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Bob Howsam, a successful minor league baseball owner who built Bears Stadium in the 1940s, was awarded an AFL charter franchise on August 14, 1959. Severely limited financially, Howsam clothed his first team in used uniforms from the defunct Copper Bowl in Tucson, Ariz. Making the uniforms particularly joke-worthy were the vertically-striped socks that completed the Broncos' dress.

On August 5, 1967, they scored the first win ever for an AFL team against an NFL. opponent with a 13-7 triumph over the Detroit Lions. But at the end of the AFL's decade, Denver's 39-97-4 record was the worst for any of the original eight AFL teams.

Several minority partners formed a majority voting block to sell the Broncos to Atlanta interests, but, at the last minute, the Phipps brothers, Gerald and Allan, who had been left out of the voting block, bought the team and 34,657-seat Bears Stadium.

Before the 1968 season, Bears Stadium was purchased by the city and renamed Denver Mile High Stadium. As the stadium grew, so too did season-ticket sales fill every extra seat.

In their 14th season in 1973, the Broncos under Coach John Ralston finished 7-5-2 for their first winning season ever. The 14-year period between 1977 and 1991, the Broncos won seven AFC Western Division titles and AFC championships in 1977, 1986, 1987 and 1989.

The Broncos reached the pinnacle of the pro football world, as the team captured its first world championship with a victory over the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXII.