ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4)– The Denver Broncos former head coach Red Miller passed away on Wednesday.
Miller was 89 years old. He was a 2017 Ring of Fame inductee and coached the Broncos from 1977-1980 and led the team to its initial 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 in a statement. “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.”
Additional Information from the Denver Broncos:
As the team’s most recent Ring of Famer, Miller will be recognized during the alumni weekend surrounding Denver’s game against Cincinnati on Nov. 19. His bronze pillar will be unveiled at Sports Authority Field at Mile High’s Ring of Fame Plaza on Nov. 17 and his name will be revealed in the stadium’s Ring of Fame at the game two days later.
Named the eighth head coach in Broncos history on Feb. 1, 1977, Miller compiled a 40-22 (.645) regular-season record and a 2-3 playoff mark with Denver. He never had a losing record in his four seasons with the Broncos, tying for the fourth-most regular-season wins (40) in the NFL during his head coaching tenure—a figure that ranks fourth in Broncos history.
Miller’s 1977 team posted a 12-2 record and won Denver’s first-ever the AFC West title. After earning their first-ever playoff berth, the Broncos went on to defeat the Raiders in the AFC Championship Game and advance to their first Super Bowl.
Despite losing to the Dallas Cowboys 27-10 in Super Bowl XII, Miller was named 1977 NFL Coach of the Year by the Associated Press and K.C. 101 Club.
The Broncos finished the 1978 season with a 10-6 record and won their second consecutive AFC West title before losing in the divisional playoffs to the eventual Super Bowl-champion Pittsburgh Steelers. Denver finished 10-6 in 1979 to qualify for the playoffs for a third consecutive year before posting an 8-8 mark in 1980, Miller’s final season.
Miller’s teams featured the famed Orange Crush defense, which allowed an NFL-low 15.0 points per game from 1977-80. The defense featured five future Broncos Ring of Famers—defensive end Paul Smith, linebackers Randy Gradishar and Tom Jackson, cornerback Louis Wright and safety Billy Thompson.
A member of the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame (Class of 1988), Miller also served as offensive line coach for the Broncos from 1963-65. In addition to his time with the Broncos, he also coached the offensive lines for the Boston/New England Patriots (1960-61, ’73-76), Buffalo Bills (1962) and St. Louis Cardinals (1966-70). He spent two seasons as the defensive line coach for the Baltimore Colts (1971-72).
Before his career in the AFL/NFL, Miller coached his alma mater, Western Illinois University, working for former Broncos head coach Lou Saban.
Miller is survived by his wife, Nan; his son, Steve; his stepson, Jeff; and five grandchildren. He was predeceased by his daughter, Lana.
Funeral services are pending and will be announced when finalized.