Now is usually the best time to start debating the greatest players of all-time for your favorite team. For the Denver Broncos, that list inevitably starts with John Elway. After Elway, the debate usually starts ramping up.
NFL Network put out their own top 5 Broncos players of all-time and I mostly agreed with their listing. They opted to put Shannon Sharpe over Terrell Davis, which I disagreed with simply because the Broncos may have won a Super Bowl without Sharpe, but they were never going to win a Super Bowl without TD.
As for Steve Atwater and Randy Gradishar, both are either in the Top 5 or pretty darn close.
I had a different perspective. My top 5 list is focused around players who made the biggest impact to the Broncos winning championships. At the end of the day, that is why the game is played.
The old-timers are ultimately down in the 6-10 range. Guys like Floyd Little, Randy Gradishar and even my all-time favorite defensive player, Steve Atwater. They are all Broncos' greats, but the lack of championships (or MVPs and Gold Jackets) puts them just out of reach of my top 5 Bronco players of all-time.
5. Von Miller
Miller has a fantastic career ahead of him. One that will likely land him in Canton. Though he has only been in the league for five years, he is already one of the all-time greatest Broncos. There was no way I was leaving a Super Bowl MVP off this list.
4. Shannon Sharpe
Sharpe's Hall of Fame career was one that helped redefine the tight end position. His jawing was among the best anyone has ever seen. Sharpe also helped the Broncos to two Super Bowl titles.
3. Peyton Manning
I am sure Manning being on this list will be the most controversial of the five, but in four short years with the Broncos, Manning helped transform the franchise from where it was in the aftermath of Josh McDaniels to Super Bowl 50. Sure his body was failing him at the end, but I am convinced now more than ever that the Broncos don't win those playoff games with Brock Osweiler under center.
2. Terrell Davis
Terrell Davis had just four seasons with the Broncos before blowing out his knee, but those were the four more explosive seasons a running back will ever see. He achieved everything a player could achieve: NFL rushing titles, NFL MVP, Super Bowl MVP and a 2000 yard season. How he is not yet enshrined in Canton yet is as frustrating as it gets.
1. John Elway
Elway may have been surpassed on this list at some point, but then he decided to become the Broncos Executive Vice President and General Manager. Now the distance between him and all others is so great that I am doubtful I'll live to see another person come close to doing for the Broncos what Elway has done. Seven Super Bowl appearances and three Super Bowl titles in 21 seasons with the team. Wowsa! TYJE!
That's my Top 5. What are yours?