ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Broncos greats Randy Gradishar, Mike Shanahan and Dan Reeves are one step closer to the hallowed grounds of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame's Seniors and Coach/Contributor committees announced Thursday that Gradishar was selected as one the 12 Senior Semifinalists for the Class of 2024, while Shanahan and Reeves are among the 12 Coach/Contributor Semifinalists for the Class of 2024.
They advanced from a previous group of 60 overall candidates (31 Seniors and 29 Coach/Contributors). On Aug. 15, the Coach/Contributor Committee will select one member of the 12 remaining Semifinalists for final consideration for the Class of 2024. On Aug. 22, the Seniors Committee will pick as many as three former players for final consideration.
Gradishar, a 1989 inductee into the Broncos' Ring of Fame, was a centerpiece player on Denver's famous "Orange Crush" defense, which led the team to the franchise's first Super Bowl appearance. A tackling machine, Gradishar was one of the most feared inside linebackers of his era and earned seven Pro Bowl selections, two first-team All-Pro nods and 1978 AP Defensive Player of the Year honors.
"I've known for years that Randy deserves to be in the Hall of Fame," retired longtime defensive coordinator Joe Collier said in 2021. "To me, he was one of the top linebackers in the history of the NFL, and I'm very sorry that he's not been able to get into the Hall of Fame by now. …
"He had the attributes that you need in a linebacker. He had the size. He was about 6-3 and 230. He had the speed. He was very intelligent. He led our defense in calls and all that stuff. And he was very durable. He didn't miss any games."
Shanahan, the winningest coach in Broncos history, led the team to its first two Super Bowl victories. Beyond establishing a winning culture, Shanahan also created a legacy of offensive innovation.
"It's unquestioned," NBC Sports' Peter King said in 2023. "The great thing about Mike is he left his footprints in the sands of the NFL. … I think his legacy is above reproach, and he's one of the great offensive minds in the game."
Shanahan is also one of just six coaches in NFL history to lead a team to back-to-back championships. Only Shanahan and Bill Belichick, who is still an active coach, have not been inducted into the Hall of Fame from that elite group.
Reeves also is one of the most successful figures in football history, as he participated in nine total Super Bowls across his playing and coaching careers.
With the Broncos, Reeves led the team to three Super Bowl appearances and five division titles. He racked up 110 regular-season wins and seven playoff victories, second only to Shanahan in those categories. After his tenure in Denver, Reeves was twice named AP NFL Coach of the Year, and he led the Falcons to a Super Bowl.
"Dan Reeves was one of the most competitive people I had ever been around," Shanahan said in 2022. "Dan's three Super Bowls in four years set a standard and culture in Denver that anything less was unacceptable. Dan leaves a lasting legacy as both a person and coach. Dan's family was always his highest priority, and he still managed to be one of the NFL's winningest coaches of all time with over 200 wins. I'm looking forward to the day that Dan Reeves is inducted into the Hall of Fame."