Terrell Davis was this close to quitting.
As a rookie, he was ready to walk away from the Denver Broncos and his dream of playing in the NFL. As he said on his “Football Life,” he never thought he would get his chance. He wasn’t sure he wanted to deal with it anymore. It wasn’t worth the stress or time. Davis proceeded to down a few hot dogs on the sideline of that preseason game on Aug. 5, 1995 in Tokyo. He wouldn’t see the field, he thought, so he had nothing to fret.
What happened next on that Saturday started the legend of TD. On a kick off in the second half, Davis smoked San Francisco 49ers returner Tyronne Drakeford, and the rest is history. All Davis needed was that chance, and even with a belly full of rotten meat, he took advantage of it. That chance propelled him to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.
Davis is the fifth member of the Broncos to get inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. He joins teammates John Elway, Shannon Sharpe and Gary Zimmerman, along with Floyd Little. As is the case with players from Denver, it takes a while for them to get this honor, but at least the 48 voters finally got it right.
Davis’ stats speak for themself, as we showed in our series of 30 reasons in 30 days he was a hall of famer:
He’s a former NFL MVP, Super Bowl MVP and two-time Super Bowl Champion.
He was the fourth running back in history to rush for over 2,000 yards.
But it’s Davis’ stats in the postseason that made this a no-brainer. It made Hall of Fame voter Jim Trotter’s presentation really, really easy.
Davis is the best postseason running back in NFL history, and it’s not even close. Given how the voters weigh championships and impact in the playoffs, it sealed Davis’ fate. That impact takes away the shortened career narrative some put forth. Davis had 204 carries for 1,140 yards and 12 touchdowns in the postseason. He averaged 142.5 yards a game in the playoffs.
Remember, he did what he did in eight playoff games.
Davis is tied for the most career 100-yard postseason games with seven. The guy he’s tied with, Emmitt Smith, needed 17 games to get there. Davis has the NFL record for consecutive games with 100 yards rushing in the playoffs with seven.
Davis has the NFL record for average yard per carry in the postseason at 5.6.
Davis is tied for third in career postseason touchdowns with 12. Smith is first with 19 (in 17 games); Franco Harris (19 games) and Thurman Thomas (21 games) are next with 16.
BREAKING: LaDainian Tomlinson, Terrell Davis, Kurt Warner, Morten Andersen & Jason Taylor make up 2017 class of the Pro FB Hall of Fame. pic.twitter.com/Sp8Rq3Yann— Andrew Luria (@AndrewLuria) February 5, 2017
What makes his numbers more incredible is that they came against some of the most dominant defenses in the NFL. Davis faced an above average defense in all but one of his starts. Five times, he faced a top five defense, where his numbers improved to 145 yards and 1.625 touchdowns per game. Twice he faced the NFL’s No. 1 defense, averaging 150 yards and two touchdowns.
The voters finally rewarded Davis for his numbers and realized the impact he had on a team that did win back-to-back Super Bowls. As opposed to punishing him for not having “longevity,” as they had the last few years.
You cannot mention the decade of the 1990s without Davis. You cannot write the story of the NFL without him.
He’s one of the greatest to ever play the game of football.
He’s one of the best running backs in NFL history.
He’s the best postseason running back in NFL history.
It doesn’t matter that he didn’t play 12 years and put up the subsequent numbers because of it. Davis left more of an impression in his short career than any of the recent running backs to get inducted combined. You could make the argument that few running backs in history left the mark Davis has on the NFL.
None of that matters now since he is set to get a bust in the Hall of Fame.
Man, that is a beautiful sentence to finally write.
But what makes this reward even better is how great of a man Davis is. He’s everything that Pat Bowlen wanted from the players who put on the Broncos’ uniform.
A team-first mentality.
Great community guy.
Last full day of the #Broncos Super Bowl 50 reign & Terrell Davis is FINALLY voted into the HOF. Couldn't have ended any freaking better.— Sarah Garner (@sarahlgarner) February 5, 2017
Davis, to this day, still represents the Broncos and Mr. B with honor and integrity.
Super Bowl weekend got off to a great start, even if the the Broncos aren’t in Houston to defend their title. For all of the memories Davis brought to the Broncos, it’s sublime to know he’ll give one more Mile High Salute on the stage this August in Canton. This time as one of the newest members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Thank God he didn’t quit prior to that preseason game in Tokyo.