8. Randy Gradishar

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8.  Randy Gradishar
The Denver Broncos first became a team that was first feared when their defense became the “Orange Crush” in the late 70’s.  Many have credited linebacker, Randy Gradishar with being the heart and soul of that famed defense.

Gradishar was a tackling machine and won the 1978 Defensive Player of the Year.  He consistently went to the Pro Bowl and was the leader of Denver’s “Orange Crush” defense.  Gradishar was known for his exemplarity football instincts and his hallmark ability to block the goal line.  Had he been more attention grabbing, perhaps he would have made a bigger name for himself outside of Colorado.

It is funny to call a Defensive Player of the Year and a seven time Pro Bowl linebacker underrated, but he was to a certain degree.  As John Elway led the Broncos to Super Bowl wins two decades later, the stars of the 70’s that almost got there have become an afterthought.  You would think that maybe one member of that team would have got into Canton by now.

Should Randy Gradishar be in the Hall of Fame?

Definitely put him in! - 94.7%
Maybe, but others deserve it first. - 3.4%
Probably not, but it wouldn't be the end of the world. - 1%
No opinion. - 0%
No way! - 1%

The Bullet Points

  • Country of Origin: Warren, Ohio, U.S.A.
  • Eligible Since: Sunday, 01 January 1989
  • Position: Linebacker
  • Played For: Denver Broncos
  • College: Ohio State
  • Drafted: 1st Round, 14th Overall in 1964
  • Major Accolades and Awards: NFL Defensive Player of the Year (1) (1978)
    Pro Bowl Selections (7) (1975, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982 & 1983)
    First Team All Pro Selection (5) (1978, 1979, 1980, 1981 & 1982)
    Second Team All Pro Selection (1) (1983)
  • Years Nominated for the Hall of Fame: Finalist: 2003 & 2008
    Semi Finalist: 2004, 2005, 2006 & 2007

Should Randy Gradishar be in the Hall of Fame?

Definitely put him in! - 94.7%
Maybe, but others deserve it first. - 3.4%
Probably not, but it wouldn't be the end of the world. - 1%
No opinion. - 0%
No way! - 1%
Last modified on Saturday, 14 April 2018 17:20


0 #9 John L. 2017-08-14 19:00
Stellar NFL career. The late great Woody Hayes called him the greatest player he ever coached at Ohio State. Enough said.
+2 #8 Steven Shaw 2016-05-16 19:21
Skilled? You bet! Underrated? Obviously! The Orange crush would never have existed without this man! To his detriment, he was the epitome of humility. Not brash, flashy, or a loudmouth. He understood his role, as well as that of the rest of the defense. If for whatever reason, a teammate was not in the right place at the right time, he would step in for them (hence, his unearthly stat's). His defensive prowess and instincts were to say the least unnerving. Get this man to Canton, STAT!!!
0 #7 cka2nd . 2015-08-09 17:22
Gradishar definitely deserves to be in the Hall. I'd probably put Riley Odoms in, too, although I admit he's a borderline case. Craig Morton is one of the great pro football resurrection stories of all time, the third best QB in Broncos history, and had the best year of his career at the age of 38 but he never made a Pro Bowl or All-Pro team.
+1 #6 Zack Savage 2015-05-03 15:59
Not an official stat at the time but I've seen his career tackles estimated at about 2000 over 10 seasons. 100 is a fine year... 150 is first team all star 200? As an average for a decade long career? Wow
+5 #5 Dutch. Robbins 2015-03-22 22:23
Three qbs that beat the mighty Pitsburgh Steelers during the 70s postseason playoff s they were 1. Bob Griese of the 72 undefeated Miami Dolphins. 2. Kenny Stabler the snake / Madden Raiders. 3. Craig Morton Orange Crush Denver Broncos. Huge bragging rights for all 3 qbs. :lol:
-2 #4 jasoncohen9 2015-01-13 17:30
Craig Morton? Are you serious Ziggy Koole. He's undoubtedly the worst postseason QB ever! It's a miracle the Cowboys & Broncos even made SBs with him behind center!
+3 #3 Jamison 2012-09-28 15:06
I met randy in arvada at the 09 draft party at buffalo wild wings.
it's a sin he isn't in
+3 #2 Ziggy Koole -0001-11-30 00:00
I find it a little strange that the 1977 Broncos don't have a single player on that roster inducted into the Hall of fame. Not Gradishar, not Craig Morton, not anyone.I would not have a problem with Gradishar being inducted, I actually think he deserves to be in.
+2 #1 jimmy26 -0001-11-30 00:00
Silliness. Gradishar is the best defensive player not in the hall. Probably the 4th or 5th best middle linebacker ever and he's not in the hall! Gradishar was the Orange Crush defense. his tackling numbers were out fo this world (what a great fantasy football plyer he would have been) and that was on a three four defense. Way better than lambert or Carson or Nitschke who just happened to play for winners and were much more publicized. Only Lewis and Butkus and maybe Lanier rare really ahead of Gradishar in the pantheon of great middle linebackers.

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