Biography: Steve Atwater, S

Steve Atwater
NFL FILE: Steve Atwater of the Denver Broncos during the Super Bowl. (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)
Steve Atwater was inducted as the 20th member of the Broncos’ Ring of Fame in 2005 after a brilliant 10-year career with the club from 1989-98.

Regarded as one of the toughest safeties in the NFL during his playing days, Atwater was voted to a franchise record-tying seven consecutive Pro Bowls from 1990-96, and his eight career Pro Bowl selections are the second most by a player in Broncos history.

Selected by the Broncos in the first round (20th overall) of the 1989 NFL Draft from the University of Arkansas, Atwater was a consensus All-Rookie selection and was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year by Football Digest during his first professional season on a club that advanced to Super Bowl XXIV. He went on to serve as a key leader on the Broncos’ back-to-back Super Bowl championship teams from 1997-98 and was voted an All-Pro by the Associated Press from 1991-92 and in 1996. He started all 155 regular-season games he played with Denver, a total that ranks 10th in franchise history. Atwater also recorded 24 interceptions that rank ninth in Denver history and 408 interception return yards that rank seventh in club annals. He led the Broncos in tackles during two seasons (1993 and ‘95) and finished second on the club in that category five times during his career.

Atwater’s play against Green Bay in Super Bowl XXXII, a game in which he totaled six tackles, one sack, one forced fumble and two pass breakups, was instrumental in Denver winning its first-ever World Championship. The safety ranks second to only John Elway in career postseason starts by a Bronco as he started all 14 playoff appear- ances, including three Super Bowls and four AFC Championship Games. Atwater, who was a three-time All-Southwest Conference selection and a two-time All-American at Arkansas, played one season with the New York Jets in 1999 following his Broncos career.