On This Date in Sports History: January 11 (1/11)

January 11, 1998: On this day in sports history…
Broncos win 1998 AFC Championship

Personally, it’s hard for me to believe this game happened 15 years ago, today. I remember rushing home from a youth-league basketball game to catch the 12:30 p.m. kickoff to watch my idol John Elway and the Broncos take on the Steelers in Pittsburgh.  Now that history has been altered it may be hard to remember, but at this time, Elway and the Broncos were considered the loveable losers, perhaps not quite on par with the Boston Red Sox, but still 0-4 in Super Bowls, including a miserable 55-10 defeat to the 49ers, (I cried) and always seemingly coming up short, never winning the big one. The year before I recall sneaking away to the TV at my neighbor’s bah mitzvah  to watch the #1 seed Broncos fall inexplicably to Mark Brunell’s expansion Jacksonville Jaguars (I cried again, kinda concerning?). 1997-98 it all changed though. After taking care of Jacksonville in the Wild-card Round and division winner Kansas City in the Divisional Round, the stage was set again for Elway. This time, with the help of Terrell Davis, (139 yards, 1 TD) the Broncos defeated the Steelers and their vaunted defense, 24-21. Up a field goal with 2 minutes left, Bill Cowher, Kordell Stewart and Jerome Bettis could only watch as Elway, deep in his own territory, executed a crucial 3rd down conversion to Shannon Sharpe essentially icing the victory (video below). The Broncos were on to San Diego for Super Bowl XXXII to take on the Packers, who would later this afternoon defeat the 49ers 23-10 in San Francisco. And the rest, as they say, is history…