Steve Atwater is #27 To Me
Shortly after the news of Darrent Williams' tragic death I posted a poll asking what the Broncos should do to pay tribute to him. Almost immediately there was a movement to have his #27 retired and have Williams placed in the Ring Of Honor. Even now, that sentiment is leading the poll, with nearly half of the respondents choosing that option.
When I posed to question I did so with a bit of weight attached. I knew the emotions of Broncos Nation were still raw, and I played on the fact that people tend to over-react in time of tragedy. The results prove my theory. Unfortunately, the 43% who think no player should wear #27 are right and wrong at the same time.
Darrent Williams was a special human being and had the talent to play in the NFL a long time. He was on his way to becoming a special player, but let's not forget that up to the last game the Broncos played there were rumblings from fans hi and low about Williams' performance in some of the biggest games of the year, against Indianapolis and San Diego.
Now before you e-mail me, thinking I am taking shots at the dearly departed that isn't the point of this post. I am just talking reality. I said before that the 43% were right and wrong. The #27 should be retired.. But not because of Darrent Williams. Someone who was a great player already wore the number, Steve Atwater.
This isn't going to be a Pro-Atwater post either, though I don't think there would be much debate. Atwater went to 8 Pro Bowls as a Bronco, 7 in a row from 1990-1996. He started every game for the Denver Broncos during his time in Denver, and was a big reason the team won 2 Super Bowls.
Atwater was placed in the Ring of Honor in 2000, and Pat Bowlen has said many times that the retiring of numbers is something reserved for players that have an impact like that of John Elway, the last Bronco to have a number retired. Unfortunately that may never happen again by one player the way Elway did it. But in my mind, two players have had that effect, one on the field and won off of it, with the tremendous out-pouring after Williams' death.
So it becomes and interesting dilemma indeed. I know it seemed strange to me the first time I saw the #27 after Atwater left, and it will be nearly incomprehendable to see anyone wear the number now. Pat Bowlen, Mike Shanahan, and anyone else who has the say-so needs to the right thing and put the #27 where it belongs, where it should have been placed in 2005, in a hall-of-fame somewhere never to be worn again by the Orange and Blue.