In the off season Denver acquired what many feel is the best modern day safety in the history of the game of professional football. Brian Dawkins is the example for all other safety wannabe’s to follow. He is tough, athletic, full of character and a team leader. He has a team first mentality and is worthy of every accolade heaped upon him. In spite of all that he remains grounded and humble. He is a thirteen year veteran and is a seven time Pro-Bowl selection. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that he is worthy of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Dawkins reminds me a great deal of a safety we had years ago. His name was "Goose" Gonsoulin. Austin William "Goose" Gonsoulin (born June 7, 1938 in Port Arthur, Texas) was the original Denver Bronco, selected first in the 1960 season. At the end of his Bronco career, he was the all-time American Football League leader in interceptions with 40. He made the first interception ever in the American Football League, in the first AFL game against the Boston Patriots. He had seven interceptions in his first three games, and his 11 pickoffs in 1960 are still a Denver club record. He shares the team record for interceptions in a game with four, a feat he accomplished 18 September 1960 at Buffalo.
Gonsoulin was a Sporting News AFL All-League player in 1960, 1962, and 1963, and an AFL Western Division All-Star in 1961, 1964 and 1966. His amazing durability and toughness enabled him to start 61 consecutive games at one point in his career. He was also the captain of his college team at Baylor.
I thought it might be interesting to compare Goose with Brian Dawkins in terms of stats. I figured some of you might be interested in two more Bronco great Safeties. I included Bill Thompson and Steve Atweater.
Goose Dawkins Atwater Thomson
Seasons 8 14 11 12
Games 108 183 167 179
Interceptions 46 34 24 40
Int. Return Yds. 551 515 408 784
Yds. Per Int Return 12 15.1 17 19.6
Touchdowns on Int. 3 2 1 3
Forced Fumbles * 32 6 *
Sacks * 21 5 *
* = Forced Fumbles and Sacks were not recorded in these years.
My point is this. Goose was our first ever really good player. The voting for the Bronco 50 year team is drawing to a close. Friday Sept. 4th is the last day for voting. I am blatantly putting in a pitch for Goose. If you have not voted, I urge you to put Goose in as one of the Safeties. I wish I had some video or some slick media to show you all how exciting he was. After the first three or four games of his career teams stayed away from Goose. Denver had a player.In my opinion he played on a level with Atwater, Thompson and Dawkins. If you want to vote go to http://www.denverbroncos.com/50th/
Our friend Zappa stated it best. "Denver has a long trdition of outstanding play at the Safety position.". It all started with Goose. I am sure Goose would appreciate your vote. He has mine.