“Of that first-team All-Decade defense from the 1990s, who is not in the Hall of Fame? Two guys: LeRoy Butler and Steve Atwater.”
Champ Bailey, CBInducted: 2019
Cornerback Champ Bailey became the first defensive player in franchise history to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame when he was selected as a first-ballot inductee on Feb. 2, 2019. Bailey played 10 seasons with the Broncos from 2004-13 and five years with the Washington Redskins from 1999-2003.
Bailey was selected to 12 Pro Bowls during his career to tie for the third-most in history among defensive players. A member of the 2000s NFL All-Decade Team as chosen by the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selectors, Bailey also was named to the Associated Press All-Pro Team five times (1st Team: 2004-06; 2nd Team: 2000, ’12). He began his career starting 99 consecutive regular-season games and made the most starts (212) among league cornerbacks during his 15 NFL seasons.
In 215 career regular-season games, Bailey totaled 983 tackles (837 solo), 52 interceptions (464 yds.), 235 passes defensed, three sacks (26 yds.), nine forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries. Bailey also started 10-of-11 career postseason contests and added 34 tackles (30 solo), two interceptions (105 yds.) and 10 passes defensed. He began his career starting 99 consecutive regular-season games and made the most starts (212) among league cornerbacks during his 15 NFL seasons.
Bailey’s 52 interceptions were the most among NFL cornerbacks during his career (third among all players). That total included a career-best 10 interceptions in 2006, which marked the second-highest single-season total in Broncos history and propelled him to a second-place finish in the AP’s NFL Defensive Player of the Year voting.
In all, Bailey was a member of six playoff teams (1999, 2004-05, ’11-13), five division champions (1999, 2005, ’11-13) and one Super Bowl team (2013).
Selected by the Redskins with the seventh overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft from the University of Georgia, Bailey played his first five seasons with Washington before being acquired by Denver in a trade on March 4, 2004.
Pat Bowlen, OwnerInducted: 2019
Owner Pat Bowlen became the 15th principal owner to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame when he was selected on Feb. 2, 2019. During Bowlen’s 35 seasons as owner (1984-2019), the Broncos tied for the second-best win percentage (.596 / 354-240-1) in the NFL and the fourth-best mark among all 122 major North American pro sports teams. The Broncos also made as many Super Bowl appearances (7) as losing seasons under Bowlen.
A member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2019, Mr. Bowlen was the first owner in NFL history to achieve 300 overall victories during his first 30 seasons, Mr. Bowlen has totaled 333 regular-season wins, 21 winning seasons and 18 playoff appearances since he purchased the team in 1984.
The Broncos are the only NFL team to post at least 90 wins in each of the last three decades while posting the fewest losing seasons (7) during that span. Mr. Bowlen’s seven Super Bowl appearances rank second all-time among NFL owners. The Broncos’ back-to-back titles in 1997 and ‘98, along with Denver’s Super Bowl 50 win in 2015, make him one of just seven owners in history with at least three world championships.
One of two owners and one of just three non-players elected to the Ring of Fame, Mr. Bowlen guided the Broncos to an unprecedented period of success during his three-plus decades in Denver.
In addition to his role with the Broncos, Bowlen was heavily involved in the growth of professional football through his dedication at the league level. Bowlen served a combined 91 seasons on 15 different NFL committees—the third most ever by an owner—including a role as role chairman of both the NFL Management Council Executive Committee and the NFL Broadcasting Committee.
John Elway, QBInducted: 2004
Quarterback John Elway was the Broncos’ first inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame to have spent his entire career with the club, playing a franchise-record 16 seasons (1983-1998). Elected on Jan. 31, 2004, and inducted on Aug. 8, 2004, as a “first-ballot” Hall of Famer, Elway is arguably the best quarterback to have played the game.
A 1999 Ring of Fame inductee — and the only player for whom the customary wait for Ring of Fame induction was waived — Elway finished his magnificent career completing 4,123 of 7,250 passes (56.9%) for 51,475 yards with 300 touchdowns and 226 interceptions.
A nine-time Pro Bowl choice who retired as the NFL’s all-time leader in wins (148) among quarterbacks, Elway capped his career with back-to-back World Championships and started in five Super Bowls. Elway, who ranks sixth in NFL history in career passing yards (51,475) and seventh in touchdown passes (300), holds an NFL-record 47 fourth-quarter or overtime game-winning or game-tying drives.
