Good morning, Broncos Country!
Former Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed - the Defensive Player of the Year in 2004 - dropped a bomb yesterday when talking about his Hall of Fame candidacy with Bleacher Report.
“I pray to God that Steve Atwater gets in,” the 9-time Pro Bowler said. “If I get in and he don’t get in, I’d rather give my space to him.”
Wow. That’s some serious street cred for Steve Atwater.
Reed, who is the all-time leader in interception yards returned with 1,590 and a member of the Hall of Fame’s First Team All-2000s team, is considered a lock as a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer.
NFL.com analyst Elliott Harrison wrote last year that Reed “forced quarterbacks and offensive coordinators to change their whole approach” because he could make any play a safety can make, “while also becoming instant offense whenever he got the ball in his hand.”
The year Reed won DPOY, he returned nine interceptions for 358 yards, the second-most in a single season in NFL history.
So as a free safety, Reed has the stats HOF voters like to see - interceptions, scores off INTs and fumbles, and lots of yards. Sooooo many yards.
But even he recognizes that the position isn’t necessarily about those stats. It’s about being able to give the ball back to your offense. Atwater’s textbook tackles were often as much a change of possession factor as a turnover.
As our own Kolorado Kaos pointed out: “His ability to cover the top WRs was on par with the best safeties in the league. His batted ball [in SB32] is textbook, legal and exceptional. Few of the tackling machines in NFL history can make that play.”
Ed Reed knows that, and that’s why he knows Atwater deserves the Hall of Fame as much as he does.
A note about our 27-in-27 series:
We know that no one here needs even one reason - let alone 27 - to be reminded why Steve Atwater deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. But this series isn’t about convincing you. It’s about convincing the voters who, sadly, are as much influenced by how familiar they are with the candidate as by the player’s performance over his career.
So this series - this commitment - was to continuously keep Steve Atwater’s name in the media every day for the month leading up to the vote. His chances may be slim this year (because the HOF voters are dumb), but this series can be pointed to over and over every year until the committee does the Broncos right and puts all its deserving players in - beginning with Atwater and continuing with Randy Gradishar and so many more.
Thank you for reading stories you didn’t need to read because you already knew all the good things about Atwater. And thank you for sharing them on social media and helping us help No. 27 remind voters that he dominated the position long before Hall-of-Famers like Ed Reed.
Horse Tracks - docllv’s pick of the day (thanks to Jeffrey Essary!)
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Terrell Davis on Owner Pat Bowlen's Pro Football Hall of Fame candidacy: 'The resume for him speaks for itself'
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C.J. Anderson on RB workload: 'This is Todd's team' - NFL.com
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Terrell Davis hopeful 'good friend' Steve Atwater is elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame
When Terrell Davis arrived in Denver in 1995, he knew who the two best players were on the team. There was John Elway, the team’s franchise quarterback who led the team to three Super Bowls in the 1980s. And there was Steve Atwater.
ESPN's Paolantonio: Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen ‘going to get great support’ in Pro Football Hall of Fame selection room
"I think it would be a shock if the full committee did not recommend that Mr. Bowlen be a contributor for the Class of 2019. I certainly will speak up on his behalf."
Sean McVay and Bill Belichick understand that the system needs to fit the players, not the other way around – The Athletic
Sean McVay and Bill Belichick are flexible with their ideas, which allows them to utilize players' talent to the maximum effect.
Roger Goodell: NFL will 'look again at instant replay' - NFL.com
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell discussed the non-call in the NFC Championship Game on Wednesday, telling reporters the league will "will look again at instant replay."
Goodell hopeful Raiders will get resolution soon for '19 - NFL.com
The Raiders are in limbo on where they will play in 2019. Commissioner Roger Goodell addressed this and other issues across the league on Wednesday ahead of Super Bowl LIII.
Kraft on Josh Gordon's suspension: 'It makes us sad' - NFL.com
Patriots brass spoke in past tense Tuesday when referring to receiver Josh Gordon, who was suspended indefinitely for violating the terms of his reinstatement under the NFL's substance-abuse policy.