We will get our answer to which former Denver Broncos, if any, will be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday night.
One Denver Broncos player that should be a shoo-in for the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2019 along with Steve Atwater is Champ Bailey.
This is the first time the former Denver Broncos cornerback is on the ballot. Bailey came to Denver in one of the most famous trades in team history. It was a player-for-player swap involving Clinton Portis. Portis was an elite running back at the time, but Denver needed Bailey more at cornerback.
Before coming to the Denver Broncos from the Washington Redskins, he performed at a high level. Bailey was with the Redskins from 1999-2003. In those years Bailey made the Pro Bowl four times and averaged close to four interceptions a season.
One interesting aspect to the growth of Bailey is the player he learned the position from. Hall of Fame cornerback Darrell Green played with the Redskins for his entire career and is regarded as one of the best at the position too. Green spoke about their early relationship and Bailey could not be more thankful for the time they had together.
Fast forward to his time with the Denver Broncos where Bailey became a Hall of Fame player.
Bailey notoriously shut down wide receivers consistently and became a ball-hawking magnet. Quarterbacks would game-plan to avoid Bailey during the game. When they tried to take chances Bailey would make them pay.
One such memory is his playoff interception of Tom Brady. Bailey ran down the sidelines in the 2005 Divisional playoff game and took a game-altering interception for what was nearly a touchdown (thanks Ben Watson). That became the epitome of Bailey’s time in Denver. Effort, determination, and greatness rolled into one.
One underappreciated aspect of Bailey’s game was his support in the run game and tackling. Bailey would make a commitment to become an all-around cornerback who prided himself on being a complete player.
It is the perfect precedent separating from great to Hall of Fame players. There is no weakness in their game. Bailey simply did not have one.
The hope is that Bailey will be inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday. The committee must do everything possible to ensure Bailey hears his name called Saturday night. Bailey deserves to be in along with Pat Bowlen (first and foremost) and Steve Atwater.