The Case for TD
On Saturday, the next class for the NFL Hall of Fame will be announced. Among the final candidates is Broncos' running back Terrell Davis. He's been down this road before to no avail. But hope springs eternal. Here's the case for Davis.
I am a life-long Broncos' fan, and Davis remains one of my all-time favorite players. The Broncos would not have won their first two Super Bowl titles without Davis, even John Elway would admit that. But more importantly, he was one of the most dominant players I'd ever seen.
Davis burst onto the scene in 1995. He was a sixth round draft choice, and not much was expected of him. Yet, he rushed for 1,117 yards as a rookie and it was clear he was making Denver a force to be reckoned with.
In his second season, Davis ran for 1,538 yards and 13 touchdowns. The Broncos were the top seed in the AFC and a favorite for the Super Bowl before falling short against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the playoffs. But that disappointment didn't stop Davis for long.
In his next two seasons, Davis led the Broncos to the Super Bowl, helping them win titles. In 1997, Davis ran for 1,750 yards and 15 touchdowns. In the playoffs, in four games, he ran for 581 yards and eight touchdowns, becoming Super Bowl MVP.
But it was the 1998 season where he took it to a whole new level. He earned NFL Regular Season MVP Honors. He ran for 2008 yards and 21 touchdowns that season, leading the league in both categories. In the playoffs, he ran for 468 yards and three touchdowns in three games as the Broncos became back-to-back champs.
In just eight career playoff games, Davis ran for 1,140 yards and 12 touchdowns. Some players don't amass those stats in their entire career, Davis did it in eight playoff games, as the team went 7-1 and won two Super Bowl titles.
There's no telling what Davis could have been. In his first four seasons he ran for more than 6,000 yards and 56 touchdowns in the regular season. He was on pace to be one of the most prolific running backs in league history. Then, in 1999, in the fourth game of the regular season he tore his ACL and MCL, effectively ending his career.
He played parts of two more seasons, amassing more than 700 yards rushing in 2001. But he was never the same. And that's been the knock on Davis, and his campaign for the hall. His career was too short.
But the Hall of Fame is about recognizing the greatest to play the game. And for a four year stretch, no one was greater than Davis. And few franchises benefitted more from the skill of a player than the Broncos, who as I said wouldn't have won two Super Bowl titles without Davis.
I'm hopeful that today we will finally hear Davis' name called when the Hall of Fame class of 2017 is announced this afternoon.