Following the passing of legendary NFL coach Dan Reeves, who led the Broncos to three Super Bowl appearances during his 12-year tenure with the team, many luminaries from around the league are making the case for Reeves' induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Reeves' career spanned nearly 40 years and included nine Super Bowl appearances as a player and a coach, which ranks third in league history. He was also a two-time winner of the Associated Press' NFL Coach of the Year honors and is one of just three coaches to win a playoff game with three different franchises.
"Reeves deserves a bust in Canton," NBC Sports' Peter King wrote. "He should be enshrined for Contributions to Pro Football. A man who was the biggest offensive weapon on the first great Dallas team, who threw a touchdown pass in the Ice Bowl, who was a gritty piece of the Cowboys at the birth of America's team, who was a key offensive assistant on seven Dallas teams in the seventies, who coached the Broncos to three AFC titles in four seasons, who won Coach of the Year with three different franchises, who won more games than all but eight coaches in NFL history."
Between his contributions as a player and his legacy as a coach, there is no question that Reeves' impact on the NFL has been enormous.
"That's a Hall of Fame résumé," King wrote.
Reeves' time spent in Denver ranks highly among his mightiest accomplishments in the NFL . At his first head-coaching post in the NFL, Reeves led the Broncos to new heights in the 1980s, guiding the team to five division titles and three Super Bowl appearances in four years (1986-89).
"It's fair to say a major reason Denver became a flagship franchise in the NFL was Reeves' stern leadership," King wrote. "He won 117 games in 12 Denver head-coaching seasons."
John Elway, the Broncos' quarterback for much of Reeves' time in Denver, released a statement following his former head coach's passing, and in it, he also voiced his support for Reeves' induction into the Hall of Fame, citing his impact as a coach and a player.
"When you look at all Dan did in this league with all the success, all the Super Bowls and all the wins, I don't think there is any question he belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame," Elway said. "What he's been able to do — taking two different teams to four Super Bowls and going to nine Super Bowls overall — is incredible. That speaks for just how far-reaching his impact was throughout this league not only as a coach but also what he did as a player."
Fellow Broncos Ring of Fame head coach Mike Shanahan also issued a statement following Reeves' passing, echoing the sentiment that Reeves should have a spot in the Hall of Fame one day.
"Dan's three Super Bowls in four years set a standard and culture in Denver that anything less was unacceptable," Shanahan wrote. "Dan leaves a lasting legacy as both a person and coach. … I'm looking forward to the day that Dan Reeves is inducted into the Hall of Fame."
Below the Fold
Cornerback Pat Surtain II continued his stellar rookie campaign in Week 17 during Denver's loss to the Chargers.
The first-year defensive back was tasked with containing Chargers receiver Keenan Allen, and Surtain once again held up his end of the bargain, holding Allen to minimal damage during the matchup.
Surtain racked up six tackles and two passes defensed during the game. He now leads the Broncos with 14 passes defensed this season, and is tied for 11th in the NFL. He earned a 69.7 overall grade from Pro Football Focus for his performance.
"Patrick Surtain II going up against Keenan Allen was a fun battle in this game," PFF's Sam Monson wrote. "Overall, Surtain was the most tested player in the Denver secondary, seeing nine targets sent his way. He allowed just five catches for 40 yards, three of which were first downs. He forced two incompletions and held up well against one of the game's best route-runners."