Steve Atwater aka the "Smiling Assassin" patrolled the middle of the Defensive backfield along with another great safety in Dennis Smith. Between the two, they were one of the most feared Safety tandems in the NFL during the 1990's. In fact, he is on the NFL's 1990's All-Decade Team. An 8-Time Pro Bowler, 3-Time All-Pro and 3-Time Super Bowl Champion, Steve was known for his ferocious hits, like the infamous "mic'd up" hit on Chiefs Running Back Christian Okoye on Monday Night Football in 1990. Did I say hit? That was a pummeling blow, considering Okoye outweighed Atwater by 42 lbs.
In 1983, the Denver Broncos drafted a player who would provided struck fear into the opposition. No, not John Elway (well, yes John Elway, but he's already in the Hall of Fame). In the 12th Round with the 310th pick, the Broncos selected the LB Karl Mecklenburg. Known as "The Albino Rhino" or simply "The Meck", Karl would amass 79.5 sacks (2nd in team history) and 5 interceptions over his 180 game career that would continue until 1994. Most impressive, Karl would be instrumental on a defense that would go to
While Meck is a fan favorite, he's probably got a long road to travel in order to get to Canton. Another storied Broncos Linebacker has been patiently waiting his turn - Randy Gradishar. While we must support Karl, it's important to remain vigilant with Randy.
After leaving Denver in 1993, Coach Reeves would take the reins of the New York Giants. At the conclusion of that year, he would earn Coach of the Year honors. In 1997 he became the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. We all know what happened at the conclusion of the 1998 season in Super Bowl XXXIII, but few people remember that he had quadruple bypass surgery and came back to coaching after missing just three games. It's also notable that the losing coach of Super Bowl XXXIII who would go on to win Coach of the Year accolades, not the winning one - Mike Shanahan.
In all, Reeves would end his coaching career with an impressive record of 190-165-2. Of the coaches who have been to the Super Bowl four times (Bud Grant with the Vikings, Chuck Noll with the Steelers, Joe Gibbs with the Redskins, Marv Levy of the Bills, and Bill Belichick of the Patriots), all but Bill Belichick are already in the Hall of Fame (and that's only because he's not yet eligible). Of those Hall of Fame coaches, only Chuck Noll won more games.
It's also worth noting that of the five Denver Broncos up for enshrinement this year, Reeves is the only one who is eligible for Ring of Fame induction that has so far been overlooked. If Red Miller can be forever revered for for his accomplishments in 1977, it's time that Reeves get his orange and blue due.
It's time to give them some company.
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