Randy Gradishar’s wait is ended.
With the election of renowned Denver Broncos linebacker Randy Gradishar to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a significant inequity in Football Justice has been corrected. Gradishar’s election was formally confirmed Thursday night.
After going through the torture of being selected a finalist four times, Gradishar has finally entered the hallowed halls of Canton, OH.
Gradishar offered a message for Broncos fans after the news broke.
Greg Penner, the Broncos’ owner and CEO, also published a statement following the news.
“We join everyone of Broncos Country in congratulating Randy Gradishar on becoming the newest Denver Bronco inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Randy is unquestionably one of the most influential figures in Broncos history, as well as one of the best linebackers of all time. The historic ‘Orange Crush’ will now have its first Hall of Famer, and Randy is the perfect embodiment of our first Super Bowl squad and this company.
“Carrie and I felt pleased to be a part of Randy’s ‘Knock on the Door’ surprise a few weeks ago. Randy has waited over 40 years for this opportunity, and we are thrilled to celebrate his well-deserved induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer.”
Gradishar was drafted as the 14th overall pick out of Ohio State in 1974 and went on to play with the Broncos for ten seasons. He was as dependable as he was productive, never missing a game after his debut year.
Gradishar made seven Pro Bowl appearances, was a five-time All-Pro (two first-team selections), and was voted NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1978. The previous season saw the development of Denver’s renowned Orange Crush defense, which he commanded as its face, culminating in the Broncos’ first Super Bowl appearance in 1977.
“It’s all because of you, and it’s all because of the ‘Orange Crush’ defense.”
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) February 9, 2024
Gradishar, the only Bronco to ever earn the DPOY award, made an indelible mark as an inside linebacker. Although tackle statistics were not monitored for much of his NFL career, he had an unofficial total of more than 2,000 tackles. Within ten years…
That brings him to more than 200 each season on average. Gradishar was a true playmaker, recording 33 takeaways and scoring four touchdowns, including an exhilarating 93-yard interception return.
Gradishar has long been a member of the Broncos Ring of Fame, as well as the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, the College Football Hall of Fame, and, most recently, the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It’s the trifecta.
Congratulations to Gradishar, who has endured the sorrow and misfortune of being overlooked for the Hall of Fame for far too long. Like Steve Atwater, who had to wait a long time for enshrinement, here’s to putting all of that angst behind us and focusing on Gradishar finally joining his fellow Broncos in Canton, where he’s always belonged.
Gradishar will be inducted into the 2024 Pro Football Hall of Fame class later this summer. He will be 72 years old.