Thanks to Jezru for this post in which he gave me the idea for this and got the ball rolling with the statistics.
14 different NFL teams came into existence between 1960 and 1967. Combined they have 17 Super Bowl titles and 82 Hall-of-Famers. The Denver Broncos are part of that illustrious group, but only make a real contribution to one category with their 2 Super Bowl titles. Why do they barely make a dent in the Hall-of-Fame count with two inductees?
The 14 teams to enter the NFL between 1960 and 1967 are Atlanta, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, Miami, Minnesota, New England, New Orleans, New York Jets, Oakland, San Diego, and Houston/Tennessee.
Out of those teams, only Dallas, Oakland, and perhaps Miami have a list of accomplishments as a franchise that can be considered better than Denver's. All three of those teams have multiple Super Bowl wins, a storied history, and a total of 33 Hall-of-Famers between them all. In fact, after Denver, the next two most storied franchises on that list, Kansas City and Minnesota, both have 9 Hall-of-Famers despite only winning 1 Super Bowl between them (and that came in a game where they played each other).
So now that we've given this some context, let's see where Denver stacks up in six important categories: Winning %, Super Bowls Titles, Conference Titles, Division TItles, Playoff Berths, and Hall-of-Famers.
As can be seen in the table above, Denver is at or above the average in every single category except 1; Hall-of-Famers. The discrepancy is mind-boggling, and I'm not sure what to chalk it up to. For a while, Denver was in the AFL, then they stunk, and they were never on TV because of their lack of quality and their time zone. However, by the mid-to-late 1970s, NFL football was becoming more and more prominent on the airwaves, and Denver was a good football team. So the team has been in the national spotlight for the last 30 years, but has still only managed to get two Hall-of-Famers since then. Sure, there might be an East-Coast bias, but that argument can easily be shot down by pointing to San Francisco, Oakland, Kansas City, and Minnesota.
So I have no good reason why Denver has so few Hall-of-Famers, but I do know they deserve several more. In fact, I think they deserve about four more. That would put them right at that average of 6.07 for the aforementioned franchises, and I think we would all be happy with that.
So which four players should get in? I'll let you decide that, but here's a list of candidates for you broken down by era.
The Dark Ages (1960-1975)
Lionel Taylor, WR
Rich Jackson, DE
Austin "Goose" Gonsoulin, S
Floyd Little, RB
The Orange Crush (1976-1980)
Randy Gradishar, ILB
Tom Jackson, OLB
Billy Thompson, S
Louis Wright, CB
The Reeves Era (1981-1994)
Dennis Smith, S
Karl Mecklenberg, OLB/ILB
Simon Fletcher, OLB/DE
The Shanahan Age (1995-Present)
Steve Atwater, S
Shannon Sharpe, TE
Terrell Davis, RB
Based on their merits, all of those players have some claim to the Hall of Fame, and would merit some discussion. This isn't to say that the current Hall-of-Famers and the most recent class aren't deserving; they are. There are just plenty of Broncos that deserve consideration as well, and simply aren't getting it.
View the images below to see more detailed stats for each of those 14 teams, as well as some ratios.
My Advice - A Call To Arms
So what should we do going forward? Well, as visitors to this site, we are armed with 4 things:
- A large, passionate, and intelligent Broncos fanbase
- The means by which to contact Hall-of-Fame voters
- Some example letters, statements, and pleas
- Numbers and names to back up our argument
We can take those four things and use them for our own revolution. Like TedBartlett905 said, the 'main stream media' isn't doing anything for us now; the fight is ours. Let's begin a campaign similar to our Ryan Clady campaign (which did have an effect) to get Broncos in the Hall-of-Fame.
My strategy is to choose three Broncos. One who would be selected by the veteran's committee, one who just joined the 15-year window, and one who has been in there for a while. Each month we will post a call to arms for these three candidates, and send out fresh emails, arguments, and pleas to various media members imploring them to vote those players into the Hall-of-Fame. Each of those posts will include nuggets of information on the players that can be used to persuade voters, as well as certain voters or media outlets we should focus on.
So let's start making a difference! By focusing on the accomplishments and achievements of our Broncos, we can propel them into the spotlight, the public's eye, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.