When you talk about the all time greatest Denver Broncos the name John Elway is a given. But there are a handful of forgotten Broncos' greats that really deserve mention and Hall of Fame mention. Players that were much more than support players during the Broncos run of Super Bowl Appearances in the 1980's and 1990's.
Some players you have definitely heard of like Terrell Davis, Rod Smith, and Shannon Sharpe. But what about Karl Mecklenburg, Randy Gradishar, Tom Jackson, Dennis Smith, and Steve Atwater? These players anchored the Broncos in key positions and were always under rated because of Denver's other big name, big play celebrities.
But after The Drive, and numerous Super Bowls only two Denver Broncos are in the Hall of Fame. Here are Five Legends of the Game who deserve mention.
The Denver Broncos could have ended being the Los Angeles Broncos for all we know. Badly in need of repairs to Mile High Stadium and not having a winning franchise the Broncos needed a savior. And along came The Franchise. He played for the Broncos from 1967-1975. Little led the NFL in rushing for the six-year period from 1968–73. He retired as the 7th leading rusher in NFL history with 6,323 yards rushing and 54 touchdowns.Many of his rushing records still stand in the Mile High City. He was also the first Bronco to have his number retired. The legendary #44. Can you name another running back in modern history who led the league in rush for more than 5 years in a row. Yep, didn't think so.
As a child growing up I learned to respect Dan Reeves. I liked him. I liked his Texas swagger. He coached the Denver Broncos to 3 Super Bowls and even though all of them came up losses Dan Reeves built the Denver Bronco franchise into a blockbuster, BIG CITY franchise that it is today.
Dan Reeves record is amazing he guided the Broncos to six post-season appearances, five divisional titles, three AFC championships and three Super Bowl appearances. Dan Reeves is the only AFC coach in the decade of the 1980s to lead his team to consecutive Super Bowl berths.
Dan Reeves is the second most deserving man who deserves to go into the Hall of Fame as a Denver Bronco.
Terrell Davis were the Broncos legs in a time they needed them the most. Terrell Davis was John Elway's wingman in a time the Broncos were badly trying to win a Super Bowl for the man who brought so much to the entire city.
He was a Super Bowl MVP, a member of 1990's All-Decade team, and one of only five backs with a 2,000 yard rushing season.
Terrell Davis was the catalyst that led the Broncos to two Super Bowls when John Elway's arm just wasn't enough to take us there.
Steve Atwater was the QB of the Broncos' Defense throughout the Elway Years.
"One of the hardest hitters in the history of football, Steve Atwater played safety and won back-to-back Super Bowls.He is a member of the 1990's all-decade team and an eight-time Pro Bowler."
If any Broncos' defender deserves in the Hall of Fame it's Steve Atwater.
His time will come. With an impeccable knack for winning Mike Shanahan won two Super Bowls with John Elway, Terrell Davis, and Steve Atwater & Company.
His record is 146-98 during his career in Denver and Oakland. His post-season winning percentage is .615.
After the Elway era Shanahan had a hard time winning in the Playoffs but did not have a problem developing great offenses and racking up a massive pile of yards, and taking lots of time off the clock. His dynasty is linked to John Elway however but he too deserves to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.