Randy Gradishar has been named as one of the twelve NFL Hall of Fame Senior finalists for the Class of 2024, as announced by the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Thursday. This year marks his fifth time as a finalist and his third as a senior finalist.
Having been undeservingly in this position all too often, Gradishar is hoping the fifth time is the charm:
“I just keep hoping I’m still there when they re-vote. I’m excited. I’ve been through this a long time. Last year was a pretty close situation. I’m just going to continue to pray and hope this could be the year.” – Per 9News
Last year, Gradishar's Hall of Fame vote came down to the wire as he, along with Bob Kuechenberg and Sterling Sharpe, advanced through an initial cutdown vote from 12 candidates to six shortly before being ultimately left out of the final vote.
Considered one of the most highly decorated Broncos in history, Randy Gradishar boasts an impressive resume that places him among the NFL's greatest players of all time in Canton, Ohio. Over the course of his 10-year tenure with the Broncos, Gradishar solidified his position as one of the most esteemed defenders in NFL history. Revered as the heart and soul of the legendary Orange Crush defense, he remains a key figure in one of the most revered defensive units of all time.
Gradishar began receiving major recognition in 1977 after playing a pivotal role in leading the Broncos to their first Super Bowl appearance. His stellar performance that season earned him his first-ever Pro Bowl selection and first-team All-Pro honors.
Gradishar went on to end his career as a seven-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro. He finished his career as the Broncos' all-time leading tackler with 2,049 tackles, along with 19.5 sacks, 20 interceptions, 13 fumble recoveries, and four defensive touchdowns.
There is no denying that the 1978 Defensive Player of the Year is undoubtedly deserving of a gold jacket. However, with each passing year, the hope of seeing him enshrined and finding his way to football immortality seems to fade away.
Fortunately for Gradishar, The Pro Football Hall of Fame made significant changes to its bylaws in April of last year for the next three election cycles. The Hall’s Board of Trustees approved increasing the number of senior finalists from one to three per year for 2023-2025. Following this move, Gradishar saw his name come closer to football immortality than ever before.
Gradishar will be up against 11 other finalists: Sterling Sharpe, Ken Anderson, Art Powell, Maxie Baughan, Steve McMichael, Roger Craig, Al Wistert, Albert Lewis, Eddie Meador, Otis Taylor, and Joe Jacoby. If he can crack the top three, he'll just need an 80 percent approval from the selector committee to make it official.
On August 22, the Pro Football Hall of Fame senior committee is expected to nominate their three senior picks.
Will Randy Gradishar finally find football immortality?