Skip to main content

Denver Broncos | News

Sacco Sez: Gradishar, Shanahan and Reeves await the call to the Hall


The current Pro Football Hall of Fame list of 54 semifinalists for the Seniors Committee and Coach/Contributors Committee includes three former Broncos: former linebacker Randy Gradishar, head coach Mike Shanahan and late head coach Dan Reeves.

On July 27, that list will be reduced to 12 in each category, and by all that is right and just, all three will advance.

Ultimately three veteran players will be chosen, along with one coach/contributor. Thus, two would be the maximum number of Broncos.

By my reasoning, it would be logical and correct for two Broncos to be selected.

Randy has qualifications that literally stand alone for players not yet selected.

The Defensive Player of the Year in 1978, Gradishar is the only linebacker in NFL history with 20 interceptions, 10 fumble recoveries and seven Pro Bowls that is not already in the Hall of Fame. Think of that. The others all went either on the first, second or third ballots.

Randy was a candidate for the Hall's Centennial Slate — a larger-than-normal class of seniors/coaches/contributors in honor of the NFL's 100th season — and since 12 of the 20 are in, and three veterans will go in this year, Randy's chances have never been better, in my opinion.

It is embarrassing to many that he has not yet been chosen. I know of a number of selectors who have always been in his corner, and I hope this is the year.

Shanahan had total 146 wins as the Broncos' head coach, and from 1995 through 2008 he presided over the greatest period of success in team history.

Of the coaches with back to back Super Bowl wins, only Mike and Bill Belichick are not in — and Bill is not yet eligible!

The Shanahan coaching tree includes son Kyle, Super Bowl champions Gary Kubiak and Sean McVay, new Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur, new Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett, and on and on.

His own West Coast offense, featuring his prominent zone-blocking scheme, is still prominent today.

And as for Dan Reeves, as player and coach, he went to nine Super Bowls. He was the only head coach in the AFC to lead his team to three Super Bowls in the 1980s.

Reeves led the Broncos to the playoffs six times, and after leaving Denver, he took the Atlanta Falcons to the Super Bowl as well.

Not only was he a tremendous running back for Dallas, but he had one of the most iconic plays in one of the most iconic games in NFL history.

The Ice Bowl, the 1967 NFL Championship Game, was ranked third in the NFL 100 Greatest Games feature. In that game, with conditions so cold that the ball could barely be gripped to pass, Reeves threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Lance Rentzel. It was a run-pass option on the first play of the fourth quarter in what was undoubtedly one of the toughest and pressure-packed games in NFL history.

Those three men are among the all-time greats of the game, true legends of our sport.

Late owner Pat Bowlen once said that the Hall of Fame "is the place that legends go."

It is only fitting that the class of 2023 includes representation from that group of legends.

Related Content