Today should be a day of celebration. Two great Denver Broncos were voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. We are happy. And we are not.
After almost four weeks of pushing Steve Atwater’s candidacy for the Hall of Fame, the voters decided that he was, once again, not worthy. It’s disappointing. It hurts as a fan. It sucks because we all know that Atwater is a true Hall of Famer.
We know this because we have heard from coaches, players, general managers, members of the Hall of Fame. Ed Reed said he would give Atwater his spot if he didn’t get in. Wade Phillips called him the best free safety he’s ever coached. Both show the respect Atwater has around the league.
#Broncos @ProFootballHOF RB @Terrell_Davis joined me and @BKDenverSports on the red carpet at #NFLHonors and gave us his initial thoughts on @SteveAtwater27 not making it into the Hall of Fame this year. @OrangeBlue760 @MaseDenver pic.twitter.com/LEDvwbePf5— Ryan Edwards (@redwardsradio) February 2, 2019
Let’s be clear: this does not define Atwater. His legacy in the NFL is felt by more than a few players and coaches who know the man he is deserving of a bust in Canton, Ohio. He will get in. That doesn’t make the hurt any less.
This isn’t just a snub of a great player, but of a great man who has proven himself to be humble in greatness, gracious in defeat, and a champion at heart.
This isn’t over for Atwater. His NFL journey continues. His recognition will have to wait for one more year, but in the end, he will be delivering a Hall of Fame speech in Canton. All of Broncos Country knows it, as does the rest of the NFL.
Next year might be different.
From what I have heard, Steve Atwater did really well in the room this year.— Ryan Koenigsberg (@RyanKoenigsberg) February 2, 2019
The word "momentum" has been thrown around a lot in regards to his name.
As I said below, you could tell throughout the week that HOF voters were starting to warm up to his name.