The Mile High Report Hall of Fame Class of 2015 selection process continues (finally)!!
We've tallied your nominations for all of the categories and can now open the polls for each. But we are starting with Sportsperson of the Year because, well, why not begin with the Bronco that made us the most proud over the past year.
Though you know each of these candidates well, take a moment to read the nomination info excerpted below and then cast your vote.
The polls close at noon the day Training Camp opens (which is July 31 for anyone not paying attention :) )
Sportsperson of the Year 2015 nominees
The MHR Sportsperson of the Year inductee is a special award given to one former or active player, coach, or difference-maker to the Denver Broncos Football Club that year. The award specifically honors outstanding sportsmanship, noteworthiness, football contributions, and community service - a football figure who we, as fans, are most proud to say represented the orange and blue over the past calendar year.
You can vote for your favorite two of the top five candidates for Sportsperson of the Year 2015 right here, but take a minute to read the nominations for all our outstanding team leaders in the past year:
Despite how much has been written for this man, there is always so much to say about his continual sportsmanship, even in the face of defeat, criticism and adversity. And yet, you really only need two words - Class. Act.
Though 2014 might have seemed like the perfect year for Manning to win this award given his outstanding performance in the 2013 season, it actually may be more appropriate upon reflection of the QB's 2014 season.
Although Manning's stats were still phenomenal by any quarterback's standards, they dropped off near the end of the season, leading much of Broncos Country to doubt the future NFL Hall of Fame QB's worth on this team in the weeks following a disheartening playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
But as Manning has proved over and over - and over again - he is above his critics. He continues to display humility, a sense of humor and sincere appreciation for the sport of football, his fans everywhere and humanity in general. He raises millions of dollars in every community where he has been part of its football world, and he always shows compassion to those facing tough times, whether football fans or not.
Just last week Manning made a trip to the Chattanooga site where five Marines were shot and killed, and last month we saw Manning visiting children in the hospital and reaching out to a fan's family whose son had been killed in a car accident.
Ozark Orange's very articulate nomination said as much:
"I know his 2014 season wasn't everything we'd hoped for, whether it was age, or injury or whatever. And I know that there is some division in the Broncos fan base between those who want him to play forever, and those who are ready to move on.
But he's still the kind of guy who does things to make other players better. Things like spending extra time outside of scheduled team activities with receivers to improve their route running, timing, and communication. Things like leading by example when it comes to work ethic and preparation.
He's seeing lots of changes this season including new coaches, new players, and a new offense. I'm not sure how much he likes those changes, but he's not being a prima donna and complaining about them. Instead, his response is to work harder, and try to get better.
When it comes to off-the-field activities, who are you going to find in the NFL that does more for communities and charities? His charities and foundations have helped and continue to help people in need in Denver, Indianapolis, New Orleans, and probably other places I don't know about. And he takes time and gives of himself to comfort sick and injured people in hospitals and grieving families."
It would be impossible to argue that Elway has not done everything he can to make this team better. Whether it is as the Broncos quarterback or its GM, Elway is a Bronco to the core, and not enough teams in the NFL can boast that of their leader.
Copying Woody Paige's nomination of Elway to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, OrangeAndBluesBros merely wrote, "Ladies and gentlemen, John Elway. Enough said! " in his nomination here, and that should be enough for every fan here who knows what Elway has meant to this team.
But for posterity's sake (and - gasp! - anyone recently rejoining Broncos fandom), let's review the football and business resumé of TYJE:
Elway ended his career with a record 148 victories, since surpassed by Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady for most wins by a starting quarterback. His 3,417 career rushing yards ranks sixth all-time among NFL QBs behind Randall Cunningham, Michael Vick, Steve Young, Fran Tarkenton and Steve McNair.
The Hall of Fame quarterback also holds several Broncos franchise records, including most touchdown passes (300), most career passing yards (51,475) and most total touchdowns (334, which includes one receiving touchdown).
But it's what Elway has done since re-joining Pat Bowlen and the Broncos franchise as its executive vice president in 2011 - and rescuing the team from impending doom thanks to former coach Josh McDaniels - that makes his credentials worthy of the SOTY award.
- Drafted top players such as Von Miller, Danny Trevathan, Orlando Franklin, Derek Wolfe and Julius Thomas.
- Acquired big-time free agents such as Emmanuel Sanders, DeMarcus Ware, Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward
- Got C.J. Anderson as an undrafted free agent
- Signed Peyton Freaking Manning in 2012, one of his biggest offseason acquisitions
- Assembled one of the NFL's best defenses and most prolific offenses in the last four years
Specifically this year (which is key for the award), Elway was able to retain two of the best Broncos to play the current game - Chris Harris Jr. and Demaryius Thomas - while also bringing on an entirely new coaching staff and getting his band back together with Gary Kubiak, Rick Dennison and Wade Phillips.
Retiring in 2013 as vice president of corporate communications for the Broncos, Jim Saccamano was the man in charge of making sure the team remained a pillar of the community no matter the win-loss record. He remains a consulant to the team, contributing articles about some of the best Broncos to don the Orange and Blue since the team's humble beginnings.
Saccomano: A continuous look at Broncos history: Jim Saccomano introduces his new column, which will look back at… http://t.co/mYDjxYv3On— NFL Breaking News (@NFLBNN) February 9, 2015
"As a nod to another pillar of this great organization who quietly 'just got it done,'I nominate the former VP of Corporate Communications for 36 years of making sure the Broncos represented themselves in front of the media with class and humility (more than a few organizations can't claim more than two years in a row). He needs his name on the Ring of Fame as well."
The best cornerback in the NFL is also one of the few players in the league to mean it when he said he'd take a hometown discount. Quietly signing his contract extension last December, Harris Jr. proved he loves this team and its fans. And he continues quietly doing great things to improve the lives of kids who live here.
"To me CHJ is the definition of class both on and off the field. Always plays with a chip on the shoulder on the field (the noninclusion of him in NFL Network's Top 100 should only add to that), and he has slowly but surely developed into the best cornerback in the NFL today. And he is a total class act in person, always smiling and openhearted and does a great job through his Chris Harris Jr. Foundation."
Though D-Will left this world too early, it seemed appropriate to include him in the discussion for Sportsperson of the Year due in large part to the ongoing contributions he is making to the youth and city of Denver through the Darrent Williams Memorial Teen Center at the Denver Broncos branch of the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Denver.
KRONK-00 points out in his nomination:
"I think the kids walking into the teen center today may be positively impacted by what was he represented - and is "contributing now" - as a (former) Bronco. Just like it may have for them yesterday. And last week. And last year. Likewise the years before that. And those marching off into the future. Especially for kids who may not yet see much beyond the day-to-day.
‘Cuz otherwise... he probably doesn't get the recognition that some may feel he deserves in the MHR Broncos HOF. As much as he was appreciated, he didn't have the opportunity to "finish qualifying" for it as a player.
I vote to "stretch" the category or do something like rename it the 'Darrent Williams Memorial MHR SOTY Award' and recognize him in perpetuity."
And let us know in the comments your choices if you want!