Just over a week ago, Broncos fans saw another of the franchise's former stars approach induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, as DeMarcus Ware was elected to the Class of 2023.
Attention now turns to Hall of Fame's summer enshrinement events, and then the question of who's next for the 2024 class. In Denver, the answer centers on a number of hopefuls outside of the Modern-Era classification. In the Senior section, the main Broncos candidate is Randy Gradishar, and in the Coach/Contributor category, there's legendary coaches Dan Reeves and Mike Shanahan, the two winningest coaches in franchise history.
Each of the three deserve recognition as all-time greats, and recently, former LA Times columnist T.J. Simers made the case for Reeves as an overdue enshrinee. Reeves marshaled the Broncos to new heights in the 1980s and early '90s as he led the team to three Super Bowl appearances and six playoff berths over 12 seasons. He later became a two-time AP NFL Coach of the Year winner with the Giants and Falcons, the latter of which he guided to a Super Bowl berth.
"I don't need the statistics, which are astounding, to tell me Reeves was truly special," Simers wrote. "Is there no room for the bust of a man who took four teams to the Super Bowl?"
Reeves, though, was more than just one of the league's most successful head coaches. He also was a talented player for the Cowboys and a great assistant coach; during his time in Dallas, he won two Super Bowls and appeared in three others.
"Reeves and Schottenheimer each won more than 200 games, demonstrating their greatness with longevity in a game with so many fickle owners and fan bases," Simers wrote. "Reeves participated in nine Super Bowls as a player or coach and how many Hall-of-Fame voters have the credentials to downgrade such a contribution?"
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NFL.com’s Eric Edholm has completed his reviews of AFC teams’ rookie classes, and he had some good things to say about the Broncos' young cornerback, Damarri Mathis. The former Pittsburgh started 11 games and recorded seven pass breakups.
"Damarri Mathis was a pleasant surprise, taking over the starting CB job for an injured Ronald Darby and putting his best foot forward," Edholm wrote. "Mathis and Pat Surtain II look like one of the stronger young CB duos in the conference."