This is a great time to be a Bronco fan. With all the news coming out of the Bronco training camp, as well as, the publicity being generated by Shannon Sharpe’s induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, there is no shortage of Bronco information being sent over the information highway.
Tonight will be a special night for all Bronco fans, but it will be a highlight I am sure for Shannon Sharpe as he becomes the fourth Denver Bronco inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
I watched Sharpe Focus earlier this week on NFL Network and realized the man we enjoyed watching for 14 years is much different than the true man shown during the one-hour documentary capturing Sharpe’s path from his hometown of Glennville, Georgia to college and then the NFL. Early on, Sharpe quickly realized his goal was to become an NFL football player in order to take care of his family; specifically, his grandmother.
During Sharpe’s career, he become known for his comments and “talking smack” before, during, and after the game, but he always backed up his words with his play on the field. As I think back on Sharpe’s career, many of his off-field antics came to mind, so I am using this opportunity to list some of his well-known antics below, as well as, Sharpe’s total career statistics.
- Call in the National Guard. If you’ve been a Bronco fan for many years, no doubt you will remember Shannon Sharpe on the sidelines during a game against the New England Patriots. The Broncos were playing well and had the game easily in hand, so Sharpe was having fun on the sidelines and picked up the phone to request help for the Patriots.
- During a game against the Kansas City Chiefs in 1992, John Elway completed two touchdown passes in the final minutes to bring the Broncos back from a 19-6 deficit to beat the Kansas City Chiefs 20-19. I specifically recall NFL Films showing Sharpe on the sidelines celebrating this awesome come-from-behind victory by shouting, “Never say never! Never say never.” Sharpe loved playing the game!
- During a two week stretch in 1993, the Broncos made two trips to the Los Angeles Coliseum to battle the Raiders. Unfortunately, the Broncos came away with two losses; the second one ending their season since it was a wildcard playoff game. After one of Sharpe’s touchdown passes during these games, he posed similar to Hulk Hogan showing the world that due to his passion for exercise, lifting weights, and eating properly, Shannon Sharpe was no ordinary tight end.
- During the Broncos Super Bowl XXXII victory in 1999, I have vivid memories of Sharpe putting on a Bronco foam head and celebrating the teams’ first Super Bowl victory
- Pre-game at Invesco Field is always exciting because Bronco fans know that, within minutes, the game will start! The Broncos do a fabulous job of getting the crowd ready by on-screen videos, fly bys, and skydivers. Prior to the Cleveland Browns game in 2009, the Mile High crowd watched with great anticipation as a number of skydivers landed on the field. As the last skydiver descended to the playing surface of Mile High Stadium, it was announced that the tandem jumper on this date was none other than Shannon Sharpe. After a successful landing, Sharpe grabbed the microphone and easily excited the crowd by making a brief statement. Newspapers the next day reported Sharpe had made practice jumps earlier in the week to prepare for Sunday’s “real” jump.
Note: Statistics below are total stats from Sharpe’s overall career. The number in parenthesis indicates the numbers Sharpe achieved while playing for the Baltimore Ravens during the 2000 & 2001 seasons.
- Drafted in 7th round of 1990 draft; 192nd overall
- Started 169 of 204 games played as a pro (30)
- 8-time pro-bowler; 4-time First-Team All-Pro
- 815 receptions for 10,060 yards (140 receptions for 1,621 yards)
- 12.3 yards average per reception (11.6 yards per reception)
- 49.3 yards average per game (50.1 yards per game)
- 62 touchdowns (7)
- Longest reception – 82 yards (59 yards)
- 3-time Super Bowl Champion (1 Super Bowl victory w/ Baltimore Ravens)
Congratulations Shannon Sharpe to you and your entire family – enjoy this special time as you celebrate a wonderful career. On behalf of Bronco Nation I say, “thank you for the memories.”