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Allan (Top) and Gerald Phipps

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Allan and Gerald Phipps (Posthumous Award)

Hall Of Fame Inductee — 2002

Without the Phipps brothers, 1964 might have been one of the blackest years in Denver’s history. The rag-tag AFL Denver Broncos had lost 11 games and were about to be sold and moved to Atlanta. And then the Phipps brothers came to the rescue. “Denver couldn’t afford to lose pro football,” Gerald told the Denver Post. “Sports franchises are valuable to a well-rounded city.” So they bought the team. The next year they sold 22,000 season tickets. By 1970, they were selling 43,500 season tickets and starting a tradition of sellouts that continues today. Under the Phipps leadership, the 34,000-seat Bears Stadium was acquired by the City, re-named Mile High Stadium and increased to 76,000-seats. The Broncos ended their first decade as the worst of any of the original eight AFL teams. But under the Phipps, they had their first winning season in 1973, starting a trend that saw them fall below the .500 mark only three times in the next 20 seasons.

When Gerald Phipps passed away in 1993, Broncos owner Pat Bowlen said, “If it wasn’t for Gerald Phipps, none of us now with the Broncos would have a job. He saved the Broncos and set the course for Denver as the sports city that it is today. He was a wonderful, wonderful man to whom the entire state owes a great debt.”

Each Denver & Colorado Tourism Hall of Fame inductee reflects the profile of the inductee at the time of the induction.

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