May 7, 2024



Randy Gradishar, Joe Collier 

Joe Collier, the longtime Broncos defensive coordinator who was the architect of the famous Orange Crush, died in his Littleton home Monday night.


 He was a great man, a great coach and as my father, Jerry, found out early in his own NFL stay when he was on the Denver staff with Collier, a great friend.



 The above gathering was at the Broncos' stadium in June 2012, honoring Collier's 80th birthday. It was a private event, organized by his daughters and son Joel, then the assistant general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs. I was gratified to be invited. It was fun to touch bases with several members of the Orange Crush and that coaching staff. 


My amateur cell-phone picture is of the former Broncos players and coaches at the gathering, and the coaches are Collier (brown coat, light shirt, middle of the back row), plus Paul Roach, Red Miller and Myrel Moore. 

I made it clear in 
 '77: the Broncos and a Coming of Age that I consider Collier, who served under three Broncos head coaches, the top defensive coordinator of all time in the NFL, both because of his cerebral innovation and his savviness in adapting to his personnel.

On a personal level, it wasn't just my father and Joe. My parents were close to Collier and his wife, Shirley. 

Here are the Collier introductory passages in '77. They're fine, but when the book came out, while I had praised him and told his story, I felt I hadn't done Coach Collier justice. It's the one do-over I wish I'd had.   







Terry Frei's web site






Bob Bell's Mile Hi Property 


Big Bill's New York Pizza

8243 S. Holly Street

Centennial CO 80122

(303) 741-9245


Big Bill's Big Heart


JoAnn B. Ficke Cancer Foundation