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The Inside Track | The Hot Corner

A consumer's guide to the best and worst of sports media and merchandise. Ground rules: If it can be read, played, heard, observed, worn, viewed, dialed or downloaded, it's in play here.

November 11, 1998|LARRY STEWART

What: "World Champion Broncos: Official Collector's Edition"

Publisher: Andrews McMeel (144 pages)

Price: $39.95

The photography is what really makes this hardcover book. It's a bit pricey--no doubt aimed at Bronco fanatics. But in the category of you get what you pay for, it's not all that overpriced.

Besides all the excellent photos, the writing is breezy and easy to read. The forward, by Bob Howsom, who founded the Broncos in 1960, is short and to the point. Then comes a well-written, interesting essay by former Sports Illustrated writer Douglas S. Looney, a Boulder resident, who chronicles the team's early struggles.

Of all the columns and game stories after the Broncos' Super Bowl victory over the Green Bay Packers in January, the one picked for this book was written by the late Jim Murray and reprinted from The Times. Wrote Murray: "Whew! Finally, a Super Bowl that was super! As this is written, Roman candles are going off in the air, music is blasting, metallic confetti is blowing through the air. Disney would love the outcome. The most popular victory since 'Bambi.' America's Sweetheart finally wins one. No dummy, not Bill Clinton. John Elway!"

Why Murray's column instead of a Denver writer's? It's explained in the acknowledgments in the back: "While the many Denver and Colorado sportswriters who covered the Broncos' Super Bowl season wrote incisively and thoroughly during the season, we tried to add to the championship story by including thoughts of some individuals not regularly read by Bronco fans."

The star of the book, no question, is Elway. We counted 60 photos with Elway, 14 with Terrell Davis and 10 with owner Pat Bowlen. And one picture of Al Davis. Not quite sure why it was used. There is an essay by Janet Elway, who writes, "We are normal people living abnormal lives." And there is a tribute to Coach Mike Shanahan, written by Bill Walsh. "The Broncos needed Mike and Mike needed the Broncos," Walsh writes. "It was a perfect matchup."

The Raiders also have put out a commemorative book, "Great Moments in Raider History." It sells for $9.99, and at that it is overpriced. It looks more like a game program. And the writing? Well, on Page 4, we learn "the single most important date in the organization's history" is Jan. 15, 1963. That was the day Davis was hired as head coach and general manager. That should tell you all you need to know about this book.

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