Now that the Pro Football Hall of Fame has finally chosen to place Randy Gradishar in his rightful place, I can finally get off that soapbox. But that means another one needs more attention, right?
Gradishar was easily the most deserving former Broncos player not already in the Hall of Fame, a list that has gotten much shorter in recent years when players like Steve Atwater and Terrell Davis were inducted in recent years.
The list of those who should not be left out is getting shorter as well, but there are still some former Broncos who need to be in Canton at some point and hopefully, while they are still around to be able to enjoy it.
I have knocked that list down to three. These three former Broncos should join the list of those already in sooner rather than later.
Former Broncos who deserve to be in Hall of Fame next
Mike Shanahan, Head Coach
Mike Shanahan is the best coach in Broncos history by a pretty good margin, but he's also one of the best coaches in NFL history. Though some Broncos fans will present a case for former head coach Dan Reeves — and perhaps he gets elected down the line — Shanahan is more deserving and needs to go in first.
Of course, Shanahan won back-to-back Super Bowls in Denver in 1997 and 1998 but he was also one of the best offensive minds the league has ever seen.
He is currently in a tie for 14th on the all-time wins list for coaches with 170 wins. Of the names that are ahead of him on that list, six are already in the Hall of Fame. Here are the other names ahead of him:
The coaches that are tied with him at 170 wins are Tom Coughlin and Pete Carroll. From that list, Belichick and Reid are mortal locks to reach the Hall of Fame. A case can easily be made for Schottenheimer and Tomlin. And both Coughlin and Carroll should garner consideration with Carroll almost certainly gaining entry down the line.
Shanahan's resume stacks up with any of those former coaches not named Belichick or Reid. The Broncos added their former coach to the Ring of Fame in 2021. Now it's time for him to take his spot in Canton.