Lost amid the sad news of Pat Bowlen’s passing on Friday, Purple Daily’s Matthew Coller threw out a tweet asking all of NFL Twitter for their three favorite Broncos. I saw it Saturday and threw it out. Between Coller and my tweets, there were more than 350 replies.
I found the results both illuminating and interesting. So naturally, I thought I’d make a team of them.
HOT ROUTEZ question for the day: Give me your 3 favorite Denver Broncos ever— Matthew Coller (@MatthewColler) June 14, 2019
Jake “The Snake” Plummer
Bradlee Van Pelt
I’ll admit I did not expect so many names at QB, which is probably a pretty decent oversight on my part. For my own top three, I picked Peyton Manning, but Jake Plummer was a hard name to omit. I got some grief because I didn’t include John Elway, which I can explain. I became a true fan in 2003, and while I’ve spent a good bit of time watching Elway’s own tape, I didn’t consider any player I didn’t watch during their career in orange & blue.
I can’t there are so many and the ones that tried so hard to bring a Super Bowl Win and they finally did!!!❤️ I go back as far as Craig Morton , Red Miller so list starts from there. Love My Broncos Die Hard!!!!— ruthbellis (@ruthbellis1) June 15, 2019
Mike “the Marine” Anderson
As one of the most identifiable players on any team, it should come as no surprise backs got so much love. The sheer number of names here gives you both an idea of how many successful backs the team has had over the years and how vast Broncos Country truly spans.
Like running back, the sheer variety here intrigued me. The Broncos have been pretty awesome at receiver over the years, what with the 3 Amigos followed by Rod and Eddie Mac. DT’s place here reminds me how painful it was to watch Thomas get traded midseason last year, and how weird it will be to see him catch passes from Tom Brady this fall.
Top 2 are fairly easy for me— Justin Yates (@ytsjustin) June 15, 2019
Rod Smith and John Elway but the 3rd!? Steve Atwater, Terrell Davis, Von Miller, Shannon Sharpe, Champ Bailey. So many great Broncos...
The most anonymous position on the team, I’ll admit I had to look up Danenhauer as I’d never heard of him. I best remember Eslinger for turning my starting center job over to him in an older Madden game.
Randy Gradishar. Tom Jackson. Eldon Danenhauer— Geoff Danenhauer (@bucsrule4) June 15, 2019
Defensive Line / Linebacker
Rich “Tombstone” Jackson
Because of the edge rusher designation that has taken hold in this era, I thought it best to blend these two positions.
Jackson was one of the original Ring of Famers and it’s a shame his career statistics are a bit clouded by history. Sports Illustrated’s Gary Zimmerman called Tombstone Jackson “perhaps the finest overall defensive end and pass rusher” he ever saw. No small praise.
One omission that really surprised me if only because he was #4 on my list was Elvis Dumervil. 2006 was probably the first year I really obsessed over the NFL draft and I thought “Doom” would be a 4th round steal after notching 20 sacks, 22 tackles for a loss and 10 forced fumbles (that last stat remains the best single season mark in NCAA history). Of course, he was mostly remember coming out because Marcus Vick stomped on him in the 2006 Gator Bowl. He was also dismissed because of his 5’11 height. It didn’t take him long to silence the doubters with 8.5 sacks and 3 fumble recoveries as a rookie. While his Broncos career ended in a Fax gaffe that’s still odd with hindsight, I’ll best remember him for his 63.5 sacks and 16 forced fumbles.
Gradishar was Urlacher before Urlacher....equally cool football name!— Eric Nelson (@realEricNelson) June 14, 2019
Another name I had trouble leaving off my own list was Champ Bailey. I still think he got robbed of Defensive Player of the Year in 2006 by Jason Taylor. Champ finished the year with 10 picks, which remains tied for the highest total in NFL history since 1981.
Champ Bailey, DeMarcus Ware, Pat Bowlen (if Owners don't count -> Peyton Manning)— Felix (@BaerliLover) June 15, 2019
Did you know Jason Elam has written four books?
And now for my top three:
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Since Bowlen purchased the team in 1984, the Broncos have had as many Super Bowl appearances as losing seasons (7) and Bowlen became the first owner in league history to reach 300 wins in his first 30 seasons.
I’m left with this question: Why isn’t he enshrined already?
So why did his acknowledgement lag behind Bobby Beathard and Jerry Jones? Did Jerry have 30 years of unparalleled success with Dallas? Did Beathard father multiple billion-dollar NFL institutions? Compare their resumes to Pat Bowlen and tell me how they deserved their moment more than a dying man who did so much more for the league then they ever did.
