Career in Denver: 1974-1983 (10 seasons)
Pro Bowls: 7-time Pro Bowler; 2-time First-Team All-Pro
Gradishar absence in Canton is a point of contention for many, be they Broncos fans or just lovers of the game. ESPN’s Chris Berman once said “His play was only overshadowed by his class.”
Though Gradishar, too, played in a time before defensive statistics were kept, Kyle Montgomery compiled a summation of what Gradishar’s stats might have been. Spread across his 10-year tenure with Denver, he is said to have notched over 2,000 tackles and over 20 sacks. For reference, that’s about par with Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher.
With numbers like that, combined with seven trips to the Pro Bowl and a Super Bowl berth with the Orange Crush, it’s a mystery why he hasn’t been elected in the Hall of Fame. He was a finalist in 2003 and 2008 but some argue it was his class and humble attitude that have kept him from eternal enshrinement.