When you mention the Denver Broncos and Pro Football Hall of Fame, Randy Gradishar is often what comes next. And not in a good way.
For Broncos Country, Gradishar’s continued oversight is the most egregious. How one of the best middle linebackers and leader of one of the greatest defense’s in NFL history isn’t in the Hall of Fame is a shame and sham.
It’s not for a lack of effort. Search through MHR over the years and you will see countless stories and Fan Posts. Here’s my effort to get Gradishar his rightful induction.
Don’t look now, but that might be about to change.
In an interview with SiriusXM, Hall of Fame president and CEO David Baker said the 2020 class is tentatively set for 20 members — five modern-era, 10 seniors, three contributors and two coaches. One would think that opens the door to right this wrong and get Gradishar inducted.
As Adam Malnati and I said on the MHR Radio Podcast (ApplePodcasts, Spotify and Stitcher), Broncos Country knows not to get its hopes up when it comes to the Broncos and Hall of Fame. We’ve been down this road far too often to get burned when it’s a perceived lock. But this a definite positive in the fight to get Gradishar inducted in the Hall of Fame.
The news of a tentative 20-member class for 2020 could (finally) get the #Broncos great in the HOF.— Ian St. Clair (@IanStClair) July 3, 2019
On the @MileHighReport Radio Podcast, @AdamMalnati16 & I also discuss the #Broncos100 & what we want to see early training camp. @ApplePodcasts: https://t.co/2I1WZMdcrU
The same needs to happen for former cornerback Louis Wright, but it’s hard to fathom two Broncos in a class of 10 seniors. But what it does does do is increase the likelihood Wright gets inducted in the future since a portion of the backlog will get smaller. As well as former Broncos linebacker Karl Mecklenburg, who is now on the seniors’ list. As I told Adam on the podcast, the tentative move to 10 seniors loosens the backlog by five years. So this will help guys like Wright and Mecklenburg whom might never get a sniff without this boost in the 2020 class.
If Gradishar gets his due, he could be joined by another Denver legend, safety Steve Atwater. The tide is in favor of the Smilin’ Assassin’ right now and it seems like it’s a matter of time ... perhaps in 2020. When you add Champ Bailey, that’s potentially three Broncos defenders in the Hall of Fame, with Bailey somehow being the first.
The move by Baker and the Hall of Fame to tentatively add 12 inductees to the class of 2020 is the right one, and I’m all for it. Broncos writer Andrew Mason has been calling for something like this for years. It’ll help lessen the backlog of players like Gradishar who should (already) be in the Canton, Ohio museum and (finally) get them in. It also increases the odds players like Wright and Mecklenburg get the knock on the door from Baker.
One of the greatest middle linebackers in NFL history could finally see the door open to his rightful place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. If and when Gradishar is inducted in 2020, it would (finally) right an egregious oversight.