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Orange Crush Defense was the 3-4 defense of the Denver Broncos during the late 1970s and early 1980s. The team adopted the 3-4 defense during the 1976 season, and the nickname "Orange Crush" for the team's defense was popularized early in the 1977 season by sportswriter/broadcaster Woody Paige.

It was one of the top defenses of its time with linebackers Randy Gradishar and Tom Jackson, with Gradishar as a potential Hall of Famer. Other key Crushers were defensive linemen Barney Chavous, Lyle Alzado, and Rubin Carter, linebackers Bob Swenson and Joe Rizzo, and defensive backs Billy Thompson and Louis Wright.

Joe Collier was the defensive co-ordinator, defensive line coach Stan Jones (HOF '91), and head coach Red Miller.

In their Super Bowl XII season in 1977, The Crush had the NFL's number-one defense against the rush though the Broncos were 27th out of 28 teams against the pass.

The team's defensive unit derived the nickname from their orange home jerseys and a popular soft drink, Orange Crush.


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