Simon Fletcher is finally getting his due.
The franchise leader in sacks will get inducted in the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame this season. Fletcher (1985-95) joins Jason Elam (1993-2007) and John Lynch (2004-07) in the 2016 class. According to the Broncos, this is the fifth time three or more individuals get induction in the Ring of Fame. The announcement comes after the selection committee held its annual meeting on Tuesday. The three will get inducted at halftime of a Broncos game this season. That game has not been decided yet.
Including the 2016 inductees, there are a total of 31 individuals honored as Ring of Famers by the Broncos. The Ring of Fame is displayed on the Level 5 façade of Mile High Stadium. Inductees also are featured on 8-foot bronze and steel pillars in the Ring of Fame Plaza outside the south end of the stadium.
The Ring of Fame was created in 1984 by Pat Bowlen to honor players and administrators who played significant roles in the franchise's history. According to the Broncos, The Denver Broncos Ring of Fame Committee consists of Broncos President & CEO Joe Ellis; former Broncos General Manager John Beake; former Broncos Assistant Head Coach/Defense Joe Collier; former Broncos wide receiver and current radio play-by-play announcer Dave Logan; former Broncos Vice President of Public Relations Jim Saccomano; and former Broncos radio play-by-play announcer Larry Zimmer.
As for Fletcher, one of the greatest defensive players in franchise history is overlooked no more.
From the Broncos news release:
Fletcher spent his entire 11-year NFL career (1985-95) with the Broncos and finished as the franchise's all-time sack leader with 97.5 quarterback takedowns. A member of the Broncos' 50th Anniversary Team, Fletcher never missed a game in his career, setting a team mark by appearing in 172 consecutive contests.
At the conclusion of his career, Fletcher was tied for 13th on the NFL's all-time sack list. Including his six quarterback takedowns in the postseason, he totaled 103.5 for the Broncos to become just the 11th player in NFL history to reach 100 combined sacks for a single team."
Fletcher has been overlooked for at least a decade but it's good to see such an important fixture on the Denver defense.
As for Elam, he was a no-brainer. The best kicker in franchise history, he's one of the best in NFL history as well.
From the news release:
Elam played the first 15 seasons (1993-2007) of his 17-year NFL career with the Broncos, is the franchise's all-time leader in field goals (395) and points (1,786) - both representing the second-highest totals in NFL history for a single team (behind Detroit kicker Jason Hanson).
A three-time Pro Bowl selection (1995, '98, '01) and 2001 NFL Special Teams Player of the Year, Elam played in a team-record 250 combined games (236 reg. season / 14 postseason) for the Broncos. He was part of 152 combined wins - the second-highest total in team history behind quarterback John Elway (163) - including the Broncos' back-to-back Super Bowl victories in 1997 and 1998.
In addition to kicking 24 game-winning or game-saving field goals as a Bronco, Elam finished his career with the team ranked eighth in NFL history in regular-season field goal percentage (80.6 / 395-of-490) and playoff field goal percentage (83.3 / 15-of-18). He also finished his Broncos career ranked second in league history in 50-yard field goals (37), including a 63-yard kick against Jacksonville on Oct. 25, 1998, that tied the NFL record.
The surprise of the bunch is Lynch.
Yes, he made the Pro Bowl every season he played in Denver, but before Ed McCaffrey? Trevor Pryce? Or even fellow safety Tyrone Braxton?
The success he had over his career, even with the Broncos, can't be debated. And Ellis reiterated the threshold to get in the Broncos Ring of Fame is four years. When you add what Lynch brought to the organization and what he meant, you can see why the committee picked him.
From the news release:
Lynch played four seasons (2004-07) with the Broncos and was named to the Pro Bowl in each season he played for the franchise.
He joins safety Steve Atwater (7), tight end Shannon Sharpe (7), cornerback Champ Bailey (4), center Tom Nalen (4) and defensive lineman Trevor Pryce (4) as the only players in team history to make four consecutive Pro Bowls (he shares with Bailey the distinction of being the only two players in Broncos history to make the Pro Bowl in each of their first four years with the club)."
The debate on Lynch's inclusion will continue well beyond this season.
What's awesome is the committee finally got it right with Fletcher and he gets his rightful place in the Broncos Ring of Fame.
How do you feel about the 2016 Ring of Fame class?
This poll is closed
The selection committee got it right
Not sure about Lynch
I'm just glad Fletcher finally gets in
Duh, Elam had to get in