ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Otis Armstrong’s shifty running was a staple of Broncos football throughout much of the 1970s, and now the former Denver running back will be enshrined in the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.
Armstrong – who played all eight of his NFL seasons with the Broncos, rushing for 4,453 yards and helping Denver reach its first Super Bowl in 1977 – will join recently retired Rockies first basemen Todd Helton, Forrest B. “Frosty” Cox, Andy Gambucci, Darian Hagan and Dorthy Mauk as the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2014.
A multi-purpose threat who also had 1,302 receiving yards and scored 32 career touchdowns – 25 rushing and seven receiving – Armstrong was a leading force of the Broncos’ running attack between 1973 and 1980, including an NFL-best 1,407 rushing yards in 1974. He ranks fourth all-time in rushing yards in Broncos history.
That 1974 season remains among the most prolific single-season efforts by anyone to don a Broncos jersey. Armstrong’s 1,407 rushing yards were a franchise record for over 20 years until Terrell Davis rushed for 1,538 yards in 1996. His 2,198 combined yards – he also totaled 405 receiving yards and 386 return yards – rank second only to Davis’ 2,225 yards in 1998.
His performance in a 35-35 tie with the Steelers on Sept. 22, 1974 also ranks among the greatest single-game showings in Broncos history. Armstrong rushed for 131 yards, had 86 receiving yards and added 72 yards in returns, good for a total of 289 combined yards – the fourth-best mark ever for a Bronco.
He led the Broncos in rushing four times in his career (1974, 1976, 1977 and 1979) and his 39 receptions in 1976 also led the team.
Armstrong led all Broncos with 489 rushing yards in their 1977 Super Bowl campaign – and he scored a touchdown in the Broncos’ 34-21 win over the Steelers in the 1977 Divisional Round Playoff game. Armstrong’s 18-yard run in the Broncos’ 27-10 loss to the Cowboys in Super Bowl XII was team’s longest effort of the afternoon.
Armstrong was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2012. His 3,315 rushing yards still rank second all-time in Purdue history. He was named the Big Ten’s Most Valuable Player in 1972 after leading the conference in rushing and total offense, and he twice was honored as a consensus All-American in his collegiate career.
The Class of 2014 will be enshrined at the 50th annual induction banquet, which is scheduled for April 17, 2014, at the Denver Marriot City Center.