Posted Tue May 29th by Tim Lynch
Once again we return to the early 1990’s for another huge moment in my adolescent fanhood of the Denver Broncos. This one came in the regular season and helped ensure I would idolize Steve Atwater for the rest of his career. Naturally, we are talking about Atwater blowing up Kansas City Chiefs fullback, Christian “The Nigerian Nightmare” Okoye.
The play put Atwater on the map, since it occurred on Monday Night Football and the entire nation was watching.
Situation: Monday Night Football, Week 2 of the 1990 season.
The Play: At the time, Okoye was one of the most feared fullbacks in the league with a reputation as being unstoppable. Steve Atwater stole Okoye’s man card and proceeded to charge it up for another 10 seasons.
Some of you may question why this play ranks so low on my list, but the fact is, this play did not achieve much in the grand scheme of things. The Broncos won the game, but would end up losing 11 that year. The play turned out to be the highlight of the entire season – that’s bad when its a play on first down in Week 2 of the season. However, the play was still a fantastic and memorable play and deserving of a Top 5 placement.
Aside from Randy Gradishar, Atwater is probably the biggest Denver Broncos defensive snub to the Hall of Fame. I do not see how he could have done much more to earn that recognition (other than playing for the Cowboys or Steelers…), but those of us who watched him know he was one of the top 2 dominating safeties of the game throughout the entire decade of the 1990’s.
The best quality video I could find on YouTube is at around the :50 second mark below: