Denver Broncos Pro Football Hall of Famer, Shannon Sharpe, was arguably the best receiving tight end ever to play the game when he retired. He was soon surpassed statistically by the generation of receiving tight ends that he spawned as a tweener wide receiver/tight end coming out of college.
The seventh round draft pick would emerge as a dominant and uncoverable pass catcher throughout the 1990s. Three Super Bowl Championships and a Broncos Ring of Famer, it is hard to argue against the mark he left on the league.
numberFire recently broke down the Top 20 seasons by a tight end over the last 25 years and Sharpe found his way onto that list three times.
Shannon Sharpe had many great seasons throughout his 14-year career. This one was no exception, as Sharpe scored 9 touchdowns with a career-high catch rate of 73.6% while averaging 9.05 yards per target and 62.2 yards per game on his way to an AV of 11.
The first big year came when John Elway was allowed to start slinging the ball like never before. Under Dan Reeves, Elway was constrained under a run-heavy system. However, new Broncos head coach Wade Phillips unleashed Elway and a pass-heavy offense.
Shannon Sharpe was the biggest benefactor to Elway’s career year statistically in 1993.
Now in his seventh year as a member of the Denver Broncos, Sharpe improved upon his six previous seasons, with totals of 1,062 yards and 10 touchdowns on 80 catches. He put up a career-best 70.8 yards a game for an AV of 12 in 15 contests.
Sharpe was reaching his peak right around the time Mike Shanahan came to town with his West Coast offense. Leading up to his best seasons as a pro...
In 1997, Sharpe had just three touchdowns, but the rest of his numbers were up across the board. He caught 72 of 114 targets with a per-catch average of 15.4 yards and 9.71 yards per target. All that amounted to personal bests of 1,107 receiving yards and an AV of 14.
Only Antonio Gates in 2006 and 2009 and Rob Gronkowski in 2011 had better seasons at tight end than Sharpe did during the Broncos historic first Super Bowl championship season of 1997.
Surprisingly, Sharpe made this list more than Tony Gonzalez, while Gates made the list far more than any other tight end.
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