ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Two former Broncos are now just one step away from achieving football's highest individual honor, as Peyton Manning and John Lynch were named Modern-Era finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2021 on Tuesday.
According to the Hall of Fame, the Class of 2021 will be selected during the week of Super Bowl LV. Typically, the Modern-Era finalists are debated among the 48-person Selection Committee on the Saturday before the Super Bowl, with rounds of voting narrowing the list of 15 down to 10 and then to five, at which point the Committee members will take a final yes-or-no vote. To be elected, the finalists must receive at least 80 percent yes votes.
This is Manning's first year of eligibility for the Hall of Fame, and he will almost assuredly be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He would be the fifth former Bronco to be inducted in his first year of eligibility, following Champ Bailey (Class of 2019), John Elway (2004), Tony Dorsett (1994) and Willie Brown (1984).
During Manning's 18-year career, he helped revolutionize the game from the quarterback position as he tore up NFL record books with an aerial attack that few teams could stop. Before arriving in Denver in 2012, he made 11 Pro Bowls, was a five-time first-team All-Pro with four league MVP selections and won one Super Bowl with the Colts. His time in Indianapolis ended when they released him after he missed the 2011 season with a neck injury.
Manning picked up where he left off after the Broncos signed him as a free agent. In four years in Denver, he picked up three more Pro Bowl selections, two first-team All-Pro nods and another league MVP award. He also led the Broncos to two Super Bowl appearances, capping his career by helping lead the Broncos to a victory in Super Bowl 50.
With the Broncos, he set numerous league and franchise records, including the single-season marks in passing yards and passing touchdowns. Manning also retired as pro football's all-time leader in career touchdown passes, career passing yards and combined regular-season and postseason wins, though several of those career records have since been surpassed.
Flip back through photos of Peyton Manning's Broncos career, which culminated in a victory in Super Bowl 50.
For Lynch, reaching this stage is not new. This is the former safety's eighth time as a finalist.
A two-time first-team All-Pro and nine-time Pro Bowler, Lynch made the Pro Bowl in each of his four seasons in Denver. He is one of just two players in franchise history to achieve that feat.
As a player, few safeties were more feared than Lynch, who was unflinching in his willingness to sacrifice his body with crushing blows to halt would-be receivers or ballcarriers. From 2004-07, he patrolled the defensive backfield for the Broncos and helped the team rank in the top 10 in scoring defense in three of his four seasons in Denver.
Should Manning and/or Lynch be elected, it would be the fourth consecutive season that a former Broncos player has made it to the Hall of Fame, following Steve Atwater (2020), Bailey and Ty Law (2019), Brian Dawkins (2018) and Terrell Davis (2017). Late owner Pat Bowlen was also elected and enshrined in 2019.
Manning would be just the second former Broncos quarterback to be elected, following John Elway, while Lynch would be the third former Broncos safety, following Atwater and Dawkins.