Good Morning, Broncos fans! Here we are - it's election day for the Pro Football HOF, and therefore time for Broncos fans everywhere to get that nauseous feeling in anticipation of Shannon Sharpe getting snubbed yet again. As we get further away from his career, it's bizarre how the conversation changes. Throughout his career, he was rightfully considered the best TE in football and a player who changed the game. Every time his name came up, it was as a surefire HOFer, and his eight Pro Bowl and four All Pro selections can never be taken away from him. But today, the dialogue is about Shannon's blocking skills, whether he was a true TE or should be viewed as a WR, and therefore compared statistically with actual wide receivers.
It's mind blowing, truly. Shannon Sharpe was a dominant player by any measure, remarkably clutch and for much of his career the NFL's only TE who demanded a large portion of the opposition's defensive game plan. Even the teams that knew just how much havoc he wrought could do nothing to stop him (hello, Kansas City and San Diego). Early in his career, Sharpe was the Broncos' only receiving threat worthy of any attention, but he still came through whenever John Elway & Co. needed to convert a crucial third down. For many years, everyone in the building (and watching at home) knew Shay Shay was the guy on third-and-medium or third-and-long, and yet he still got open and made the play - every time, it seemed.
For this Sharpe fan, there are a few signature games/moments that stand out:
- 1998 - With Denver trailing late at home to KC in Week 14, Shannon caught a TD pass from Elway to keep the Broncos undefeated at 13-0 with what would be Elway's final fourth-quarter comeback.
- 1996 - Denver trailed 17-0 at home to San Diego, but then Elway hooked up with Sharpe for three touchdowns in succession - Shannon finished with a then-record 13 receptions for 153 yards.
- 2002 - For the Broncos' only win at KC in an eight-year stretch, Big Play Shay had to provide a superhuman effort, practically willing them to victory with 12 receptions, 214 yards and 2 touchdowns in an overtime victory.
- 1993 - Here's when Sharpe was Elway's only legitimate receiving threat, and the Chiefs could do nothing to stop him. Elway out-dueled Joe Montana and connected with Shannon for 10 receptions, 65 yards and 3 touchdowns.
- 1997 AFC Championship - In what may have been the most important pass play in Broncos history, Elway found Sharpe on 3rd and 6 for an 18-yard gain to seal the victory at Three Rivers Stadium to avenge an earlier loss to the Steelers and send Denver to SB XXXII. Here's how the play was drawn up: "John," Sharpe said, "we don't have a play like that." "Well, we do now," Elway replied. "So just run down the field and get open."
Klis interviews Sharpe, who is starting to open up more about making his own case for the HOF. Rod Woodson and Darryl Johnston provide their supporting views, but Klis only has stats to support him (granted, they're good). Shouldn't this column been written by someone who actually watched Shannon play? It sure doesn't sound like Klis did...
Mason on the hurdles Sharpe faces for election.
Here are the bios for the 17 finalists.
If this video clip is any indication, there's very little in the way of logic floating around the electors' room. Andre Reed deserves in because of the Bills' four conference championships and they ran the ball 50% of the time? Huh?
A panel of NFL.com and NFLN analysts submitted their top picks after Faulk and Deion, and Shannon Sharpe got plenty of support. Unfortunately, the only person here who's voting is Vic Carucci...
The Broncos are in talks with the league to switch over to orange jerseys full time starting in 2012.
Legwold on the HOF case for Terrell Davis - thankfully he straightened out his earlier snafu of lumping TD's MVP, SB MVP and 2,000-yard campaign as a single season. After all, he's the guy who would have to present TD for election - might as well get the facts correct.
The leader of the gang responsible for Darrent Williams' murder was found guilty on all counts related to the killing of a woman he himself had previously shot; he was sentenced to life plus 120 years.
Sam Bradford and Ndamukong Suh won the AP's ROY awards.
The Titans interviewed Perry Fewell and
Mark Mike Mularkey yesterday.
Former Sabres owner Tom Golisano has interest in buying the Bills to keep them in Buffalo.
The NFLPA and player agents are considering a boycott of the Combine and draft activities.
Steve Wyche thinks there's a chance for the CBA issues to be resolved soon.
Bill Rhoden thinks De Smith missed a big opportunity this week to plead his case to the public.
FO's favorite quotes from the week.
Maurkice Pouncey and Aaron Smith will miss tomorrow's game for the Steelers.
Six people were injured by falling ice at Cowboys Stadium.
Karen Crouse on the remarkable path Packers safety Charlie Peprah took to the NFL.
Bill Simmons' SB mailbag.
Chris Brown on the indelible impact of Dick LeBeau and Dom Capers on the NFL via the zone blitz.
Mike Lombardi thinks Green Bay is going to take home the trophy tomorrow.
Mike Silver on how Aaron Rodgers got out from under Brett Favre's shadow.
Don Banks explains why the Packers will win.
The obnoxious Peter King predicts the stat line of Steelers TE Heath Miller.
Farrar shares his top ten SB quarterbacks of all time.
Brian Burke on the ten biggest WPA plays in SB history.