There seems to be a trend out west in the National Football League: the snubbing of the smaller market teams. It took the greatness of John Elway, TD and back-to-back Super Bowl wins to get one of the orange and blue into the Hall of Fame.
Since then, some players have finally been honored for the work they put in. After Elway we got Floyd Little, and now the great Shannon Sharp will obtain immortality. Still, it is time to recognize another great that deserves to reside in those hallowed walls: Rich Jackson.
Jackson was an original AFL player for the silver and black in 1966 before becoming a member of the Broncos in 1967. After the merger he stayed with Denver until 1971 before finishing his career with Cleveland.
During his time with Denver, Jackson was selected as an All-Pro in 1969 and 1970. Although his career ended prematurely he still ended with 43 sacks, 31 of which he got between 1968 and 1970. He was also named 1st team All-AFL team in 1968, 1969 and 1970 by the Associated Press.
The Hall of Fame is reserved for those individuals that changed the game during the era in which they played. Jackson's "Head Slap" and "Halo Spinner" changed more than the game, but the men who played it. Ask former Green Bay Packer Bill Hayhoe. It was reported that Jackson once broke Hayhoe's helmet with one of his ferocious "Head Slaps."
Jackson was nominated to the inaugural class of Denver's "Ring of Fame" in 1984 alongside current Hall of Famer Floyd Little. In his book, "Mile High", the late, great Lyle Alzado called him the "toughest man he ever met."
The time is now for Jackson to join Little, Elway, and Sharpe riding into a sunset of orange and blue forever...