I am honored to be esteemed highly by my illustrious colleagues at Mile High Report, thanks so much. Now it is time for me to use my historian and statistician skills and tell of Louis Wright, an often-overlooked Broncos' player who endeared himself to an entire generation of orange-clad fans.
Louis Wright was born January 31, in Gilmer, Texas, located about 82 miles northwest of Shreveport, La. and began his collegiate career in Tempe, Ariz. with the Arizona State Sun Devils.
Nevertheless, he later transferred to San Jose State, helping the Spartans to an 8-3 record in 1974 while the defense surrendered only 288.7 net yards per game and 16.6 points per contest, which was 42nd out of 129 teams in what was considered Division I-A football in those days.
Additionally, Wright was an excellent track and field athlete for the Spartans, once running a 9.6 in the 100-meter dash and posted a Top 5 in school annals, 25-7," in the long jump. For his attainments as a collegian, Wright was inducted into San Jose State's athletic hall of fame, joining former NFL/CFL quarterback Jeff Garcia, sprinter Tommie Smith and legendary San Francisco 49ers head coach Bill Walsh, among others.
In 1975, the Broncos drafted him with the #17 overall pick in the NFL Draft and he soon endeared himself to the Bronco faithful by starting 11 games in his rookie campaign, posting two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
Through 12 seasons in orange and blue, pro-football-reference.com confirms Wright amassed 26 interceptions, three forced fumbles and 11 fumble recoveries, manifesting that he clearly had a nose for the football.
I vaguely remember Wright as I can recall watching Broncos games in 1986 and I do recall the late NBC Sports commentator Merlin Olsen saying Wright was a truly legendary player.
In fact, I remember a Broncos-Seahawks broadcast in 1987 on NBC that saw Olsen lamenting Wright's loss, saying the Broncos had a tall order in finding his replacement. Sadly, this broadcast was pulled off of the YouTube archives or I'd post a link to it.
Overall, (for those of you who like this kind of thing), Wright was named to five Pro Bowls, and for the substance that I like, he was also named to All-Pro teams at sundry times by The Associated Press, (1978/1979), The Newspaper Enterprise Association (1978, 1979, 1983) and Pro Football Weekly (1978, 1979, 1984). Furthermore, he was also named the 1977 Football Digest's NFL Defensive Back of the Year.
Additionally, he was named to the 1970's NFL All-Decade Team, so keep that in mind when voting for your favorite Broncos player of the 70's. Incidentally, fellow Broncos alum, Rick Upchurch (who I had the pleasure of meeting several years ago at the St. George, Utah Ramada Inn), was also named to the all-decade team for the 70's as a kick returner.
Perhaps most telling about Wright's magnificence were the words of prestigious and aforementioned defensive coordinator Joe Collier who called him a "shutdown cornerback," even though that term, by Collier's admission, was not used in Wright's playing days.
Collier cited that Wright played the "left side," also confirming that in those days, most teams played offense "right-sided," while running plays usually went to the right side.
So, hopefully I did well with this, I Mile High Salute Louis Wright, one of the greatest Broncos in history!