The Denver Broncos have a rich and proud tradition in the state of Colorado, and it doesn’t matter if an athlete is a local lifer (Dave Logan) or a California transplant (John Elway), because once they do justice to the Orange and Blue, they’re forever immortalized and beloved within the state — and Broncos Country worldwide.
Former Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan now knows that feeling, as he’s set to enter the franchise’s hallowed Ring of Fame, October 17. The ceremony will take place during the Raiders game — undoubtedly a planned celebration while Shanahan’s most hated rival is in town.
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Another Broncos Great Gets Honored
Shanahan is being bestowed the biggest honor there is for a Bronco, but there’s another former member who is receiving the state’s most majestic tribute. Ed McCaffrey, who played wide receiver for the Broncos from 1995-2003, was voted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, October 12, following a tremendous playing career and now coaching career within the state.
McCaffrey will be inducted at the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame’s 57th annual banquet, May 4, 2022, at the Hilton Denver City Center. He’ll be joined by a 2022 class that includes Carol Callan, Chuck Williams, Darnell McDonald, Roger Kinney, and DaVarryl Williamson. McCaffrey will be the 27th former Broncos player inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.
The McCaffrey name has been a mainstay within the state since he first joined the team, as he helped the Broncos win back-to-back Super Bowl titles (1997-98), and laid a family foundation in the state, which included raising four outstanding high school, collegiate, and professional athletes. He’s also now a well-respected and celebrated head coach in the state, so McCaffrey, a Pennsylvania product and Stanford graduate, is now a native Coloradoan — and the state showed its love.
Besides being one of Elway’s primary targets, McCaffrey was also known as one of the league’s best run blockers, and always willing to lay his 6-foot-5, 215-pound frame on the line. His block on Green Bay Packers linebacker Brian Williams in Super Bowl XXXII, that sprung fullback Howard Griffith on a big pass play, is still talked about in Colorado.
The Broncos would go on to win the game — their first Super Bowl title after four previous fails.
A fan favorite, McCaffrey was dubbed “The Bruise,” for his penchant to throw caution to the wind. It likely had a lot to do with his showing little regard for his own safety, and the fact that he intentionally wore as little protective pads as possible.
The strategy apparently worked, as it provided the wiry-strong McCaffrey with the confidence to play at peak performance and effort every week. McCaffrey finished his career with 565 receptions, 7,422 yards, and 55 touchdowns — with 462 catches, 6,200 yards, and 46 touchdowns coming as a Bronco.
He’s also a member of the Broncos’ 50th anniversary team.
Player, Coach & Head of Football Family Tree
McCaffrey was known for his physical play, as well as his football acumen, so it was only natural that he’d eventually give back to the game as a coach. His first opportunity came when he accepted the position as head coach at Valor Christian High School in Highlands Ranch, CO. He led the Eagles for one season (2018-19), before heading to the University of Northern Colorado in 2020, where he’s currently stalking the sidelines.
Valor Christian is the old stomping grounds for all four of McCaffrey’ sons — two with NFL ties. Eldest Max, a Duke graduate, who had a brief NFL career as a wide receiver with five franchises (2016-19), and who currently serves on his dad’s staff at UNC; and then there’s Christian, who is the All-Pro running back for the Carolina Panthers, and was the 2015 Heisman Trophy runner-up while playing at his dad’s alma mater.
The other two sons are still grinding it out in the collegiate ranks, both quarterbacks. Dylan recently transferred to join his dad and oldest brother, while Luke recently transferred to Rice University.
Honorable Man Being Honored
Following his prestigious Broncos’ career, McCaffrey immediately immersed himself in bettering his community. The former wideout held “Dare to Play” football and cheer camps for youth and young adults with Down syndrome.
McCaffrey may have been born and raised in Pennsylvania and starred at a California university, but after this honor, he’s now and forever considered a Coloradoan through and through.
Follow Tony Williams on Twitter: @TBone8