It used to be insulting with how few Denver Broncos were represented in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but that insult is slowly turning into respect as more reach that pinnacle.
The number of true Denver Broncos in the Hall of Fame has grown by two this year with the total number of Broncos in the Hall doubling in just the last three years.
The franchise went 44 years before seeing its first Bronco into the Hall of Fame with John Elway and from there we all expected the floodgates to open, but that wasn’t to be. They trickled in little by little at first. Then once Terrell Davis got in the floodgates actually did open up for Denver.
Denver Broncos in the Hall of Fame
- John Elway (2004)
- Gary Zimmerman (2008)
- Floyd Little (2010)
- Shannon Sharpe (2011)
- Terrell Davis (2017)
- Champ Bailey (2019)
- Pat Bowlen (2019)
- Steve Atwater (2020)
- Peyton Manning (incoming 2021)
- John Lynch (incoming 2021)
We can argue whether or not Lynch was a “true” Bronco, but he served four seasons and played at a very high level. His career arc ended much like Peyton Manning’s, except that he fell short of that championship here in Denver.
I think with more free agent era players becoming eligible we’ll need to adjust what exactly that expectation of “true” is when it comes to Broncos players in the Hall of Fame. There are others from the pre-free agent era that I don’t think anyone would disagree on about which team they represent with that gold jacket.
Lynch and Manning both played here just four years, but they made huge impacts on the team and were major parts of putting their respective teams into contention when they played here. I’m okay with sharing their team designation whether it be Buccaneers/Broncos or Colts/Broncos. I’m proud they were a part of the winning tradition here in Denver.
Oh, and it sure is nice to see that list grow longer with each year.