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Published on 08/05/2007 at Sun Aug 05 11:48.
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The 45th Class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame was inducted this weekend, and for the 44th time, the Denver Broncos were not represented in the hallowed hall (and no, I’m not counting Tony Dorsett or Willie Brown). Among the teams that entered the league before 1995, only the Atlanta Falcons, the historically weakest team in the NFL for years, has less busts in Canton than the Broncos. The Arizona Cardinals are the oldest franchise in the National Football League; they’ve won one playoff game in the Super Bowl Era; they inducted their 11th member this weekend.

The Broncos have made 17 playoff appearances. They’ve won 6 AFC Championships. They’ve won two Super Bowls. They’ve won over 300 games. There are many other teams with similar historical regular season winning records (the Chiefs and Vikings, for example). Most of these teams have 7 or more members in the Hall. The Broncos have one.

Why, for years, have the Broncos been overlooked in the Hall of Fame voting process?

The injustice goes beyond the winning record. When you consider the Broncos have one of the most successful postseason success rates in the League – 35.3% of all playoff appearances are converted to Super Bowl berths – the Broncos should in fact have MORE Hall of Famers than many other teams across the NFL.

While I don’t have an answer for the past, I plan on doing everything I can to ensure the mistakes don’t continue into the future. I present to you five names of Denver Broncos, all currently eligible, who ABSOLUTELY belong in the Hall of Fame. Over the next week or so, I will post on the career of each one, giving each the time and focus he deserves. I’ll tell you why he should get in, why he hasn’t yet, then present names of others who are currently enshrined whose careers compare to the player in question.

The Five (in chronological order):
1. Floyd Little
2. Randy Gradishar
3. Gary Zimmerman*
4. Steve Atwater
5. Terrell Davis

*Zimmerman has since been elected into the Hall of Fame, joining the Class of 2008. Full Story.

These aren’t guys who are “on the bubble” – based on their career accomplishments, their influence on the league, their regular season and postseason successes, and in comparison to those already enshrined, these players no doubt belong in Canton. I’ll go into much more depth and detail on each and every one of these players in the days to come. My goal: not another year should come without one of these Broncos being immortalized in Canton, Ohio, until all 5 are in.