DENVER -- Red Miller, who led the Broncos to their first Super Bowl and helped captivate a region in 1977, died on Wednesday morning.
He was 89-years-old. Miller passed away from complications following a second stroke suffered in September.
Miller brought credibility to the Broncos with his passionate style and motivation. Guiding a team of large personalities, including linebacker Tom Jackson and defensive lineman Lyle Alzado, Miller provided a constant rudder and earned the trust of his players.
Miller compiled a 40-22 record as the Broncos coach, leading the franchise to their first three postseason appearances and the first of eight Super Bowls.
“Our deepest sympathies go out to Red’s entire family, especially his wife, Nan,” Broncos President and CEO Joe Ellis said. “Red was a beloved member of the Broncos’ family. He left a great impact on this franchise by laying the foundation for our championship tradition and was so proud to be part of our first Super Bowl team 40 years ago.
“You could tell how much the Broncos meant to Red, and he’s meant so much to everyone here. Red was overjoyed to get that phone call in May notifying him of his Ring of Fame selection, and we’re all very saddened that he won’t be able to join us when we honor him in November.”
Miller earned Ring of Fame honors in May, and will be recognized during alumni weekend as part of the Broncos' game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Nov. 19. The Broncos will unveil his bronze statue at the stadium Ring of Fame Plaza on Nov. 17 in advance of his name being placed in the ring of honor on game day.
Miller will always have a niche in Denver because of the 1977 season. It became a watershed moment in Colorado sports history, the popularity of the Broncos traced to that year. Miller produced a 12-2 record that season, and knocked off the suddenly-rival Oakland Raiders in the AFC Championship Game. Miller identified crushing the Raiders as the necessary step for the Broncos to move forward and establish themselves as a power. He made the players believe it was possible, and became emotional when talking about it.
Miller's push changed the direction of the franchise. He was named Associated Press Coach of the Year in 1977.
Long after he retired, Miller often wore a Broncos coaching jacket around Denver, a fitting memory of the man who helped lift a franchise.