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A different approach to Broncos greatness

How would you rank the ten best Broncos of all time?

Jacksonville Jaguars v Denver Broncos Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

This time of year, media of all kinds pulls its collective hair out trying to come up with ways to keep generating content when literally nothing is going on. You’ll see all sorts of top ten lists, Mount Rushmores, and all-time rosters, but I don’t know if I’ve seen anyone take this straight-forward of an approach to determining the greatest Broncos of all time.

There is nothing wrong with the “big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games” criteria to determine greatness. After all, it’s those moments that make being a Broncos fan so much fun. Where would we be without The Drive, The Fumble, The Helicopter, and all those moments that make up that feeling in your gut when you put on your Broncos gear on gameday morning?

Lost, though, in those great moments are the grinders, the dudes that showed up to work every day and did their job well enough to string enough of those days together into an all-time streak. As football fans, we often talk about how many seasons a player played, but rarely do we examine the number of games a player clocked into. So let’s take an all-time great look at the Denver Broncos using games played as the only guideline to determine that greatness.

Top 10 Broncos by Games Played

1 Jason Elam 236 Click Here
2 John Elway 234 Click Here
3 Tom Nalen 194 Click Here
4 Tom Jackson 191 Click Here
5 Paul Howard 187 Click Here
6 Dennis Smith 184 Click Here
7 Barney Chavous 183 Click Here
8 Rod Smith 183 Click Here
9 Karl Mecklenburg 180 Click Here
10 Billy Thompson 179 Click Here

If you click on the bio for each of the names above, you’ll notice each of these guys were selected by Mile High Report as the “Greatest to Wear” their number for the Denver Broncos. Rarely, though, do you see names like Paul Howard or Barney Chavous mentioned in the same breath as John Elway. Never do you see a list where Jason Elam, who played in 236 games as a Denver Bronco and “started” 0 of them, come in ahead of John Elway.

Does this list change perceptions of the greatest Broncos in your eyes? I still have Terrell Davis, Shannon Sharpe, Von Miller, and others on my personal list and I’m sure most everyone does as well. Sometimes it’s fun to play with the rules of perception and see the Broncos through a different lens. If for nothing else, the men on this list deserve a little more recognition for their time with the Broncos. With all due respect to Jerry Glanville, if “NFL” stands for “Not For Long”, these guys surely didn’t get the memo.

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