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Broncos Have Unique Presence in College Football Hall of Fame

In my last blog, when I was talking about our first radio color man, Jerry Groom, I mentioned that Groom is in the College Football Hall of Fame. 

I am a member of the board of Directors of the Colorado Chapter of the College Football Hall of Fame (CFHoF), and it is a great organization.  The annual banquet is in New York at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, and it really is a who's who of college coaches and athletic directors, then and now.

My own mention of Groom got me to thinking. 

The Denver Broncos have great representation in the CFHoF, and I thought some of you might be interested in seeing the complete list, with a comment or two here and there.

Alphabetically, inductees in the College Football Hall Of Fame with a connection to the Denver Broncos are as follows:

Bobby Anderson, inducted in 2006.  The brother of Dick Anderson, also an inductee, Bobby is one of the great football players ever produced in the state of Colorado and will be the topic of a future blog devoted exclusively to him  Bobby Anderson was an All-American at the University of Colorado, and he is on the all time All-Class team as well.  More another day.

Otis Armstrong, inducted in 2012.  Like Bobby, Otis was a number one draft choice of the Broncos, and Armstrong twice led the National Football League in rushing.  Broncos Had Coach John Ralston once called Armstrong "the best draw play runner in pro football."  Powerful thighs, strong and fast, he was on the 1977 Super Bowl team.

Tony Dorsett, inducted in 1997.  A Heisman Trophy winner at Pittsburgh and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, mostly for his play with Dallas, Tony had 825 yards in 1988 for Denver and was on the Broncos' 1989 Super Bowl team.

Joe Dudek, inducted in 1997.  Dudek led the world in rushing at tiny Plymouth State in Massachusetts, and was a replacement player for the Broncos in 1987.  He had a 100-yard game in a big Monday night win over the Raiders.

John Elway, inducted in 2000.  Arguably the greatest quarterback of all time.  Certainly on the list you can count on your thumbs and big toes.  Max number of digits needed for his list.

Randy Gradishar, inducted in 1998.  Gradishar had 2,000 tackles as a pro, by officials coaches' count, not press box.  I don't care what sportswriters say.  Those stats are legit.

Ricky Hunley, inducted in 1997.  A linebacker on Broncos Super Bowl teams in the 1980's, he was a great college player at Arizona.

Floyd Little, inducted in 1983.  The Franchise.  The first consensus three-time All-American running back (freshmen could not play on the varsity then) since Doak Walker.  You had to see him carry the team.

Bud McFadin, inducted in 1983.  The Broncos' first big-time defensive lineman, McFadin was the pride of Texas as one of the great defenders in Longhorns history.  A man's man in the early years for Denver, AFL all-star.

Craig Morton, inducted in 1992.  The front end of The M & M Connection, he quarterbacked the Broncos to the first Super Bowl in 1977. Great player at Cal.

Rod Smith, inducted in 2009.  Still the all-time leader in pro football history among undrafted free agents, he went into this hall of fame for his sterling career at Missouri Southern.  A two-time world champion and without question one of Denver's leaders.

Alfred Williams, inducted in 2010.  Alfred is the only one who can claim the two world championship rings and a college national championship ring as well, all earned in Colorado.  His play as a Buff earned him Hall status.

Other inductees with Bronco connections, but not as players, are as follows.

John Hadl, inducted in 1994.  A great quarterback at Kansas and for the San Diego Chargers, he was John Elway's first offensive coordinator when Hadl had that role with the Broncos coaching staff.

Stan Jones, inducted in 2000.  A longtime assistant coach for the Broncos, Stan was one of the game's great linemen at Maryland (this Hall of Fame) and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame for his magnificent career with the Chicago Bears.  One of the game's great interior linemen, all time.

Babe Parilli, inducted in 1982.  "The Sweet Kentucky Babe."  That nickname tells you his college.  Babe still live in the Denver area, was on the Broncos' coaching staff for Super Bowl XII and when I joined the team a year later.  He was one of those quarterbacks who never lost a game, he just ran out of time once in a while.

Not a coach, but….

Doak Walker, inducted in 1959.  He was a special assignments coach for the Broncos in 1966.  The Doak Walker Award is named for him, and he is a separate blog if there is ever such a thing.  That will follow.  Walker was a three-time consensus All-American at Southern Methodist, and was the best player in the country as a halfback.  The second-best player in the country was Doak Walker on defense and special teams.   I knew Doak Walker, proud to say.

Jerry Groom, inducted in 1994.  A great lineman/linebacker at Notre Dame, Jerry was the Broncos' first color man on the radio team for the games in 1960.

Larry Zimmer, inducted into the broadcasters wing.  Larry went in for his long career broadcasting University of Colorado football, and University of Michigan before that, but he also did 25 years in the Broncos broadcast booth, handling both play-by-play and color.

Not in yet, but…….

The Campbell Trophy is often called the Academic Heisman and is given by the College Football Hall of Fame to the nation's outstanding scholar-athlete each year.  The Broncos have been represented by Peyton Manning, the 1997 winner, University of Tennessee, and by Tim Tebow, 2009, University of Florida.

Every time we take a look back at history, we are looking at the present, but through the eyes of those to follow.

Never forget, and thanks for reading.

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