ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Peyton Manning is one step closer to a gold jacket.
On Tuesday, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced the 25 Modern-Era semifinalists for the Class of 2021, and the Broncos have two former players included: Manning and former safety John Lynch.
Manning, who is in his first year of eligibility for induction, seems destined to join John Elway, Champ Bailey, Willie Brown and Tony Dorsett as former Broncos players who became first-ballot Hall of Famers.
His resume needs little review. Whoever presents his case before the Pro Football Hall of Fame's selectors could give a speech similar in length to the one Woody Paige made when he presented Elway in 2004: "Gentlemen, I give you John Elway."
Manning's reputation as a quarterback is that one of a top-echelon player. With an unmatched approach to the game in his meticulous preparation, vision and accuracy, Manning's play revolutionized the passing attack in the NFL.
In his 17 seasons, Manning was a five-time league MVP, a 14-year Pro Bowl selection, a seven-time first-team All-Pro as he racked up 71,940 passing yards, 539 touchdown passes and a 96.5 passer rating. When he retired, he was the NFL's all-time leader in passing yards and passing touchdowns.
His four years with the Broncos passed quickly, but his run was a memorable one, as he bounced back from a neck injury to earn MVP honors in 2013 and lead the team to two Super Bowls, winning one. His play also helped ensure the Broncos would finish with no fewer than 12 wins in any of his seasons in Denver.
Lynch, meanwhile, has been at this stage in the process before. This is his ninth time as a semifinalist, and he has previously moved on to become a finalist seven times.
Like Manning, Lynch arrived in Denver after more than a decade with a different team and revitalized his career with four years as a Bronco.
Lynch was a Pro Bowler in each of those seasons, as he brought his career total to nine Pro Bowls. He was also a two-time first-team All-Pro and a Super Bowl Champion with Tampa Bay during his 15-year career. Known for his hard-hitting style, Lynch helped shape a formidable secondary in Denver alongside Hall of Fame cornerback Champ Bailey. Lynch was inducted into the Broncos' Ring of Fame in 2016.
The next step for Manning and Lynch will come when the Hall of Fame's selection committee cuts this list of 25 semifinalists to 15 finalists in January. Assuming that the process remains the same as previous years, the committee will conduct a final vote for the Class of 2021 on the day before the Super Bowl.