Looking back, some of the largest icons in NFL history are often the ones that can be overlooked. All franchises have had their fair share of historic players, but who were the best of the best? Here, we discuss the four most iconic players to step on the field. We continue our series with the Denver Broncos:
Honorable Mentions: Steve Atwater, Champ Bailey, Floyd Little
TE Shannon Sharpe (1990-2003)
By the time he retired, Sharpe was the NFL’s all-time leader in receptions (815), receiving yards (10,060) and touchdowns (62) among tight ends. As a seventh-round selection in the 1990 NFL Draft, the expectations were low for Sharpe.
In total, Sharpe was nominated to eight Pro Bowls and five All-Pro teams. He was also named in part of the NFL’s 1990s All-Decade Team and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011. He finished his career with 815 receptions for 10,060 yards and 62 touchdowns.
LB Von Miller (2011-Present)
As the one active player on the Broncos Mount Rushmore, the impact of Miller has been indescribable over the years. As the second overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, Miller played an essential factor in leading the Broncos to the Super Bowl in 2015. In order to reach that point, he totaled six tackles, 2.5 sacks, and a pair of forced fumbles over the Carolina Panthers. He was named as the Super Bowl MVP as a result.
Miller currently holds a franchise record 106 sacks to go along with 490 tackles in 135 games. At the age of 31, it’s important to appreciate the impact he has made on the game to this point.
RB Terrell Davis (1995-2001)
While his career was rather brief, Davis posted four consecutive seasons of 1,000+ yards as an incoming sixth-round draft pick. During his rookie season alone, he totaled 1,117 yards and seven touchdowns. Each year, Davis seemed to progress, as he overcame the Jaguars (184 rushing yards), Chiefs (101), Steelers (139) and the Packers (157, three touchdowns) during the team’s Super Bowl XXXII run. Davis was named as that year’s Super Bowl MVP.
He was limited due to injuries, competing in 17 games across his last three NFL seasons. Still, his ability to accumulate 2,000+ rushing yards in 1998 en route to MVP honors is remarkable. Davis was a legend for the Broncos, and should be recognized as so.
QB John Elway (1983-98)
Was there ever a doubt? As the first selection in the 1983 NFL Draft, Elway was originally drafted by the Baltimore Colts. After refusing to play for the franchise, he was then dealt to the Denver Broncos. As a result, he played his entire career with the team.
During his 16-year career, Elway reached the postseason on 10 occasions and secured two Super Bowls. In the later stages of his career, the addition of Terrell Davis resulted in both Super Bowl victories, but it couldn’t be done without Elway as well. He finished his career with 51,475 yards and 300 touchdowns.