Here we go again Broncos Country. Four players out of 25 feels like good odds, but it seems like there are always multiple former Denver Broncos greats on this semifinalist list every year. However, this time I feel like things are going to be different for at least one, maybe two, former Broncos.
First, here is the full list of nominees from the Pro Football Hall of Fame website:
- Morten Andersen: K – 1982-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-2000, 2006-07 Atlanta Falcons, 2001 New York Giants, 2002-03 Kansas City Chiefs, 2004 Minnesota Vikings | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2013-16)
- Steve Atwater: S – 1989-1998 Denver Broncos, 1999 New York Jets | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2012-16)
- Tony Boselli: T – 1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2002 Houston Texans (injured reserve) | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2016)
- Isaac Bruce: WR – 1994-2007 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 2008-09 San Francisco 49ers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2015-16)
- Don Coryell: Coach – 1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals, 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 8 – 2005, 2010-16)
- Roger Craig: RB – 1983-1990 San Francisco 49ers, 1991 Los Angeles Raiders, 1992-93 Minnesota Vikings | (Times as a Semifinalist: 8 – 2009-16)
- Terrell Davis: RB – 1995-2001 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 10 – 2007-2016)
- Tony Dungy: Coach – 1996-2001 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2002-08 Indianapolis Colts | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2014-16)
- Alan Faneca: G - 1998-2007 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2008-09 New York Jets, 2010 Arizona Cardinals | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2016)
- Brett Favre: QB – 1991 Atlanta Falcons, 1992-2007 Green Bay Packers, 2008 New York Jets, 2009-2010 Minnesota Vikings | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2016)
- Kevin Greene: LB/DE – 1985-1992 Los Angeles Rams, 1993-95 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1996, 1998-99 Carolina Panthers, 1997 San Francisco 49ers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 10 – 2007-2016)
- Marvin Harrison: WR – 1996-2008 Indianapolis Colts | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2014-16)
- Torry Holt: WR – 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars| (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2015-16)
- Joe Jacoby: T – 1981-1993 Washington Redskins | (Times as a Semifinalist: 6 – 2005, 2008, 2013-16)
- Edgerrin James: RB – 1999-2005 Indianapolis Colts, 2006-08 Arizona Cardinals, 2009 Seattle Seahawks | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2015-16)
- Jimmy Johnson: Coach – 1989-1993 Dallas Cowboys, 1996-99 Miami Dolphins | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2014-16)
- Mike Kenn: T – 1978-1994 Atlanta Falcons| (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2015-16)
- Ty Law: CB – 1995-2004 New England Patriots, 2005, 2008 New York Jets, 2006- 07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2009 Denver Broncos| (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2015-16)
- John Lynch: FS – 1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2013-16)
- Kevin Mawae: C/G – 1994-97 Seattle Seahawks, 1998-2005 New York Jets, 2006-09 Tennessee Titans| (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2015-16)
- Karl Mecklenburg: LB – 1983-1994 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2012-16)
- Sam Mills: LB – 1986-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-97 Carolina Panthers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2016)
- Terrell Owens: WR – 1996-2003 San Francisco 49ers, 2004-05 Philadelphia Eagles, 2006-08 Dallas Cowboys, 2009 Buffalo Bills, 2010 Cincinnati Bengals | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2016)
- Orlando Pace: T – 1997-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Chicago Bears| (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2015-16)
- Kurt Warner: QB – 1998-2003 St. Louis Rams, 2004 New York Giants, 2005-09 Arizona Cardinals| (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2015-16)
The Broncos on this list are obviously Karl Mecklenburg, Steve Atwater, Terrell Davis and John Lynch. Elliot Harrison from NFL.com broke the list down nicely and who he felt we legitimate contenders to receive a bust in Canton in 2016.
As much as it pains me, I think he is right that both Karl Mecklenburg and Steve Atwater will fail to make it down to the final cut as both players have the unenviable challenge of breaking through from a different era of football. I suspect both players will be strong contenders from the senior committee once their modern day eligibility comes to an end.
John Lynch looks to be the best safety on the board, but as Harrison noted, being a safety is one of the toughest roads to take to get into the Hall of Fame. The only thing working for him is that there are multiple players at the same position among the top tier candidates for this class. The voters have proven to shy away from enshrining multiple guys from the same position in the past, so this could help Lynch get in.
Now that we've covered most of the Broncos players on this list, let's talk about the guy that is long overdue for that gold jacket.
The stars appear to be aligning perfectly for Terrell Davis in 2016. It's going to be one of his best shots at getting in and I think it's going to happen. Roger Craig was good, but not quite as great as TD and I'm not even going to pretend Edgerrin James is a serious contender this year.
David didn't get in last year because voters felt Jerome Bettis and his long and consistently above average career was worth more in votes than TD's short yet explosive career. None of the other running backs can even make that argument, which makes TD a compelling vote for this class.
Terrell Davis is a Hall of Fame player. I don't care what any voter, fan or cynic says. If you average over 140 rushing yards per game in the playoffs versus top-flight competition, win a Super Bowl MVP award and a league MVP award, and were the best running back in the game when Emmitt Smith, Barry Sanders and Marshall Faulk were still playing, then you reek of bronze. So Davis only played seven seasons, with four full healthy years. The Patriots have only won the Super Bowl four times. Does that mean they don't deserve props? Hate the longevity argument when it comes to Davis.
Harrison ranked TD 7th on his list, but ahead of him are two wide receivers and two quarterbacks. I suspect we might see Kurt Warner join Brett Favre, but there is no way they vote in two wide receivers. It's either going to be Terrell Owens or Marvin Harrison. The two other guys ahead of TD are coaches, which leads me to believe one gets in and not the other. It could be a Tony Dungy-Marvin Harrison kind of sentimental vote in my opinion.
Even if all of the guys ahead of TD get 80% of the vote, then TD still gets in with if the voters also vote him in with 80% of the voters approval. I don't know Broncos Country, but it feels like this is the year. This is the year we put the TD in the HOF complaint to rest. I for one cannot wait!
Enjoy some Terrell Davis from A Football Life.