Editor’s note: There were no photos of Dan Reeves available, so we went with a photo from the AFC Championship Game against Cleveland in 1988 that he coached in.
The list of Denver Broncos shunned by the Pro Football Hall of Fame is vast. And disgraceful.
By now, Broncos Country knows the list verbatim. There’s no need to make people pissed off ... again. The hope is, with this being Hall of Fame announcement week, one player will get checked off the list. That player is, of course, Terrell Davis. And Mile High Report has done its part by doing our 30 reasons in 30 days TD is a hall of famer.
In the process of discussing the Hall of Fame on the latest Mile High Report Radio Podcast, an interesting development occurred. Adam Malnati and I stated the case for former Broncos head coach Dan Reeves. I asked: If Marv Levy is a hall of famer, why isn’t Reeves?
Reeves ranks No. 9 all time in wins with 190, nine seasons in the playoffs, 11-9 in the postseason and four Super Bowl appearances.
Levy ranks No. 21 all time in wins with 143, eight seasons in the playoffs, 11-8 in the postseason and four Super Bowl appearances.
A huge reason Levy is in the Hall of Fame is those four Super Bowls. After all, it happened in four straight years. That is unbelievable, and a feat no doubt Hall-of-Fame worthy.
But people seem to forget Reeves has an equally impressive feat - three Super Bowls in four years. We won’t mention the fact those Broncos teams were not on the same planet in terms of overall talent as those Bills teams. Denver never should have gone to those three Super Bowls, which makes Reeves’ candidacy even more solid.
But that’s just the start for Reeves. He’s one of six coaches to lead two organizations to a Super Bowl. Reeves led the Broncos to three and Atlanta Falcons to one. The other five head coaches to pull that feat are Don Shula, Bill Parcells, Dick Vermeil, Mike Holmgren and, gasp, John Fox.
There’s one more: No person in NFL history has been to more Super Bowls than Reeves. As a player (for the Dallas Cowboys), assistant coach (in Dallas) and head coach (Denver and Atlanta), he went to nine Super Bowls. Bill Belichick will tie him this Sunday. That is a Hall-of-Fame worthy feat.
The number is so astounding it almost sounds as if it can’t be right. But it is. In a span of 29 NFL seasons from 1970 to 1998, Dan Reeves was a player or coach on nine Super Bowl teams - which is almost one trip every three years. He went twice as a Cowboys running back (1970–71), three times as a Dallas assistant coach (1975, ’77, ’78), three times as Denver’s head coach (1986, ’87, ’89) and once as Atlanta’s head coach (1998).
The rub with Reeves is he never won a Super Bowl as a head coach. In fact, in his nine appearances, he’s 2-7. Why isn’t that held against Levy? If he has a bust because of the four-straight Super Bowls, I poked holes in that argument.
Perhaps it’s because the 48-member selection committee constantly moves the goalposts. It credits a coach for a helluva feat, yet overlooks one equally as impressive for another coach of an organization that clearly it does not respect.
Dan Reeves made the Super Bowl as a player or coach an NFL-record 9 times. Bill Belichick's 9th Super trip looms: https://t.co/lAN9FOsWYF— Don Banks (@DonBanks) January 25, 2017
But let’s not stop with a comparison to Levy. Some, most, might consider Marty Schottenheimer a hall of famer. The former Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers head coach ranks No. 7 all time in wins with 200. That’s where the comparison to Reeves stops. Schottenheimer, in large part because of Reeves and the Broncos, has a horrid 5-13 record in the playoffs. In large part of because of Reeves, Schottenheimer never went to a Super Bowl.
When you write the story of the NFL, you cannot do it without Reeves. When it comes to Broncos Country, it’s always been a hate-hate relationship with the former head coach; at least it seemed that way. Though that’s softened over the years and fans realize, even though he was more conservative than a woman’s bathing suit in the 1920s, he did a lot for the organization.
We all know the list of Broncos who have been shunned by the Hall of Fame. Don’t forget about Reeves.