3 Broncos One-Hit Wonders We Wish Hadn't Disappeared

Broncos RB Olandis Gary was a star...for one season
Broncos RB Olandis Gary was a star...for one season / Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos overcame some futility in their formative years to become one of the NFL's most consistent winners, as they have been to seven Super Bowls in the last 40 years, emerging as champions in three of them. Despite figures like John Elway, Peyton Manning, the "Orange Crush" defense, and the "No Fly Zone" etching themselves in NFL history forever, Denver has had some major disappointments over the years. These three could have been superstars, but floundered and only sustained their stardom for one season.

3. OLB Mike Croel

Denver Broncos pass rusher Mike Croel
Denver Broncos pass rusher Mike Croel / Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Instead of drafting future Hall of Famers like Brett Favre or Aeneas Williams, Denver used the No. 4 overall pick in 1992 on Croel, a member of Tom Osborne's famed "Blackshirts" defense at Nebraska. Denver looked to be onto something after Croel's first season, as he won AP Defensive Rookie of the Year after piling up 10 sacks and making 84 tackles. While he did have some decent seasons after this, including a 110-tackle season in 1993, he never became the elite pass rusher many in Denver hoped, as he never topped five sacks in any of the six seasons he played in the pros after his rookie year.

2. RB Olandis Gary

Denver Broncos RB Olandis Gary
Denver Broncos RB Olandis Gary / Tom Hauck/Getty Images

Backs like Mike Anderson and Reuben Droughns barely missed nabbing the No. 2 spot on this list, but Olandis Gary just beat them out considering how he failed to equal the production from his dominant rookie season. Gary, a former Georgia running back, was drafted to back up Terrell Davis in 1999, and exploded when Davis was sidelined due to injury for 12 games. He piled up 1,159 yards, an average of 96.6 yards per game, including seven touchdowns. Unfortunately, Gary didn't even top 2,000 career rushing yards by the time he called it quits. A knee injury in 2000 robbed him of his speed, and he bounced around the league for a few seasons before retiring in 2004 as one of the great crashouts of the early 2000s.

1. QB Tim Tebow

Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow
Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow / Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Tebow completed just 46.5% of his passes in 2011. He topped 50% completions in just four gams, and twice hit 50% exactly. In two games against the Kansas City Chiefs, he completed eight of 30 passes. He topped 13 completions in a game just twice, and he was 18-39 in one of those games. He completed 19 passes in two playoff games. Despite ALL of that, Tebow and the Broncos kept pulling off miraculous win after miraculous win, even defeating the mighty Pittsburgh Steelers in a dramatic playoff game. Tebow's reign in Denver was short and not at all sustainable, but the magical run he went on in 2011 was unforgettable.