If you ask Broncos Country, it took a year longer than it should have for DeMarcus Ware to get his Hall of Fame gold jacket, but you won’t hear any complaints from the former Broncos and Cowboys edge rusher who put on that jacket last night.
“Oh, it’s real now,” Ware told DenverBroncos.com’s Phil Milani after the ceremony. “Don’t you see it? Oh, it’s real.”
Ware was passed over in 2022, his first year of eligibility, but was a slam dunk the second time around, having earned Hall of Fame numbers with two different teams.
“It feels so good man, just going on stage and finally getting the jacket,” Ware told Milani. “And you know what? I’m in the house now. I’m in that fraternity. Just seeing a lot of Denver guys, a lot of Dallas guys, there’s no words that I can [use to] describe the feeling — to say, ‘You know what, you etched your name in stone in the NFL’s history.’”
In his nine seasons with the Cowboys, Ware racked up 117 sacks and was viewed as one of the league’s best pass rushers of his generation.
But being cast aside by the Cowboys to free agency in 2014 led to Ware’s greatest football achievement - a Super Bowl ring.
In a defensive free agency coup by John Elway, Ware and a cast of defensive stars like TJ Ward and Aqib Talib joined Von Miller in making the Broncos’ defense unstoppable. That entire 2015 defense, led by Ware and Miller and the No Fly Zone, terrorized the league all season long, combining with the genius of Peyton Manning to ultimately bring home the Lombardi.
During the AFC Championship game, Ware hit Tom Brady seven times in the AFC Championship Game, and then as he was about to hit him again before hurrying Brady’s game-tying, two-point conversion attempt, Ware deflected the pass and intercepted it with 12 seconds left, saving the Broncos’ 20-18 win.
In the Super Bowl, although Miller’s strip sacks stole the show, Ware logged four QB hits and two sacks on Cam Newton in the Broncos’ 24-10 victory.
“His run at the end of ’15 was ridiculous,’’ former inside linebacker Brandon Marshall told Mike Klis back in February when Ware was announced as an inductee. “He helped power us through those playoffs. Our defense set the tone for our team, and the pressure he put on the quarterback made it easier on our DBs, easier for me to cover the running backs and tight ends.’’
As part of his rite of passage into the Hall of Fame, Ware joined other inductees to walk “The Gauntlet,” a path lined with previous gold jacket winners.
During his walk, Ware saw Manning, his fellow co-captain on that Super Bowl 50 winning team. The two embraced like they just won another Super Bowl.
“I gave Peyton a huge hug,” he said. “Because I knew what it took to win Super Bowl 50 and just our leadership together to bring home the Super Bowl to Denver. And now to be able to see all these guys come to the enshrinement and the party and just exchange old stories, that’s a lifetime of memories that I’m going to be able to have forever.”
Welcome to Canton, D-Ware!