The Denver Broncos are well represented on the Pro Football Hall of Fame 2014 ballot, just now reduced to 25, a part of the process that will see the final ballot of 15 modern era individuals (players/contributors) voted on the day before the Super Bowl.
Steve Atwater, Terrell Davis, Karl Mecklenburg and John Lynch all are in the final 25, a great honor in itself.
For Davis, this is the seventh consecutive year in which he has made the cut to 25, but TD has yet to advance to the final 15. Similarly, Atwater and Meck are in the final 25 for the third straight year, and Lynch is at two straight as a semifinalist.
If you get this close, history tells us that one year you have a decent chance to push through to election.
They were all great players, but everyone who gets to the final 25 is legit.
The reason for this blog is to point out, once again, that a lot of people have no idea how great the accomplishment of Davis were, and how truly worthy of the Hall of Fame T.D. is.
No one has to agree with me other than on facts. We all agree that facts are facts, right?
Eleven men have won Super Bowl MVP and regular season Most Valuable Player awards. Six of the seven who are eligible for the Hall of Fame are in the Hall: those men are John Elway, Bart Starr, Roger Staubach, Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana and Steve Young.
Terrell Davis is the only one not in. Davis is also the only non-quarterback on this list (by the way, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Kurt Warner and Aaron Rodgers also have won both awards, but none is yet eligible).
The argument that TD had a short career span is often made—it is both erroneous and lazy. It ignores his accomplishments (they are supposed to go in on the basis of accomplishment, right?).
Terrell Davis had a stretch in which he clearly was the best running back in football, and many who watched/covered the Broncos might recall that TD was often referred to as the most important player on the team, ahead even of Elway.
I am going to make some comparisons with the other Pro Football Hall of Fame running backs, those who had careers both long and short.
The short career/Terrell Davis/Gale Sayers argument is in fact weighted in favor of T.D., NOT Gale Sayers. Sayers had a magnificent rookie season in which he scored 22 touchdowns and became the stuff of legend, a captivating runner and just as good a guy.
I have the greatest of respect for Gale Sayers as both a player and ambassador of the game—I did not say Sayers does not belong in the Hall. He most assured is a Hall of Famer in every way. Absolutely for sure. But so is T.D..
A key word is “impact.” What was his impact on the game, on his team’s accomplishments, and on how other teams had to defend him when playing his team.
Here are some Terrell Davis facts—he is the only running back in football history—the only one ever—to accomplish all of the following:
Super Bowl MVP.
A 2,000-yard rushing season.
Starting running back on back-to-back World Champions.
Seven consecutive playoff games in which his team won all seven AND he had 100 rushing
yards in each game.
Again, T.D. is the ONLY back in history to have accomplished all of the above.
Among all retired running backs, Davis is third with a per game average of 97.5 rushing yards, trailing only Hall of Famers Jim Brown (104.3 rushing yards per game)and Barry Sanders (99.8).
In the category of highest winning percentage when rushing for 100 yards (with a minimum of 15 100-yard games) in all games played, Davis is fourth all time with his Broncos winning 37 of his 41 100-yard games, a .902 winning percentage. Thurman Thomas is first (.923), Franco Harris and Jim Taylor are tied for second (.904), and the other 17 Hall of Fame running backs ALL trail TD.
In the category of highest winning percentage when rushing for 100 yards in postseason play (and postseason play cannot be discounted, because that is when you are literally playing for a championship, which is the whole idea), Terrell Davis is tied with Emmitt Smith for number one all time, seven for seven, 1.000 percent. The other 15 Hall of Fame running backs ALL trail TD.
In the category of highest winning percentage when rushing for 100 yards in regular season games only, TD is sixth, with 30 Bronco wins in 34 100-yard games, an .882 percentage. He trails Hall of Famers Jim Taylor (.940), Larry Csonka (.938), Thurman Thomas (.935), Franco Harris (.894), and Tony Dorsett (.889). The other 15 Hall of Fame running backs ALL trail T.D..
And they were all great players, all legitimate, true Hall of Famers.
But the facts are the facts. Terrell Davis is in fact near the very top of the Hall of Fame running backs in these very significant statistical comparisons.
Spread the word.