Will Terrell Davis ever make it into the HOF? (UPI ts/David O'Connor)

The Case For TD


 By Chris Krier

When the NFL Hall of Fame released its list of 2011 finalists earlier this month, one name in particular was missing once again. For the fifth time, Terrell Davis failed to advance beyond the semi-finalist stage of Hall of Fame consideration. There are many deserving men who have yet to hear their name called for enshrinement, but the buzz around the league for the inclusion of Terrell Davis does not seem to be nearly loud enough.

The California native who became a Broncos legend in the late-1990’s accomplished just about everything an NFL player could hope for during his seven seasons, three of which were injury plagued after sustaining a serious knee injury during the 1999 campaign. Davis is one of only 7 running backs to win a Super Bowl MVP award, one of only 15 to win the Associated Press MVP award, and one of only 6 to rush for over 2000 yards in a single season. If you consider the rushing title Davis won in 1998, he is the only running back in the history of the NFL to attain all four honors.

The numbers accumulated by Davis over his first four seasons are simply staggering. He racked up 6,413 rushing yards and 61 total touchdowns over that stretch. It takes a Hall of Fame caliber back to truly dominate the league for any stretch of time, and for those four years, he was the best in football. They always say that players are defined during the playoffs. In the high pressure atmosphere of the postseason, Davis was even more impressive. He accounted for 1,140 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns in 8 career playoff games. That correlates to 2,280 yards over a 16 game season, all when the stakes were at their highest. He also holds the all-time record with seven straight 100-yard games in the playoffs during the Broncos back-to-back championship run.

The biggest criticism of Davis is that his career numbers don’t measure up because he didn’t play long enough. But where is it written that you must play 10 seasons or rush for 10,000 yards to become eligible for the hall of fame? By that logic, Ricky Watters and his 10,643 rushing yards should be getting his speech ready. Any player who plays long enough can post impressive lifetime numbers. Warrick Dunn, Edgerrin James, Fred Taylor, and Corey Dillon all rank in the top 20 in all-time rushing yards, yet no one seriously believes that any of these men should be considered for the Hall of Fame. Davis finished his career with 7,607 rushing yards, 1,280 receiving yards, and 65 total touchdowns. By comparison, current Hall of Famer Larry Csonka rushed for 8,081 yards and scored 68 total touchdowns, but that took him 11 seasons. Gale Sayers, a Hall of Fame running back who also had his career shortened due to an injury, finished with 4,956 rushing yards and 56 total touchdowns.

Davis was simply unlucky to have his career shortened by injury. It’s not his fault that an interception was thrown and his exceptional hustle put him in position to make the tackle heard around the Rockies. It was unfair to him and all of his fans, but it by no means diminishes the impact he made on the game.  The Hall of Fame is for great players who need to be discussed when providing a history of the game. The history of the NFL, and especially the history of the playoffs and the Super Bowl, simply cannot be told in its entirety without discussing Terrell Davis.

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Tags: Denver Broncos Nfl Hall Of Fame Terrell Davis

  • Nataeah Barron-Krier

    Wow this article makes me believe that Terrell Davis deserves to be in the Hall of Fame :)

    • Jay Percell

      Excellent case based off of solid points and sound logic. I agree wholeheartedly! TD should be in the Hall of Fame! No RB was better from 1996-1999. Well done. Let’s keep that TD for HoF chatter going long and loud!

  • Frank

    Nice article, it’s ridiculous that TD hasn’t been voted in yet… This piece says it all.

  • Greg Johnson

    I completely agree with you Chris that Davis should be in the Hall of fame. I think part of the problem is that Denver’s O-line was so incredible during those years. When backs like Mike Anderson and Olandis Gary can step in and put up huge (although not Davis size) numbers, people begin to question whether TD was as good as his numbers show. He inevitable be in the Hall of Very Good, when you consider Shannon Sharpe seems to be getting flak for being more of a WR than a TE, yet somehow Gates, and Gonzalez will roll in with no issue. Maybe there really is a Broncos conspiracy when it comes to the Hall. Keep up the good work my man. Look forward to your next article.

    • Christopher Krier

      Thanks for the post Greg. I agree that our O-line was awesome, plus we had Alex Gibbs leading the group. But most of the running backs in the hall all ran behind some great players as well, and in many cases, they ran behind one or two hall of famers.


    It’s really pathetic!! Ask Karl Mecklenburg and Shannon Sharpe

  • Christopher McLean

    In my opinion statistics are the least important indicator of a Hall of Fame player. When you are selecting players for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, there is only one question you have to ask. Can the history of the NFL be written without this player? In TD’s case it is a resounding NO. What he did on the field in the short period of time he played is simply amazing, but what should cary even more weight is what he meant to the Denver Broncos and the NFL over that stretch. Terrell Davis is an integral part of NFL history and without a doubt should be in the Hall of Fame.

  • http://predominantlyorange.com Matty P

    Amen to that! Let us not forget that in 1998, TD’s 2000 yd season would have been even better if he was on the field for all 4 quarters of every game. The Broncos blew teams out so badly that TD sat for a total of two games worth of time. That is how dominant he was.

    In my mind, there are no less than 4 Broncos getting the HOF shaft: TD, Shannon Sharpe, Karl Mecklenberg, and Randy Gradishar.

    • Christopher Krier

      Don’t forget about Steve Atwater! It’s very tough to get in the HOF as a safety though.

  • Anthony

    Curtis Martin, Jerome Betis and Marshall Faulk are all finalists and none of them ever had the impact that TD had. Davis should have beat out Curtis Martin for Rookie of the year just for the simple fact that he was a 6th round pick. Don’t forget that he also beat Bettis in the 97 AFC championship and Martin in the 98 AFC Championship.

    • Christopher Krier

      I agree completely. If TD had accomplished all this while playing on the east coast he would have gotten in on the first ballot. Just ridiculous.

  • Linda

    What a great article about Terrell Davis. He should be included in the Hall of Fame.