Sunday, August 3, 2008

Gary Zimmerman's in the Hall of Fame, more Broncos to follow?

Today Denver Broncos left tackle Gary Zimmerman was inducted into the Hall of Fame by none other than Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen.

To make it here today, with some of the best whoever played the game in the gallery, I am more humbled and blessed than I’ve ever been in my life,” Zimmerman told the crowd. “…I stand before you today a proud and gracious man.
The man, who at one point adopted former offensive line coach Alex Gibb's code of silence, said that he'd worked weeks on his speech. He even called upon the Dalai Lama at one point quoting, “Not getting what you want is sometimes a magical stroke of luck.” Zimmerman was referring to what his college coach had said when he switched him, without consultation from middle linebacker to offensive linemen his freshman year.

An additional note, more of humor than anything is that Pat Bowlen during his introduction to Gary Zimmerman stated that, Zimmerman was, “the John Elway of the offensive line and the second-best player to play for me.”

Bowlen said literally the same thing of Rod Smith just last week, upon the announcement of Rod Smith retiring.

So let's talk about it, because it's here... Rod Smith has retired, the one thing that will insure that he sees a place in Canton is if the media continues to reinforce the fact that he does in fact deserve to be there. Why then is The Denver Post's Mike Klis telling fans to get real? It is time to get real Denver Bronco fans, we have at least five other players who deserve a spot in Canton who have been qualified for years!

The list goes a bit like this (and I'm sure that I'll miss someone): running back Floyd Little, linebacker Randy Gradishar, linebacker Tom Jackson, linebacker Karl Mecklenburg and safety Steve Atwater.

I have another personal favorite that I would include as well, safety Dennis Smith. However, it's not about what I believe, it's about who deserves to be there. From the above list, only Randy Gradishar has even a shot, but most likely last year was his last opportunity. Steve Atwater may get an opportunity as well soon, Atwater was literally the definition of football- old school, he was a throwback to the 1970's the way he used to sledge hammer a ball carrier.

This year will be the first year that former Denver Broncos tight end Shannon Sharpe is up for induction this year, and running back Terrell Davis will once again be on the minds of voters. There are great arguments to be made for Terrell Davis: two Super Bowl wins, 2,000 yard season (which only five players have done ever, three are in the Hall of Fame, one is still active), Super Bowl MVP, 8,000 yards in seven seasons, 100 yards in every playoff game (10) et cetera. However, given that he didn't play twelve years in the NFL, he may not get in. Which would be a shame. Shannon Sharpe is a shoo in though (maybe eventually). Both Sharpe and Davis have the opportunity to keep their names and faces fresh in the minds of voters, because of their current jobs. Though that never helped Tom Jackson.

Rod Smith will be up eligible in 2013, the only thing that will really keep him worthy is fans consistently calling for his enshrinement over the next five years. John Lynch will most definitely get in, however, I don't see him entering as a Bronco. Unless he chooses to make Denver his permanent home, which he has suggested.

On the current roster, Champ Bailey is a first ballot guy and Tom Nalen should be as well. To stretch that list just a little bit farther coach Mike Shanahan will most definitely get in when he chooses to retire. There's two pieces of good news in those last few paragraphs, those being; Over the next ten-fifteen years the number of Denver Broncos enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame will escalate from two to a definite six and a possible nine. You've just got to stay one them and keep cheering Denver.

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