In 1984, Pat Bowlen and his siblings bought the Denver franchise and would lead the Broncos to become one of the winningest teams in NFL history. Under Bowlen, the Broncos won three Super Bowls and seven AFC championships. They produced Hall of Fame players like Champ Bailey, Gary Zimmerman and Terrell Davis. Below is a team fielded of notable Broncos who played or coached during the Pat Bowlen era (since 1984).
Take a look back at some of the greatest moments in Broncos history under Owner Pat Bowlen.
“He was a tremendous mentor to me and a tremendous friend. Pat was a great listener, always asking what was going on, and I learned so much from watching him. He was a terrific leader. Whether things were going right or things weren’t going right, he would always let you know what we needed to get better. He did a great job of applying pressure at the right times but always trusted his football people to make the right decisions. Other than his family, nothing meant more to Pat than making sure the Denver Broncos were successful. What he did for this team, this city and the entire NFL will never be matched. His shoes will never be filled. I will miss Pat greatly and will always treasure the times we had together. We’ll continue to take care of his team as if he were here today. My deepest sympathies are with Annabel and the entire Bowlen family.”
”It was an honor to play for Mr. Bowlen’s organization, as I’ve said numerous times. I always had great respect for the Denver Broncos during my time playing for the Colts competing against his organization. So much of that credit goes to Pat Bowlen and his desire to be the best and to win. That had a lot to do with me signing with the Denver Broncos -- that I knew Mr. Bowlen was all about winning and I knew the people that he had hired would carry on that tradition and legacy. It was a great decision to come play here -- we still live here today. I’m grateful for Mr. Bowlen and the legacy that he’s established with the Broncos, in the NFL and certainly in this Denver community. He will be missed by many. It was an honor to know Mr. Bowlen and a real pleasure to have played for his team -- the Denver Broncos.”
But Brittany Bowlen’s focus on and drive towards filling her father’s shoes, eventually, has at least created the perception that this is more “when” than “if”. And whenever it does happen, she’ll have some big shoes to fill.
The second-year player has the potential to make a huge impact in Vic Fangio’s defense this season.
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If Miller was just a speed guy, his effectiveness would start to wane at this point in his career. It’s a testament to his complete skill set that he’s just as good as he’s ever been.
It’s all projection ‘til someone gets hurt. Or benched.
If you’re looking for a quick intro into PFF’s biggest stories of the offseason, PFT has you covered. Coverage is more important than Pass Rush, Passer Rating from a clean pocket > under pressure, Pressure > sacks. It’s all here.
Just utilized @WhatsOnDraftNFL new database to calculate WR Speed Scores. One player stood out to me.— Connor Allen (@ConnorAllenNFL) June 16, 2019
TCU WR Jalen Reagor ran a 4.41s 40 out of high school and a 4.32 this spring.
4.32 at his weight is a 111.9 speed score, better than under 6’ WRs OBJ TY Hilton & Tyreek Hill. https://t.co/zupZT73eO7
Is it time to cancel fun, or time to admit that these practices aren’t as crucial as they’re made out to be?
My opinion: it isn’t either/or: building chemistry is an important part of team building and does not always involve strictly football.
”Playing nickel corner takes special skills,” a former NFL defensive coordinator recently told me. “You need the quickness and agility to handle shifty slot receivers while working through all kinds of traffic over the middle of the field. You also need to be tough enough to handle the run support duties when teams attempt to run the ball against a light box. ... Some scouts view it as a ‘throwaway’ position or a stash spot for little guys, but most defensive coaches will tell you the nickel corner should be the most complete defensive back on the team.”
Pass rush or coverage? A defensive tactic popularized by LSU, which could be making its way to the NFL, gives defenses the both.
Replacement pressure.— Kyle Cogan (@CoachCogan) June 16, 2019
Not showing pressure/blitz and then rushing a 2nd or 3rd level defender (still just a 4 man rush overall) while dropping a 1st level defender back into the coverage.
Not an Aranda guy but believe he calls these 'Creepers' pic.twitter.com/7z5aFbOPlw
Interviews with more than 40 senior AAF executives, lawyers, consultants, team presidents, coaches, players and other sources show the league began imploding even before the first game kicked off.
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With the departure of wide receiver Tyrell Williams, Los Angeles wideout Mike Williams is poised and in place to take a huge step forward in the Chargers’ offensive plans.
“Yeah, because last year there were games when I wasn’t in command,” Jackson said. “I’d come in last year kind of nervous, because there are grown men looking at you, depending on you to help them feed their family.
Why did the Texans interview Ray Farmer and Martin Mayhew?