sting from all that losing in 1963, too.