It’s official. Both Champ Bailey and Steve Atwater have made it into the final round of voting and is a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2019. The final vote will take place the Saturday before Super Bowl LIII on February 2, 2019.
Atwater spent all but one season with the Broncos are was a terror on the field. He made the Pro Bowl seven consecutive years from 1990-96 and again in 1998. He was a First-Team All-Pro twice and helped spearhead a Broncos defense that was underrated in both of the franchises Super Bowl championship seasons in the late 90s.
With 24 career interceptions and a defensive touchdown, Atwater’s real presence was felt in the enforcer role finishing with 1125 tackles in his career. For a safety to rack up over a 100 tackles a year for a career is impressive.
Bailey spent a decade of his 15 years in the NFL with the Denver Broncos after beginning his career with the Washington Redskins as a seventh-overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft. He was the most dominant shutdown cornerback of his era through the prime of his career where he was selected as a First-Team All-Pro from 2004-2006.
Champ Bailey Career Stats
There is no doubt in this bloggers mind that Champ will officially be a first ballot Hall of Fame player in a few short weeks. Joining him will be Broncos long-time owner Pat Bowlen who was put forth by the Contributor’s Committee in August and is also one that is likely to get in this year. After those two, your guess is as good as mine as to who the voters go for.
Other Broncos who were up as finalists were Bronco great and Karl Mecklenburg and John Lynch. Lynch too made it in as a finalist, but Mecklenburg did not make the final cut.
Lynch, a Broncos Ring of Famer, played his final four seasons in the NFL for the Broncos after playing his first 11 seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He could play spoiler for Atwater as he was able to put up just as many Pro Bowl selections (9) and First-Team All-Pro selections (2) as Atwater did.
For Mecklenburg, his eligibility is up and beginning next year he will have to be a Senior Committee nominee. The three-time First-Team All-Pro selection will join Randy Gradishar and other Bronco legends as ultimate Hall of Fame snubs.