A starter in five Super Bowls overall, Elway capped his playing days with Super Bowl XXXIII Most Valuable Player honors after helping the Broncos capture the second of back-to-back World Championships following the 1998 season. Elway, who retired as the NFL’s all-time winningest starting quarterback (148-82-1 / .643). He was the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 1987 and AFC Player of the Year in 1993. Elway was named the Edge NFL Man of the Year for 1992 and was inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in 1999 while also being named to the NFL’s All-Decade team for the 1990s as its first-team quarterback.
He generated 4,771 of the 5,806 points (82.2%) scored by the Broncos during his 16-year tenure with the club. Elway ranked No. 1 in NFL history in fourth-quarter, game-winning or game-saving drives with 47 (46-0-1 record) and had 36 career 300-yard passing games in the regular season. He started 2,595 drives as a pro and was replaced just 10 times due to injury (.039%). Elway’s No. 7 jersey was retired on Sept. 13, 1999.
Selected as the No. 1 overall pick in the 1983 NFL Draft, Elway concluded his collegiate career at Stanford University with five major NCAA Division I-A records and nine major Pacific-10 Conference marks.
Gary Zimmerman, OTInducted: 2008
Tackle Gary Zimmerman was the second Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee to have spent a primary portion of his career with the Denver Broncos. Elected on Feb. 2, 2008, and inducted on Aug. 2, 2008, Zimmerman played five seasons in Denver from 1993-97, helping the Broncos win Super Bowl XXXII during the 1997 campaign for the club’s first-ever World Championship.
One of a handful of players named to two NFL All-Decade Teams (1980s and 1990s) and a seven-time Pro Bowl selection who started all 184 career games played, Zimmerman joined the Broncos in a trade from Minnesota on Aug. 24, 1993, after playing his first seven years with the Vikings.
Zimmerman started all 76 career games played with Denver and earned three Pro Bowl selections (1994-96) as a key component of offenses that led the NFL in total yards twice (1996-97). He was inducted into the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame in 2003. He played tackle for the Broncos for five seasons (1993-97) and became the first offensive lineman in the history of the franchise to be honored with inclusion in the Ring.
A finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame from 2003-04 and ‘06-07 before he joined John Elway as the second HOF inductee who spent a primary portion of his career in Denver, Zimmerman was acquired by the Broncos in a trade from Minnesota on Aug. 24, 1993, after playing his first seven years with the Vikings. He was named to the Pro Bowl three times (1994-96) and started all 76 games in which he played as a Bronco.
Zimmerman helped Denver lead the NFL in total yards twice (1996-97) and record three consecutive top-5 league rushing rankings (1995-97), including an NFL-best mark in 1996. During his 12 seasons in the NFL from 1986-97, Zimmerman started all 184 games played and was named to seven Pro Bowls (1987-89, 1992, 1994-96) while receiving first-or second-team All-Pro honors eight times.
Picked in the first round (third overall) of the 1984 supplemental draft by the New York Giants, his signing rights were traded to the Vikings for two second-round picks in the 1986 draft.
He spent two seasons with the Los Angeles Express of the USFL before reporting to Minnesota, where he began a streak of 169 consecutive starts that lasted until 1996 when surgery sidelined him. Zimmerman, who helped the Vikings lead the NFC in rushing in 1991, anchored offensive lines that blocked for a conference’s leading passer four times during his career (1986, 1988, 1993, 1996).
He played at the University of Oregon, where he received first-team All-Pacific-10 Conference honors as a senior.
Floyd Little, RBInducted: 2010
Running Back Floyd Little, elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Feb. 6, 2010, and inducted on Aug. 7, 2010, spent all nine of his professional seasons with the Broncos from 1967-75 and ranked seventh on the NFL’s all-time rushing list (6,323 yards) and eighth on its all-time combined yards list (12,173 yards) at the time of his retirement.
Little led the Broncos in rushing for a club-record seven consecutive seasons from 1967-73 His eight years with at least 1,000 combined yards tied for second in league history at the time of his retirement.
Little was one of the four original Denver Broncos Ring of Fame inductees from 1984 and joins John Elway and Frank Tripucka as one of three Broncos whose jersey number is retired.
A first-round (No. 6 overall) draft choice of the Broncos in 1967 from Syracuse University, Little was the first No. 1 draft pick ever signed by the Broncos and was widely regarded as “The Franchise” for much of his nine-year career in which he established himself as Denver’s first serious threat at running back.
A Pro Bowl participant from 1970-71 and in ‘73, Little twice played in the AFL All-Star Game (1968-69) and was named the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Pro Athlete of the Year in 1972. He finished his Broncos career ranked No. 1 on the franchise’s all-time list for rushing attempts (1,641), rushing yards (6,323) and rushing touchdowns (43), and he now ranks second in each behind Terrell Davis.
