Denver Broncos: The fact that Randy Gradishar can’t get into the HOF is a crime
Former Denver Broncos linebacker Randy Gradishar has been passed over for a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame—again.
When former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Drew Pearson was named as a senior finalist on Tuesday, it meant that Randy Gradishar won’t be a finalist. There is always room for argument one way or another when it comes to the Hall of Fame and the players chosen for induction, but the fact that Gradishar retired nearly 40 years ago and is still waiting for the call is utterly ridiculous.
Why? Let me show you the ways.
Because Gradishar has not been on a football field since 1983, many fans are unaware of just how good he was. This isn’t a case of advocating for a guy just because he played for the Broncos. Gradishar was amazing.
His list of accomplishments is many. Gradishar went to the Pro Bowl seven times and was voted as an All-Pro six times. He was also chosen as the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1978.
In addition to having 20.5 career sacks and 20 interceptions as a linebacker, he is also credited with over 2,000 career tackles, which would make him the team’s all-time leader in that category by a wide margin.
But it wasn’t just the statistical output that made Gradishar so good, he was also a leader on the field.
The Orange Crush Defense of the late 1970s and early 1980s is still recognized as one of the most formidable defensive units in the history of the league. Gradishar was the unquestioned leader and best player on that defense.
He possessed great instincts and he was a very smart player. He rarely missed a tackle and never missed a game during his 10-year career. Not one. He really was one of the best linebackers to ever play in the league.
So what is keeping him from getting in? It’s mystifying.
The fact that only one player labeled as a “senior” finalist will be nominated certainly makes things harder. There are many fans out there who would beat the drum for Pearson to get into the Hall of Fame in the same way Broncos fans beat the drum for Gradishar.
Pearson is definitely deserving. He is the only player on the All-Decade Team from the 1970s who is not already in the Hall. He finished his career with 489 receptions for 7,822 yards and 48 touchdowns.
None of that even guarantees that he will be chosen as part of the next Hall of Fame class, however. At this point, he has only been nominated.
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That gives you an idea of just how much Gradishar will have to get through in order to be part of the Hall of Fame, which is unfortunate.
In addition to yet another snub for Gradishar, Tom Flores was nominated as the head coaching candidate to get the nod next year, meaning that honor won’t go to Mike Shanahan. At least not yet.
I recently made his case for the Hall of Fame.
As nice as it would be to see Shanahan go in (he led the Broncos to back-to-back Super Bowl victories after all), Gradishar is far more deserving. In fact, Gradishar is far more deserving than any Broncos player who isn’t already enshrined.
Hopefully, that day comes soon, while Gradishar can still enjoy it. As you can see here, it’s something he takes seriously.