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Denver Is Standing Mile-High Once Again
Paul Zimmerman
October 19, 1981
Craig Morton, the oldest player in the NFL, has led the rejuvenated Broncos into first in the AFC West
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October 19, 1981

Denver Is Standing Mile-high Once Again

Craig Morton, the oldest player in the NFL, has led the rejuvenated Broncos into first in the AFC West

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Tom Glassic, Denver's left guard and Napoleonic-history buff, studies the Broncos' amazing rise to a 5-1 first-place record in the AFC West and tries to put it in some historical perspective.

"Our two victories over Oakland can be equated with Napoleon's two victories over the hated Prussians on the same day in 1806. While Napoleon was defeating them at Jena, Davout took a force of 26,000 men and defeated 54,000 Prussians farther north at Auerstadt. The Prussians wore black, just like the Raiders. There was a deep hatred there."

How about Denver's shocking 42-24 win over San Diego? The Broncos had a 35-0 lead before Air Coryell had gotten off the landing strip.

"Austerlitz," Glassic says. "A total team effort. All branches of the army coordinated. The Austrians wore yellow and white, sort of like the Chargers."

The Broncos' 28-10 victory over Baltimore "was a typical Napoleonic triumph. Call it Wagram." The 13-10 loss to Seattle "represented a small setback, Eylau, Napoleon's first in a major battle. A frontal assault repulsed by the rugged Russians."

Sunday's 27-21 victory over Detroit in Mile High Stadium, in which an infantry assault led by Billy Sims, who charged for 185 yards on the day, was repulsed at the Denver 17 with seconds left, was Borodino. "The rugged Russians again," Glassic says. "A slugfest, a battle in the trenches. The Russians were pushed from the field at the end, but not before they'd made a tough fight of it."

Four years ago, when the Broncos reached the Super Bowl under Coach Red Miller, Glassic compared the fiery redhead to the British general, Sir John Moore, a favorite of the troops, a man of the people. What happened to Sir John?

"Killed by Napoleon's troops at the Battle of Corunna during the British retreat from Spain," Glassic says. "Before then the British had been giving Napoleon's forces fits and he decided enough was enough. He came in and took charge personally."

The parallel is obvious. Edgar Kaiser, Denver's new owner, bought the Broncos from the Phipps family last winter and fired Miller 10 days later. Edgar Kaiser is Glassic's Napoleon. And Dan Reeves, Kaiser's new coach who had the Dallas playbook with him when he arrived in Denver, how about him?

"I haven't figured that out yet," Glassic says. "I'm working on it."

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