Among professional football players from 1967-75, only O.J. Simpson totaled more rushing yards than Little, who also posted the fourth-most rushing scores in football during that time. He led Denver in rushing for seven consecutive seasons from 1967-73, marking the longest such streak in club history, and at the time of his retirement ranked seventh in NFL annals in career rushing yards.
In 1971, Little led the NFL in rushing with a career-best 1,133 yards after capturing the AFC rushing crown a year earlier with 901 yards in 1970. He set a Broncos career record with 54 total touchdowns (43 rush, 9 rec., 2 ret.) that currently rank fourth on their all-time list while finishing his career third on their all-time scoring list with 324 points (currently 10th).
He also set a team record with 12,173 career all-purpose yards, a mark that stood until Rod Smith passed him in 2006, and finished his career as the Broncos’ all-time leader in career kickoff return yards (2,523 — now currently second).
A three-time All-American at Syracuse, Little followed in the footsteps of Jim Brown and Ernie Davis as a superstar tailback for the Orangemen. He shattered most of the records set by his predecessors, rushing for 2,704 yards, totaling 582 receiving yards, returning punts for 845 yards and kickoffs for 797 yards, and recording 19 passing yards for a total of 4,947 yards.
Shannon Sharpe, TEInducted: 2011
Tight end Shannon Sharpe became the third former Bronco to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in three seasons when he was selected on Feb. 5, 2011. Inducted into the Hall of Fame on Aug. 6, 2011, Sharpe played 12 seasons for the Broncos (1990-99, 2002-03) and two years with the Ravens (2000-01), winning three Super Bowls. At the time of his retirement, Sharpe was the NFLs all-time leader in receptions (815), receiving yards (10,060) and receiving touchdowns (62) by a tight end.
Sharpe set a league record at his position with eight Pro Bowls (7 as a Bronco) and was named to the 1990s NFL All-Decade Team. A four-time first-team Associated Press All-Pro, Sharpe participated in more overall wins (137) than any tight end in NFL history.
Elected as the 22nd member of the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame on May 12, 2009, Sharpe was a key member of the Broncos’ back-to-back Super Bowl championship teams from 1997-98. In 172 career regular-season games (139 starts) with Denver, he registered the second-most receptions (675), receiving yards (8,439) and receiving touchdowns (55) by a player in club annals, trailing only wide receiver Rod Smith.
He also played two seasons with Baltimore from 2000-01, earning the third Super Bowl ring of his career during the 2000 campaign and his eighth trip to the Pro Bowl in 2001 with the Ravens.
Selected by the Broncos in the seventh round (192nd overall) of the 1990 NFL Draft from Savannah State University, Sharpe was named the first-team tight end on the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team as chosen by the Hall of Fame Selection Committee members.
Terrell Davis, RBInducted: 2017
Running back Terrell Davis became the fifth former Bronco to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame when his selection was announced on Feb. 4, 2017.
The Broncos’ all-time leading rusher, Davis rushed for at least 1,000 yards in each of his first four seasons, including the 1998 campaign in which he totaled the fourth-most rushing yards (2,008) in a season in NFL history to earn league MVP honors. That year, he also set a club record with 21 rushing scores.
The three-time Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro selection (1996-98) finished his career with a franchise-record 7,607 rushing yards and 60 rushing touchdowns on 1,655 carries (4.6 avg.) in 78 regular-season games (77 starts) as a key member of the Broncos’ back-to-back Super Bowl championship teams (1997-98).
A decade before his Hall of Fame induction, Davis became the 21st member of the Ring of Fame in 2007.
His 101.7-yard rushing average in all games played (incl. postseason) trails only Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown. Davis owns three of the top-five single-season rushing outputs in Broncos annals as well as the club’s single-season scoring record for a non-kicker (138 points, 1998).
In the postseason, Davis was equally as impressive, totaling at least 100 rushing yards in seven of his eight career playoff appearances, including his 157-yard, three-rushing touch- down performance against Green Bay in Super Bowl XXXII to earn game MVP honors.
He averaged an NFL-record (min. 5 games) 142.5 rushing yards per game in the postseason for his career, totaling a club-record 1,140 rushing yards on 204 carries (5.6 avg.) with 12 touchdowns.
Knee injuries cut Davis’ career short. He was forced to retire in 2002, when he was placed on injured reserve after knee issues lingered into training camp. He played in 73 games from his rookie campaign until he suffered a devastating knee injury in Week 4 of the 1999 season. He was limited to 13 regular-season games after that.
Davis, who played his first collegiate season at Long Beach State before transferring to Georgia, ranks first in Broncos history in career 100-yard rushing games (41), first in rushing touchdowns (60), second in overall touchdowns (65) and second in yards from scrimmage (8,887).